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.

IFC / World Bank Group support of RSPO

IFC (part of the World Bank Group) supports the development of the RSPO, primarily through its Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities program (BACP). Read about it via its flyer here,$FILE/BACP+Flyer.pdf.

Reported in the BACP newsletter, Issue 10, June 2011:

Through its grant-making facility, BACP supports the RSPO both directly and indirectly.

BACP provided a grant directly to the RSPO to support a Biodiversity Coordinator and activities of the Biodiversity Technical Committee (BTC).

BACP has given grants to various NGOs and other organisations, in support of their efforts at RSPO, these include:
• PanEco Foundation is working to demonstrate the potential for palm oil production on Indonesia's 4.7 million hectares of degraded land in an effort to preserve the country’s biodiversity-rich areas of High Conservation Value (HCV) from being converted to palm oil plantations......
• The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is working to 1. improve the effectiveness of the biodiversity-related RSPO Principles and Criteria......
• Fauna and Flora International (FFI) has been piloting an innovative partnership model that helps producer companies comply with the biodiversity-related criterion of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)’s Principles and Criteria. The partnership engages large-scale producers to take an active role in protecting and managing HCV areas on or adjacent to their concessions......
• The World Resources Institute (WRI) is working to make compliance with RSPO biodiversity related principles and criteria easier for producers by providing necessary information and toolkits for successful and sustainable production on degraded land......

IFC’s BACP also has various efforts Supporting the Round Table for Responsible Soy (RTRS).

BACP states: Agricultural expansion is the leading cause of habitat loss around the world and poses one of the gravest threats to global biodiversity. Tropical export commodities have dramatically increased production in the last fifty years, resulting in the destruction of much tropical habitat. The Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program (BACP) seeks to reduce the threats posed by agriculture to biodiversity of global significance by transforming markets for target agricultural commodities. To transform the commodity markets, BACP supports projects that generate greater supply, demand and financing of biodiversity-friendly products. Projects must meet specific criteria and address one of the four following components:
1. Removing policy barriers
2. Supporting better production
3. Increasing demand for biodiversity-friendly products
4. Encouraging financial services to support biodiversity-friendly practices


Khor Reports comment: NGOs and other organisations have been quick to avail themselves of BACP funding for their projects. It is surprising to us that growers (especially the smaller estates, smallholders and/or those operating near high conservation / sensitive areas), who may have quite a lot work to do too, do not seem to have done so yet (not listed among 'grantee highlights' in the BACP newsletter). Perhaps BACP could assist them too?