Halmahera ’94: a University of Bristol expedition to Indonesia

James MacKinnon

The 12-person British/Indonesian team undertook a biodiversity study to support the establishment and future management of the proposed Lolobata reserve on the Indonesian island of Halmahera. Five sites were surveyed along the proposed north-west boundary of the reserve, and forest was classified according to underlying rock type and altitude. Four of the five resulting forest types were surveyed. At each site the status and occurrence of bird, fish, amphibian, mammal, and snail species was assessed. Data was also collected on the present extent of encroachment into the site and the level of wildlife utilisation by local communities. Additional information was collected on major development projects in the region. Limestone forest was found to be the most important habitat type. The proposed reserve boundaries were found to conflict with four existing timber concessions. Non-scientific outputs included the training of local Conservation Department staff in faunal identification and censusing techniques.

Project update: 22/3/97. Overall, this project provided very valuable baseline data which is now being used to support a proposal for a National Park on Halmahera. There is hope that the proposed park will be the focus of a new World Bank project for Maluku where funds are made available for park establishment. BirdLife is also in discussion with a mining company working in the area to explore whether the company is willing to cover the costs of park management (R.Grimmett in litt. 1998)