Handling Conflicts and Restoring Tesso Nilo Ecosystem
“Anak nelayan menjala ikan/Dapat dua tiga ikan sepat/Bangun kebersamaan dan kekuatan/Supaya kinerja di TNTN terus meningkat.” (Sons of fishermen are fishing/Got two or three fishes/Building unity and power/To improve the performance in Tesso Nilo National Park.”) This poem became the closing of the opening speech of governor caretaker of Riau on a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) about conflict handling and Tesso Nilo National Park (TNTN) ecosystem restoration plan.
The FGD was held by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK), the provincial government of Riau, and REDD+ Partnership Program at the office of Riau governor, Pekanbaru, on 29 December 2015. “Three Special Staffs to the Minister of KLHK are present here - proving how important the activity is to find the best solution for conflict handling and the ecosystem restoration plan”, said Hartono, the Director of Conservation Area, Director General of KSAE.
Indeed, from 81 thousand hectares of TNTN, it is estimated that only 21 thousand hectares of the forest are left. The rest are dominated by approximately 70 thousand of immigrants who settle and plant palm oil here. There are 23 villages near to the national park, 4 of them, which are LKB, AH, Bagan Limau and Pontian Mekar, directly border the national park. Besides that, TNTN is also surrounded by several companies and Forest Management Permits (HPH) such as PT RAPP, PT Siak Raya Timber, PT Rimba Peranap Indah, and PT Rimba Lazuardi.
Tesso Nilo is the only lowland rainforest in Sumatera right now. Research Center for Biology of Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) recorded 215 kinds of tree from 48 families and 305 kinds of sapling from 56 families. This area is also a habitat of Sumateran elephant (Elephas Maximus Sumatranus) and Sumateran tiger (Panthera Tigris Sumatrae).
There are 3 available options to solve conflicts in TNTN. First, restore and rehabilitate overlapping areas and 3000 hectares of empty land that will become the model for land rehabilitation in Lumbuk Kembang Bungan and Air Hitam Village.
Second, give the palm oil plantation another cycle and then replace the palm oil with crops that will be grown by the people themselves. The third option is about law enforcement. From the FGD, the first and the second option were chosen.
Special Staff to the Minister for KLHK for NGO Network Coordination and AMDAL analysis, Hanni Adiati, explained that the government will reforest an area of 3000 hectares. This program should be arranged in detail. “There has to be support from all stakeholders, local governments, Indonesian National Police (POLRI) and Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI), universities, the media and the National Commission of Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM)”, she said.