We are proud to support a dedicated local patrol unit who protect the Sebangau Forest from illegal logging, hunting of endangered species and damaging forest fires.
Under the management of CIMTROP, the Indonesian partners of our OuTrop programme, this group of young men patrol the waterways and forest in the northern Sebangau to prevent illegal activities and check for fires; socialising with forest users and meeting them in their homes and coordinating with the authorities as necessary. They are a focal point for all of our research, reforestation and alternative livelihood projects.
This Community Patrol Team was formed in 2002 in response to a wave of rampant illegal logging that was threatening to destroy the Sebangau ecosystem before it was even protected. It was formed by young, committed people from the neighbouring village of Kereng Bangkirai who wanted to stop the continued exploitation of their forest heritage and instead protect it for the benefit of the community. They succeeded in stopping illegal logging in the northern Sebangau within two years, quicker than the Indonesian authorities managed in the rest of the forest, a prime example of how grassroots efforts can make a huge conservation difference.
CIMTROP organised the patrol team and gave them initial training. OuTrop has been providing funding to fully cover their operational costs and salaries since 2009. We also provide advice, equipment and training, including providing drones for fire-spotting. In the coming years, we hope to improve the capacity of the patrol team by providing resources for them to recruit new members, to build a new headquarters in the village, to purchase equipment, such as a new boat, cameras and drone, and to receive training through exchanges with similar projects in other parts of Indonesia.
Grassroots efforts can make a huge conservation difference
Today, the team is active on a daily basis to prevent the re-occurrence of illegal logging and hunting. Despite formal protection being conferred on Sebangau, the forest remains at risk because its proximity to the regional capital of Palangkaraya means there is always high demand for quality timber, for scaffolding poles and for animals or animal parts for meat or trade.
Learn more about our other conservation work!