Simeulue Island Conservation
The main conservation goal on Simeulue is to replicate the turtle conservation work on Bangkaru Island to achieve a regional ecosystem-wide turtle conservation initiative. Other key conservation initiatives on Simeulue include promoting responsible land-use planning, avoiding the loss of primary forests, transitioning the island to renewable energy sources, and preventing bird poaching and unsustainable fishing.
Ecosystem Wide Turtle Conservation – Bangkaru and Simeulue Islands offer a unique opportunity to conserve turtle populations given that there are numerous nesting sites on off-shore uninhabited islands. We will bring the lessons learned from the past 15 years of experience on Bangkaru and expand conservation efforts to other nesting sites within this landscape.
Forest Preservation Project - This initiative protects forested land by improving productivity on degraded land, existing plantations, and farms. Currently, primary forest is being destroyed to open up land for farming. As a response Ecosystem Impact is working with Green Enterprises Indonesia to develop a community plantation project, in which underutilized locally owned land is refurbished, planted, and maintained by Green Enterprises Indonesia, but leaves the land in the hands of the original owner. This community plantation model stimulates economic growth by increasing income for landowners by creating sustainable jobs.
Sustainable Fishing Project - Overfishing has depleted lobster and marine populations on Simeulue. Through education and incentivizing alternative and sustainable economies, we seek to eliminate this harmful practice.
Biodiversity Surveying & Research - Similar to Bangkaru, Simeulue's ecosystem remains unstudied. Through partnering with universities, scientists, researchers, and VAST volunteers, we seek to document and better identify Simeulue's conservation needs, to contribute to scientific knowledge, and to aggregate data useful for conservation policy advocacy.
- Species & Vegetation Surveying -VAST volunteers and Mahi-Mahi Surf Resort's staff conservationist regularly conduct observational surveys (camera trapping & spotlighting) of Simeulue's marine and land ecosystems to record and identify the type and abundance of different species and vegetation on Simeulue.
- Simeulue Scops Owl Research - The Simeulue Scops Owl is endemic to Simeulue, is intensely elusive, and is registered as "near threatened" on the IUCN's Red List. Little is known about the bird and less is known about whether the population is declining due to deforestation and poaching on the island. For this reason, we seek to partner with universities, scientists, bird-enthusiasts, and VAST volunteers to observe, study, and record the scops owl to monitor any changes in the population. Additionally, we seek to convert local poachers to guides to end poaching organically, without eliminating their income revenue with no alternative.
- Simeulue Hill Myna Research - The Simeulue Hill Mynas are a unique and recently discovered subspecies of Hill Mynas. VAST volunteers have the unique opportunity to establish baseline data on species abundance, and to help keep both the scientific and local communities informed of the status this new endemic species to Simeulue.
Coastline Project - Simeulue's coastline drastically changed during the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004, lifting the reef 2 meters and exposing it above the waterline. This trauma damaged and destroyed many reefs, changing Simeulue's marine ecosystem and landscape. Since 2004, reefs have begun to regrow and it is our mission to monitor this regrowth and identify any potential threats to its rehabilitation.
- Marine Debris Surveying - The collection, sorting, and recording of marine debris from Simeulue's shores aids a healthy recovery of Simeulue's reefs and keeps Simeulue's ecosystem healthy. Additionally, it contributes to a larger body of scientific data for ocean pollution statistics.
- Reef Surveying - Routine observational snorkel and scuba dives are performed to closely monitor and record reef-health changes and re-growth.