SuLu stands for Sustainable land Use. The official and full name of the project was “Balancing land use management, sustainable biomass production and conservation, climate change and conservation”. The SuLu project was financially supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) within it´s International Climate Initiative from 2010 to 2014.

The project supported the development of spatial planning concepts for the Llanos grasslands in Colombia and the eco-regions of Kalimantan and Sumatra in Indonesia in partnership with local stakeholders, like governments, communities and conservation groups to avoid greenhouse gas emissions and minimize pressure on land with high biodiversity caused by biomass production.

The main challenge will be to achieve a sustainable biomass production.

Acting through the sustainability criteria of the European Union Renewable Energy Directive (EU RED), SuLu was identifying important areas for the conservation of biodiversity and lands with high carbon stock value.  Sulu was also working with stakeholders on the development of methods to identify no go, high and low risk areas for sustainable biomass production.

The project used geographic technologies to define and communicate EU RED requirements and to integrate advanced landscape analysis into spatial planning with local stakeholders. It developed a methodology – together with stakeholders – to define and identify highly biodiverse grasslands in the Colombian project region.

Colombian project region – The Orinoco

The Orinoco basin is located between Colombia and Venezuela from the Andes to the Atlantic. The river flows 2140 km from its source in the extreme south of the Guianan massif until it reaches the ocean. Its tributary basins represent one of the most biologically and hydrologically diverse areas of the world. It is considered to be the 3rd most important river system on the planet, particularly due to the volume of water flowing into the Atlantic – an average of 36000 m3 per second.

The combination of three different ecosystems (Andes, Guiana and Orinoco Delta) form an extraordinary aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity within the ecoregion. To date, 17420 species of plants, 1300 species of birds, more than 1000 species of fish, 250 mammals and 119 reptiles have been recorded in the area. The area also has a high ethnic diversity and is home to different indigenous groups.

If not managed appropriately, the integrity of this natural region will be severly affected.

Infrastructure development in this area is still very limited. However, threats are looming large in the form of gold and diamond mining in Guiana highlands, petroleum exploitation in the foothills of Colombian Andes and Venezuelan Llanos, extensive cattle ranching and the expansion of industrial-scale agriculture such as oil palm and rice cultivation. Colombia faces threats that embrace a wide range of human and economic activities.

You also find a summary of the work from WWF Colombia within Sulu in Spanish on the WWF Colombias website

Indonesian Pilot Area – RIMBA region

RIMBA is an area in Central Sumatra that spans 19 districts in the provinces of Riau, Jambi and West Sumatra. RIMBA is an abbreviation for Riau, Jambi and West Sumatra. RIMBA in Bahasa Indonesia means Jungle.

The area is important because these provinces have a high level of threat to biodiversity as habitat destruction that would lead to the extinction of key species of Sumatran tigers and elephants as well as other environmental damage caused by the switching function of forest land into oil palm plantations and industrial plantations forest.

RIMBA for example covers three out of six priority Tiger Conservation Landscapes identified by experts as important habitat for Sumatran tiger conservation. It also encompasses remaining high-biodiversity montane, lowland, and peat swamp forest areas, and degraded areas prioritized for restoration. RIMBA is not only home for Sumatran tigers, it also serves as an important habitat for elephant, orang-utan, and thousands of other unique species.