Annual Retreat for Landscape Practitioners

10th-15th June 2022
RER Eco-Camp, Kampar Peninsula

The 2022 Tanah Air Beta retreat for landscape practitioners in Indonesia was hosted by APRIL at the Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER) recently inaugurated Eco-Camp. RER’s Eco-Camp sits inside APRIL’s production forestry concession, adjacent to RER’s ecosystem restoration concession (ERC). The ERC is a tenure conferring conservation responsibilities on the largest remaining peat swamp forest on the Kampar peninsula in Riau Province, Sumatra – and one of the largest in Southeast Asia. The retreat enabled a diversity of key-actors influencing conservation in Indonesia to focus on emerging issues of biodiversity conservation. Primarily we focused on strategies for conservation that are not under strict protection through formally protected national parks or equivalent reserves. We examined initiatives that might fit IUCN’s designation as Other Effective Conservation Measures, in the case of Indonesia particularly the case of Kawasan Ekosistem Esential (KEE).

Retreat participants enjoyed the natural surroundings of the Eco-Camp. Bird watching, nature walks, silent electronically-motored boat-rides down the Serkap river, guided by Pak Prayitno, stimulated in-situ thinking and discussion among some of the most active and influential researchers and practitioners in Indonesia’s conservation community. Eco-Camp’s observation deck was conducive for meeting, observing, and strategizing ways to secure positive futures for biodiversity. We appreciated the need to align efforts amidst policy changes emerging from international conventions as they relate to sovereign and local development aspirations.

Some of the highlights of the retreat included visiting local communities to discuss birds nest houses and local livelihoods, hearing about the recent tiger release at RER, and exploring future scenarios for the landscape with local high-school students. As Indonesia’s forest landscapes and conservation initiatives are undergoing dynamic policy and economic changes, many of the discussions will continue into the next retreat in 2023. See the full meeting notes here.