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Cablegate: Indonesia's National Parks - Management and Enforcement Key

VZCZCXRO1655
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #0935/01 1330927
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 120927Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8974
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1946
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5022
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2472
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4577
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 000935

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR OES/ENRC, EAP/MTS, EAP/RSP
USTR FOR MLINSCOTT, DBROOKS
USAID FOR ANE, EGAT [CBARBER, MMELNICK]
BANGKOK FOR RDM/A
NSC FOR CEQ CONNAUGHTON, VAN DYKE
USFS FOR CMACKIE
TREASURY FOR KBERG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAID KGHG ECON PGOV ID
SUBJECT: INDONESIA'S NATIONAL PARKS - MANAGEMENT AND ENFORCEMENT KEY
TO CONSERVATION SUCCESS

REF: JAKARTA 778

1. (SBU) Summary: An overview of several Indonesian national parks
shows that their record in protecting flora and fauna has little
correlation to budget size or numbers of forest rangers. Money is
not necessarily the main problem with their performance.
Improvements to management of existing financial and human resources
within the parks, combined with an increase in enforcement activity
to crack down on illegal wildlife trade, would have a significant
impact on the long-term conservation success of these biodiversity
treasures. End Summary.

Taman Nasional Bukit Barisan Selatan (TNBBS)
--------------------------------------------
2. The 365,000-hectare TNBBS in southern Sumatra still contains one
of the largest remaining tracts of lowland and hill rainforests on
Sumatra. On paper, the park has 66 forest rangers and a $1.2
million budget (2007 figures). In 2004, UNESCO designated BBS as a
World Heritage site. TNBBS is home to at least 118 species of
mammal, 300 species of bird, 45 amphibian and reptile species, and
649 species of higher plant. These include large threatened mammals,
such as Sumatran tigers, Asian elephants, and Sumatran rhinoceroses.
Conservationists estimate that 45 tigers, 498 elephants (+/- 100),
and 30-40 rhinos live here. (Note: There are a total of 2400-2800
elephants left in the wild in Sumatra, according to a local staff
member of Flora and Fauna International. End Note.)

Taman Nasional Way Kambas (TNWK)
--------------------------------
3. (SBU) TNWK, at one-third TNBBS's size with 130,000 hectares, had
a 2007 budget of $1.4 million and 81 forest rangers.
Conservationists estimate that the park hosts 20-30 rhinos, 30-40
tigers, and 180 elephants (+/- 40). It is famous among birdwatchers
-- Way Kambas has recorded over 320 bird species, out of
approximately 625 in Sumatra, and 1,690 Indonesia-wide. It is a
former logging concession, showing that properly managed concessions
can remain a good habitat for wildlife. Although rich in wildlife
(NGO workers believe the local elephant population has actually
grown), forest rangers acknowledge that poaching remains a problem,
and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) staff fear that the
abundance of prey such as deer and pigs indicate a decline in the
tiger population.

Budgets, Size, and Performance -- Low Correlation
--------------------------------------------- ----
4. (U) Logging, encroachment, and road construction are taking a
toll in Taman Nasional Kerinci Seblat (TNKS), as with many other
national parks (reftel). The continued clearing of protected
forests and evidence of poaching underscores the importance of
national park management. Improving the management of financial and
human resources is essential for protecting Indonesia's rich
biodiversity. Take as evidence the complete extinction of Sumatran
rhinos from within TNKS (at 1.4 million hectares, the largest in
Sumatra), despite the third largest national park budget in Sumatra,
and the largest number of forest rangers on paper (108, per 2007
records).

5. (SBU) In TNBBS, the white-rumped Shama, a commonly traded bird,
has declined spectacularly. A WCS survey suggests that poachers
have removed 3-5,000 of these birds from the park per year since
1999, based on their declining density. This bird sells for
$50-100, so trade in this species alone could be as high as half a
million dollars annually (or almost half the park's current
operating budget of $1.2 million). NGO field staff point to
encroachment and fragmentation of habitat on the park, and
researchers at a field station in one pristine part of the
rainforest refer to frequent encounters with poachers in the area.
Yet, during a recent 2-night stay within the park, Emboff did not
see a single forest ranger. Meanwhile, the park management is
constructing a large new, 2-3 story, office building in the nearby
town of Kota Agung.

