OuTrop are now recognised as one of the leading ecological research projects in Indonesia, and one of our primary goals is to use this expertise to help build future local and international capacity for research and conservation of Indonesia’s spectacular natural heritage.
It is thus with great pleasure that we ran a second annual field module in Sabangau as part of the University of Leicester’s 2015-16 Masters degree programme in the Department of Geography, which builds upon the success of this collaborative field course last year, plus our local links with CIMTROP and the University of Palangka Raya.
The two-week course was led by OuTrop Director, Dr Harrison, with support from OuTrop Trustee, Prof. Page – both also at the University of Leciester – and was based on-site in the Sabangau Forest. During the course, we explored the importance of Indonesia’s peat-swamp forests (in terms of biodiversity, carbon storage and other ecosystem services); the threats these face (deforestation, drainage, degradation, fire, wildlife trade, climate change); the drivers of these threats (agriculture and oil palm, peat drainage, international markets) and the context of these within the local human communities; their impacts on biodiversity and methods to understand and monitor this (from butterflies to orang-utans); plus conservation efforts being undertaken (from international, to national and local community-led initiatives).
OuTrop team members provided important contributions to the course, and it was particularly pleasing to see our local Research Coordinators and the Community Patrol Team members explaining their work, and so many OuTrop team members sitting in on the course lectures! Thanks to the students, University of Leicester, CIMTROP, UNPAR and all the OuTrop team for making this a success!