Belitung Coastal Community Group is a tourism operator running small-scale nature-experiences on the Indonesian archipelago of Belitung.
On a small archipelago off the east coast of Sumatra, a community group has taken on the challenge of restoring the native ecosystem formally decimated by palm oil plantations and tin mining. Locally-run ecotourism lodges and experiences provide an alternative source of income for the population (over 50 percent of which were employed in palm oil or mining) and help to fund conservation. Projects include: Kepayang Island Conservation Centre for training, education and turtle conservation; Mendanau Mangrove Conservation Centre; Batu Mentas Nature Reserve and (endangered) Tarsius Sanctuary. A nest protection scheme has reduced turtle egg poaching and planting 45,000 mangrove trees (and cultivating a further 20,000 seedlings) has made a dent in the 70 per cent loss of forests due to industrial activity. As a testament to its success, KPLB’s projects have been replicated at a national and local level.