6. (SBU) Way Kambas's much larger budget is ostensibly related to
funding an "elephant training center" (with 60-plus "conflict"
elephants captured and subsequently never released back into the
wild), as well as 5 rhinos in a -- not yet successful --

JAKARTA 00000935 002 OF 002


captive-breeding center. The captive elephants looked unhealthy and
malnourished, and the elephant caretakers were feeding a newly
arrived baby elephant with milk formula purchased by a foreign
conservation worker because, they said, their budget was inadequate.
Meanwhile, the park's management was in the process of moving into
a large new office building, and the "training center" had a newly
constructed, grand, gate and leisure facilities for potential
tourists -- including a large disused parking lot with trees and
shrubs growing up through the pavement. Emboff also twice entered
the park without any sign of forest rangers in the brand new guard
post at the park's entrance.

7. (SBU) In addition, one WCS staff who has worked in the area since
2002 says that he has only ever seen 10-15 rangers (of the total 81
recorded on paper). However, while encroachment continues in TNBBS,
Way Kambas has by-and-large tackled this problem. The park's former
head, Mega Haryanto, managed to convince most of prior encroachers
to relocate, apparently without using coercion or paying any money,
WCS field staff say in amazement.

Anecdotes of Opaque Management and Accountability
--------------------------------------------- ----
8. (SBU) It is unclear how national parks are using their budgets,
or on what basis budgets are allocated by the Ministry of Forestry
(Dephut) in Jakarta. NGOs say that there is virtually no financial
record keeping or accountability. Nonetheless, large sums of donor
money are going to finance these national parks. Germany and
Indonesia began implementing a Debt Swap for Nature in 2007, under
which funding will flow to three Sumatran national parks - Leuser,
Kerinci Seblat, and Bukit Barisan Selatan. Last October, Germany
committed a total of 23.5 million euros to support the Ministry of
Forestry. The imbedded German advisor at Dephut who works on
implementing the debt swap agreement told us that he did not have a
full picture of national park budgets.

9. (SBU) A former head of the 1.1 million hectare Taman Nasional
Gunung Leuser (TNGL), Sumatra's second largest park, divided his
staff into five parts. One-fifth never showed up for work. Another
one-fifth actively facilitated illegal activities such as poaching
or logging. One-fifth did little more than show up for work.
Another one-fifth tried to do their jobs with varying degrees of
competence, while one-fifth were genuinely motivated. Over two
years of effort, he was unable to fire a single employee. The best
way to improve park management, in his opinion, was to transfer
control to the Ministry of the Environment, to eliminate the
conflict between Dephut's industry interests and its conservation
duties.

Improving Management and Accountability
---------------------------------------
10. (SBU) As a result, WCS considers training Dephut's Forest
Protection and Nature Conservation financial staff in Jakarta on
recordkeeping to be a more effective use of money than training
field staff. It wants -- and is attempting -- to undertake an
internal study of national park management and financial practice at
Dephut, probably packaged as an academic exercise by an Indonesian
university. It would like to follow this up by another "internal
pilot study" to revise personnel management practice within national
parks.

11. (SBU) The former park head mentioned above told us that there
are no performance targets to measure how well park managers are
doing, although Dephut does keep detailed statistics about
concessions and logging activities. Without improving the
performance and management of forestry staff within national parks
or rationalizing the allocation of financial resources, WCS and
other NGOs believe that national parks will ultimately fail to
protect and preserve Indonesia's rich biodiversity. (Note: As of
2006, Dephut records show 7304 forest rangers, not including other
categories of field staff such as investigators, who comprised
another 1700. End Note.)

HEFFERN

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