HarimauKita Ask MoF Stop The Road Crossing Kerinci Seblat National Park

HarimauKita that representing activists and observers of Sumatran tiger conservation from 28 institutions both the governmental and non-governmental organizations ask to the Minister of Forestry to review the plan to build four natural disaster evacuation roads that crossing the Kerinci Seblat National Park by the Government of the Province of Bengkulu and Jambi. Forum HarimauKita evaluate that the plan of four evacuation road construction is feared to threaten the Sumatran tiger.

“The locations of plan above are being Sumatran tiger breeding habitat and to be the most important protected area in Indonesia that is recognized by worldwide, said Chairman of the Forum HarimauKita, Hariyo T. Wibisono in Bogor-Indonesia, on Tuesday (19/4).In addition, Hariyo explained that the change of land use will also negatively impact the sustainability of people who lives around. Totally, 9 districts in 4 provinces has been relying water supply from this region. Besides, the potential for forest encroachment, which means also habitats destruction on the left and right roads will also increase, which if this is happened, does not mean that local people will takes the the advantages.

Ironically, the crossing roads that are entirely located on the active earth plate and at the foothills of very active volcano, will increase the risk of threat in case if volcanic eruptions is happened.Therefore, HarimauKita had submitted three recommendations to the Minister of Forestry, those are: (1) to review the evacuation road development plan ; (2) to not give permission to all local governments that build roads crossing the National Park area, and (3) to take strict legal action against the parties that has been building roads without permission in the National Parks.

Hariyo said that HarimauKita had sent the recommendations to the Minister of Forestry on Monday (18/4), either through postal mail or electronic mail, which was copied to the Minister of Environment, Minister for National Development Planning / Kepala BAPPENAS, Minister of Social and Director General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (PHKA).As the information received by HarimauKita, the fourth crossing roads development plan is proposed by local government with the reason to increase evacuation routes of natural disaster caused by earthquakes and floods that is frequently occured in the area of Kerinci.

Total length of four crossing roads is approximately 100 kilometers by road width of eight meters. The crossing road will be built starting from the territory of National Park in Jambi at the east through the forest to national park areas of Bengkulu at the west.Forum HarimauKita evaluate that the development plan is not in accordance with UU no.26/2006 about Spatial Planning because Kerinci National Park is listed as a National Strategic Area, which has also been established by BAPPENAS as protection area of life support system and biodiversity of Indonesia.
The Issue of Crossing Roads Has Triggered Illegal Forest Encroachment

Yoan Dinata, The Expert Staff Monitoring Sumatran Tiger Corridor, Fauna and Flora International said that the crossing roads will only increase the access of hunters and illegal loggers into the area that currently has a lot of pressure both hunting and illegal encroachment.The issue of this road access development plan, has triggered the illegal encroachment of land in National Parks of ± 500 hectares by unscrupulous people who lives around the area, said Yoan.

Based on the survey on 2006-2010, has noted that 34-38 of Sumatran tiger live in the area that will build the road. Even from the research using a camera trap that reported by Fauna & Flora International (FFI), in the middle area of the forest area Sipurak, found population increase since 2008.Forum HarimauKita assess if the plan is still ongoing, will potentially decrease the credibility of Indonesian government in international perpective, considering that Kerinci Seblat is the world priority area as the Tiger Conservation Landscape and also be the priority area of Ministry of Forestry for Sumatran tiger protection as had stated in the National Tiger Recovery Program.

The document is a part of the Global Tiger Recovery Program which was signed by 13 countries that have tigers, including the Government of Indonesia in the International Tiger Meeting in St. Pittersburg Russia, last November 2010.

Besides being the important habitat for the Sumatran tiger, the area is also habitat of several endangered species like the elephant and the Sumatran rhinoceros, Sumatran mountain deer, clouded leopard and the endemic Sumatran ground-cuckoo which is be the rarest bird in the Sumatera.