CEPF's five-year investment in the hotspot focused on conserving the wealth of natural assets on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
Funding at the local level was especially important because Indonesia only recently decentralized management of natural resources to allow greater local control. However, the power shift did little to build local capacity or coffers so that local people could effectively participate and benefit from biodiversity conservation. A tradition of working in isolation had also kept Sumatra’s nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) fragmented.
Our approach was therefore to finance projects at the district level and below, with the aim of enhancing local stewardship of forests and building alliances among conservation-minded individuals, NGOs and private sector interests.
In 2007, we completed an assessment of our investment, which awarded 71 grants. Major results include expanding and strengthening the protected area network; catalyzing policy action to strengthen natural resource management at the local and national levels; and bolstering civil society capacity both as individual organizations and as networks of organizations.
The Sundaland Biodiversity Hotspot covers the western half of the Indonesian archipelago, a group of some 17,000 islands stretching 5,000 kilometers, and is dominated by the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.
Politically, the hotspot covers a small portion of southern Thailand; nearly all of Malaysia; Singapore; Brunei; and the western half of Indonesia. The Nicobar Islands, which are under Indian jurisdiction, are also included.
Sundaland's topography is comprised of high mountain ranges, volcanoes, plains, lakes, swamps and shallow coastal waters. The hotspot is one of the biologically richest regions on Earth, holding about 25,000 species of vascular plants, 60 percent of which are endemic.
Some 380 mammal species are found here, including two species of orangutans: the Critically Endangered Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), and the Critically Endangered Sumatran orangutan (P. abelii). Other iconic species include the Endangered proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus), which lives only on Borneo, and two rhinoceros species: the Critically Endangered Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus) and the Critically Endangered Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis).