Conservation International

Khor Maps: Looking at Batang Toru critical habitat for orangutans. Case studies done on 2.8 million hectares

21 Dec 2017: New orangutan species in Batang Toru, North Sumatra. Western flank has faced some (relatively weak) pressure from local community and logging.

Editor's note: A new orangutan species was discovered recently. A reader asked me if I had covered the area in map analysis. The orangutans live in the Batang Toru area. Please refer to a preliminary (in progress) review and comments below. The reported area is 1,100km2, but the area I looked at as least disturbed was something over 800km2 of  the western green zone (I didn't include the eastern green zone in analysis so far). Basically, with this kind of elevation and steep terrain, it is about smaller scale, local community expansion pressure; which has been relatively weak in comparison to elsewhere to the north and south. Terrain has helped to protect the orangutans in this critical habitat. The orange zones in the eastern part of the image are what I had already put in for first level analysis of in-use zones by 1984/85 for a study of 1 million ha of North Sumatra shown in my 20 Dec 2017 posting; and I could add most of those lilac demarcated hill farm zones as in-use by 1984/85 too. #Conservation

Source: KHOR Yu Leng, Khor Maps / Segi Enam Advisors Pte Ltd, Data: Google Earth

Note: New orangutan species described in Indonesia 07 Nov 2017,

21 Dec 2017: Rakhine economic map updated

From 21 Nov 2017: Update on Rakhine, Myanmar. I  attended an update on the Rohingya situation by Nurul Islam of the Arakan Rohingya National Organisation. Humanitarian intervention sorely needed including Safe Zones. Questions included whether China could play a major role in peace keeping. The Belt & Road initiative aims to bring peace and prosperity. China has a major pipeline project in Rakhine that connects to Yunnan. I had a chance to annotate my GE map of Rakhine with updates from Mr Nurul. The green and white contours depicts elevation, and you can clearly see that the uplands form the natural boundary of Rakhine. Sittwe has hopes of access by river to India.

Source: KHOR Yu Leng, Khor Maps / Segi Enam Advisors Pte Ltd. Data: Google Earth and interview with Rakhine expert Mr Nurul Islam.

20 Dec 2017: Khor Maps: Case studies done on 2.8 million hectares 

Editor's note: I am happy to update you on map case study work. These include 300,000 ha and 1.5 million hectares in northern Peninsular Malaysia and 1 million hectares in North Sumatra. In the last year or so, I've been picking up on map data efforts, incorporating new data available. Years ago, in pre-feasibility site study work, I've worked on Merauke in (Indonesia) Papua, Mindanao, Cambodia, Laos, West Africa palm oil FDI projects and more. These included mapping conflict areas, ethno-linguistic customary zones (crossing several such areas in one concession can lead to heightened local community risks), salt water inundation of coastal zones, unexploded ordnance hot spots, arsenic poisoning areas and more.

Khor Maps has a large work plan for 10 millions of hectares in Jan-Mar 2018, so please stay in touch. Here's a work in progress on part of North Sumatra, reviewing old-use areas against current production zones:

I presented palm-rubber landscape analysis at the Institute of Social Studies in Paris in early October. There was a prelim showing in Malaysia a few weeks before that, and I have presented this to several senior industry experts in wood, palm and rubber industries with interests across the region and also beyond.

ESG / socially responsible investing (update 1a): RGE/APRIL and Roger Federer-Credit Suisse, Singapore Urges SEA Lenders to Better Screen Palm Oil Investment, Conservation International and Hollywood stars

Environmental and social governance or socially responsible investing is becoming an increasingly important topic as NGO advocacy campaigning on this steps up. We attended a recent talk in Singapore. Not surprisingly as the financial center for Southeast Asia, it was a core topic.

Read here: Singapore Dialogue (update 1a): SIIA / Simon Tay dialogue in Singapore centered on palm oil sustainability, Indonesia extends moratorium, ASEAN banks under WWF spotlight /khorreports-palmoil/2015/05/attended-siia-simon-tay-dialogue-in.html

Key recent reports include:
  • WWF: ASEAN regional banks and investors behind on Environmental, Social and Governance standards Posted on 13 May 2015; Singapore – A WWF report finds an alarming gap between regional ASEAN financial institutions and the environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards adopted by their international counterparts. 
  • TUK-Profundo report on top 25 tycoon-owned Indonesia palm oil groups and their financiers.

20 May 2015: Singapore Urges SEA Lenders to Better Screen Palm Oil Investment; Roger Federer-Credit Suisse answer on RGE/APRIL funding query and it's also important to note that USA NGOs have become more active in the soft commodity sector of Southeast Asia with notable Conservation International campaign with Hollywood stars as spokespersons.

