Lesan River Protection Forest/HLSL with an area of ± 11.342,61 ha, is located at heights of 40 to 430 m above the sea level; it is a representative of lowland forest in Berau District which is still in good condition, 85% of which is log over forest in healthy condition and dominated by Dipterocarpaceae family. HLSL is the important habitat of Orangutan/Pongo pygmaeus (population 1,5-4,64 head/km², TNC, 2006), Storm Stork/Bangau Storm (Ciconia Stormi), Bekantan (Nasalis larvatus), Long tail monkey/Monyet ekor panjang (Macaca facicularis), Black Kangkareng/Kangkareng Hitam (Anthrococerus malayanus), Lizard/Biawak (Varanus salvator) and Rangkong Bird/Burung Rangkong (Aceros cassidix). It becomes source of livelihood for its surrounding community, i.e., the source of animal protein and various types of non forest product. As a protection forest, Sungai Lesan Protection Forest/HLSL has an important hydro-orologic function for its surrounding areas, the areas is the water catchment areas (DTA) of Pesan River and Leja River which the estuary is in Lesan River. The damage of HLSL ecosystem will give impact on the degradation of downstream watershed, especially the increasing sedimentation of Kelay River which estuary is in Tanjung Redeb.
Since 2001, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has facilitated community empowerment, the drafting of spatial planning and wild life survey in HLSL. Since 2008, Civil Community Organization/OMS has started to grow and supported TNC activities, among others: (a) Menapak, facilitates the social economic strengthening of Non-Government Group/Kelompok Swadaya Masyarakat (KSM) Makmur Jaya, Sidobangen and KSM Nemdoh Nemkay, Lesan Dayak; (b) YAKOBI facilitates KSM Nemdoh Nemkay in assisting environmental education; (c) World Education, facilitates: (i) the drafting of spatial planning of Sidobangen, Merapun and Merabu; (ii) the drafting of village regulation (Perkam) in Sidobangen, Merabu, and (iii) cultivation of rubber and peanut in Merabu and Lesan Dayak Village.
At least four important problems are threathening HLSL sustainability: (a) low governance of forest; (b) limited source of livelihood surrounding HLSL; (c) decreasing quality of HLSL ecosystem; (d) speed rate of forest convertion into palm oil plantation and forest plantation surrounding HLSL. The problems were caused by ineffective and not optimum management of HLSL. This project is aimed to empower the management institution of HLSL (KPHP Model Berau Barat), community and stakeholders of HLSL to improve the effectiveness of HLSL management, furthermore this project is also aimed to improve land cover quality inside and nearby HLSL to improve ecosystem quality, biodiversity, and increase carbon stock and reduce on-site or off-site carbon emission. The increasing off-site carbon stock is done through smart practice replication of HLSL management outside the project location. Besides facilitating sustainable utilization of HLSL for local community, this project is also tried to manage private sector pressure in surrounding HLSL through technical assistance in managing (High Conservation Value/HCV) area in consession area, certification and advocation of CSR fund utilization to sustain HLSL and develop sustainable village resources. Strategy and steps of community involvement will refer to Methodology and Operation Framework of Community Involvement/Kerangka Metodologi dan Operasional Pelibatan Masyarakat (KMOPM) in PKHB which has been developed by TNC and implemented in Merabu and Long Duhung Village, Berau District, see Annex 1.
Community based management of HLSL in this project will refer to the Ministry of Forestry’s Decree/Permenhut No. P.6/Menhut-II/2010 about Norms, Standard, Procedure and Criteria of Forest Management in Protection Forest Management Unit/Kesatuan Pengelolaan Hutan Lindung (KPHL) and Production Forest Management Unit/Kesatuan Pengelolaan Hutan Produksi (KPHP) which allows the area’s utilization for collecting non-timber forest products. (HHBK/non timber forest products), ecotourism and environmental services by surrounding forest community without disturbing land cover and its function for protection.
We consider this project is very strategic for PKHB and TFCA Kalimantan, because: (a) HLSL condition is still relatively good and now it has a concrete management institution, i.e. KPHP Model West Berau, thus the effective management will provide high benefit value for the people, for sustaining biodiversity, improving hydrology function and increasing carbon stock; (b) HLSL has a moderate area and good accessibility, it is worth to manage effectively and potential as the show-window for TFCA and PKHB (c) HLSL is potential to be developed as scientific ecotourism area for students, foreign and local researchers. Reviewing its geographic location which is near marine tourism Derawan Island (about 100 km); it is worth to be ecotourism replica, as what we developed in Lambusango Forest (2004-2008) which has become an integrated tourism destination with Wakatobi National Park. Becoming the well-known ecotourism destination in the world, at least 600 student/university student/researcher from UK and US come to Lambusango Forest for scientific expedition every year; (d) The high opportunity to create sustainable green livelihoods such as rubber, coffee, pepper, fruits or HHBK (agarwood, honey, orchid, rattan, etc.) in this area will increase the community’s quality of life so that they can sustain their forest independently; (e) The management success of HLSL will give impact to increasing stock and reduction of carbon emission of which the trend we monitor using the standard of Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) prior, during, and post intervention; (f) No less important issue, the successful management of HLSL and the lessons learnt gained will become the input for the development of forest protection management pattern which has no role model up to now; (g) To strengthen the mentoring process, we will invite our partners, among others are ASEAN Centre for Biodivesrsity (ACB) to support the research on The economic of ecosystem and biodiversity (TEEB), Climate changes impacts to biodiversity; Tropenbos International-Indonesia Programme in research and mentoring of HCV and RSPO/ISPO certification for palm oil plantation in surrounding HLSL, productive landscape management, mine reclamation/ecosystem where all the funding activities will be covered by each institution; (h) The management success of HLSL will become an important milestone for development model of sustainable forest in Kalimantan; (i) Big lessons learnt will be gained from the management experience of HLSL which will become the source of inspiration in implementing REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancing forest carbon stock in developing countries) and effort to replicate the implementation of sustainable forest management at national, regional (ASEAN) or internasional level.