The Sumatra Merang Peatland Project (SMPP) in Indonesia protects a unique and vital ecosystem known for high levels of biodiversity and a multitude of critically endangered and vulnerable species. Developed by Forest Carbon, SMPP is in the Musi Banyuasin District and is one of the last remaining intact peatland zones in South Sumatra. Since the late 1990s, developers have been converting peatland in this region to meet demand for palm oil and paper pulp, threatening the landscape with deforestation, land degradation, forest fires and poaching. SMPP was established here to protect and restore this diverse landscape to build more resilient communities nearby and prevent harmful emissions from further peatland degradation. The project also protects more than 20 Rare, Threatened or Endangered (RTE) species, including the critically endangered Sumatran Tiger.
Biodiversity protection is a fundamental focus of project activities at SMPP, underscoring all activities across the site. The Sumatran Tiger is a critically endangered species, with less than 400 remaining in the wild, so protecting this incredible animal and restoring its habitat is paramount for the project. Increasing occurrence of tigers is also an important indicator of overall ecosystem health and biodiversity.
The project supports numerous initiatives to protect Sumatran Tigers in the project area. Restoring the degraded landscape to its original state aims to improve habitat conditions for the Sumatran Tiger and other animals. This restoration work re-wets the peatland and reduces the risk of forest fires, which would further degraded the tiger habitat. The project also supports new livelihood opportunities, like fishing, smallholder farming and dam construction, which reduces tiger poaching and other pressures on the landscape, and promotes conservation education in nearby villages. Finally, a well-established forest patrol programme discourages poaching and tracks and monitors tiger activity across the site.
To improve monitoring, project teams have put in place a network of camera traps across the project area to understand long-term biodiversity trends. The project biodiversity team has recorded over 210 unique species of flora and fauna, species of which are classified as threatened, endangered or critically endangered. When a Sumatran Tiger is photographed project staff use this data to form a better understanding of the movements of these animals, and how project activities are affecting their presence within the landscape. It’s challenging but rewarding work, and depends on critical climate finance from Ecosphere+ clients. Importantly, this work is focused on building a long-term conservation strategy that transforms the landscape and its communities in a way that benefits local livelihoods just as much as the unique species that live here.
See below for recent shots of a Sumatran Tiger in the project area. Image copyright: Forest Carbon
Get in touch with us to find out more about tiger protection within the project zone, and how to incorporate this project into your climate strategy.