The Opwall Trust was funded by GEF/World Bank to manage a conservation project for the Lambusango forests in Buton Island. The project finished in 2008 (see Final Lambusango Report) and achieved a number of developments that are now being copied elsewhere in Indonesia. For example the Lambusango Forest Management Forum was formed to increase transparency and community involvement in forest management and act as a strategic partner to local government for the implementation of good forest governance, and is now being used as an approach in other parts of Indonesia. The Forum is now funded by the Buton Government who regard it as an excellent method of stakeholders agreeing regulations to be applied across the forest.
The main objective of the Lambusango project was to develop village based conservation contracts whereby entire villages agree to no logging or hunting and maintain the forest farm boundaries intact in exchange for investment in business development. A number of businesses have been developed in communities that have agreed these contracts (see Wildlife Conservation Products scheme). Lawana Ecotone, an Indonesia NGO formed from local staff and guides now provides all the support for the Operation Wallacea expeditions and can be used to develop follow-on ecotourism to the forest. Education, awareness and skills training elements of the project included: production of posters, monthly bulletins and newsletters; story books for children; jungle training for senior high school students; essay competitions on environment for senior high school; and installation of conservation campaign boards surrounding Lambusango forest. In addition two books on wildlife and the forests were produced. Three Indonesian PhD students have completed their doctoral theses as part of the Lambusango biodiversity monitoring programme. A Forest Crime Unit Lambusango (FCUL) was formed consisting of informants, response units and journalist teams and conducted regular joint patrols with government investigators, forest rangers and journalists. Numerous illegal loggers received jail sentences (including two government officials) and some shipments of illegal logs were seized.
The effectiveness of the Lambusango Forest Management project (see Report on the Effectiveness of the Lambusango Implementation) was assessed during and at the end of the project by the Operation Wallacea survey teams. Of the 15 criteria for which there were sufficient data to assess against the performance criteria 14 (93%) met the targets. Indeed in terms of increasing income generation from forest related activities at 5% more than inflation, increasing levels of awareness about the forest and its rules and regulations to 90% and reducing levels of illegal logging by 10% per annum, the targets were significantly exceeded. One of the most significant findings is that despite 2% of the forests in southern Buton being clear felled in the decade prior to the start of the Lambusango project, since the start of the Trust project there has been zero net clearances of the Lambusango forests.
The objective of maintaining biodiversity in the forests also appears to have been achieved judging from the bird and butterfly data. There is a concern that overall numbers of birds in both disturbed and undisturbed sections of forest have declined. Maintaining population levels of key species such as macaques and Sulawesi wild pig appear to have been achieved although even the existing reduced levels of anoa hunting will still lead to extinction of this species unless further actions are taken. These results would indicate that the Lambusango project has generally succeeded in achieving its objectives. Operation Wallacea are committed to continue annual monitoring of the Lambusango forests to assess how the forests change post the Trust project.