Singapore Urges SEA Lenders to Better Screen Palm Oil Investment By Erwida Maulia on 09:07 pm May 17, 2015; Singapore. The Singaporean government has called on financial institutions operating in Southeast Asia to exercise caution in funneling funds to palm oil producers, saying scrutiny on the sector continues to intensify with recurring problems in transboundary haze. Banks have acted as an important source of capital for the region’s palm oil industry, Singapore’s Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan said last week. Citing a 2010 report by BankTrack, he said lenders provided an estimated 24 percent of the total financing needed for the sector globally, with more than $50 billion invested in the Malaysian and Indonesian palm oil sectors alone during the decade prior to the release of the study. “The number has grown significantly since then. And this includes local sources of capital from within Indonesia and Malaysia,” Balakrishnan said in a keynote speech during the second annual Singapore Dialogue on Sustainable World Resources held last Wednesday. With the recurring issue of transboundary haze, he added, calls have intensified for companies and individuals “all the way down” the supply chain to be held accountable for deforestation — the main culprit behind recurring forest fires in Indonesia and haze affecting neighbors Singapore and Malaysia. “Due to the environmental scrutiny and the campaigns by environmental NGOs, banks have now also become part of the watch list,” the minister said. “And my plea to you, therefore, is please pay attention to this and remember the questions will be asked not only of the companies involved, but also of the financiers and the banks behind the industry.” Balakrishnan added that lenders and other financial institutions are now expected to be more responsible in conducting background checks on palm oil companies. It is not enough to merely see whether their clients would be able to pay their loans and interest rates, he said. How the companies derive their resources, their methods of production, the environmental, social and even political risks they face all must be assessed before banks decide whether they should invest in the business. “These [steps] have to become part and parcel of standard due diligence,” Balakrishnan said.......

Roger Federer encourages rainforest campaigners 19.05.2015; Tennis star asks Credit Suisse to review the bank’s business relationship with Indonesian pulp and paper group RGE/APRIL (BASEL, SWITZERLAND / PULAU PADANG, RIAU, INDONESIA) Tennis star Roger Federer is calling on Credit Suisse, the Swiss bank, to review their business relationship with RGE/APRIL, an Indonesian pulp and paper group that is responsible for the wide-spread clearcutting of rainforests in the Indonesian province of Riau (Sumatra). Federer was approached last month by Isnadi Esman and Woro Supartinah, two Indonesian activists who had travelled to Switzerland to protest against a 50 million Euro loan granted by Credit Suisse to RGE/APRIL.  “I have learnt about your letter to me, outlining the difficult rainforest situation in Riau”, Federer writes to the Indonesian campaigners. “I take your concerns seriously. In response to your letter and as ambassador for Credit Suisse, I would like to emphasize that I will advocate for and have complete trust that they analyse such issues thoroughly, evaluate all options and that their decisions are well thought out.” The tennis star continues: “Additionally, I encourage you to continue the ongoing dialogue with Credit Suisse in order to minimize any sustainability issues and increase the common understanding.” On 24 April 2015, Isnadi and Woro informed Credit Suisse’s top management on RGE/APRIL’s conduct in Riau at the bank’s annual general meeting in Zurich. The bank’s Chief Risk Officer, Joachim Oechslin, promised to personally vet every potential future transaction with the Indonesian group. RGE/APRIL has been accused of illegal logging, peatland clearing and numerous human rights violations in their operations in Riau. Credit Suisse, together with a number of Chinese banks, are the Indonesian group’s main financial backers.

Conservation International. US NGO with Hollywood stars. Published on 5 Oct 2014: Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, Kevin Spacey, Edward Norton, Penélope Cruz, Robert Redford and Ian Somerhalder all join forces to give nature a voice. Watch the films and take action at Youtube vids here:
  • Nature Is Speaking – Edward Norton is The Soil | Conservation International (CI) by ConservationDotOrg 317,373 views 1:26
  • Nature Is Speaking – Penélope Cruz is Water | Conservation International (CI)   by ConservationDotOrg  208,102 views 1:29 
  • Nature Is Speaking – Kevin Spacey is The Rainforest | Conservation International (CI)   by ConservationDotOrg  405,505 views 1:46 
  • Nature Is Speaking – Harrison Ford is The Ocean | Conservation International (CI)   by ConservationDotOrg  550,312 views 2:04 
  • Nature Is Speaking – Lupita Nyong'o is Flower | Conservation International (CI)   by ConservationDotOrg  439,588 views 1:36 
  • Nature Is Speaking – Robert Redford is The Redwood | Conservation International (CI)   by ConservationDotOrg  145,790 views
  • Nature Is Speaking – Ian Somerhalder is Coral Reef | Conservation International (CI)   by ConservationDotOrg  285,954 views 1:37 
  • Nature Is Speaking – Julia Roberts is Mother Nature | Conservation International (CI)   by ConservationDotOrg  1,380,592 views 1:59 
  • Nature Is Speaking: Tang Wei is Flower - 大自然在說話:湯唯聲演「花」| 保護國際基金會 (CI)   by ConservationDotOrg  5,727 views