Approach: Riau Province
When WWF decided to adopt this landscape for promoting conservation of Sumatran elephants, it was faced with the following questions;
- What to do about the ever increasing land development in Riau?
- How can one possibly find a compromise between the people's and the elephants' needs?
- Who will speak for the elephants?
Designing the elephant's home
In 1999, WWF started working with the Riau Forest Dept. on the elephant issue, in order to investigate the possibility of maintaining Riau's largest remaining, though over-logged, forest as a multiple-use area, where elephants live undisturbed while sustainable logging operations continue.
The existing Acacia pulp wood plantations could function as a buffer belt that keeps the elephants from wandering to the more attractive oil palm plantations and home gardens on the other side.
Elephants do damage Acacia, but so far, the damage seems to be acceptable to the owners of the pulp plantations. The logged-over forest does not seem to lack sufficient food for elephants, while a little further west all has been clear-cut and partly replanted with rubber trees.
A multiple-use Managed Elephant Range may be the answer and AREAS has already identified a potential site for it: The Tesso Nilo forest right on the equator.