21 Dec 2017: New orangutan species in Batang Toru, North Sumatra. Western flank has faced some (relatively weak) pressure from local community and logging.
Editor's note: A new orangutan species was discovered recently. A reader asked me if I had covered the area in map analysis. The orangutans live in the Batang Toru area. Please refer to a preliminary (in progress) review and comments below. The reported area is 1,100km2, but the area I looked at as least disturbed was something over 800km2 of the western green zone (I didn't include the eastern green zone in analysis so far). Basically, with this kind of elevation and steep terrain, it is about smaller scale, local community expansion pressure; which has been relatively weak in comparison to elsewhere to the north and south. Terrain has helped to protect the orangutans in this critical habitat. The orange zones in the eastern part of the image are what I had already put in for first level analysis of in-use zones by 1984/85 for a study of 1 million ha of North Sumatra shown in my 20 Dec 2017 posting; and I could add most of those lilac demarcated hill farm zones as in-use by 1984/85 too. #Conservation
Note: New orangutan species described in Indonesia 07 Nov 2017, https://www.iucn.org/news/species/201711/new-orangutan-species-described-indonesia
21 Dec 2017: Rakhine economic map updatedFrom 21 Nov 2017: Update on Rakhine, Myanmar. I attended an update on the Rohingya situation by Nurul Islam of the Arakan Rohingya National Organisation. Humanitarian intervention sorely needed including Safe Zones. Questions included whether China could play a major role in peace keeping. The Belt & Road initiative aims to bring peace and prosperity. China has a major pipeline project in Rakhine that connects to Yunnan. I had a chance to annotate my GE map of Rakhine with updates from Mr Nurul. The green and white contours depicts elevation, and you can clearly see that the uplands form the natural boundary of Rakhine. Sittwe has hopes of access by river to India.
20 Dec 2017: Khor Maps: Case studies done on 2.8 million hectaresEditor's note: I am happy to update you on map case study work. These include 300,000 ha and 1.5 million hectares in northern Peninsular Malaysia and 1 million hectares in North Sumatra. In the last year or so, I've been picking up on map data efforts, incorporating new data available. Years ago, in pre-feasibility site study work, I've worked on Merauke in (Indonesia) Papua, Mindanao, Cambodia, Laos, West Africa palm oil FDI projects and more. These included mapping conflict areas, ethno-linguistic customary zones (crossing several such areas in one concession can lead to heightened local community risks), salt water inundation of coastal zones, unexploded ordnance hot spots, arsenic poisoning areas and more.
Khor Maps has a large work plan for 10 millions of hectares in Jan-Mar 2018, so please stay in touch. Here's a work in progress on part of North Sumatra, reviewing old-use areas against current production zones:
I presented palm-rubber landscape analysis at the Institute of Social Studies in Paris in early October. There was a prelim showing in Malaysia a few weeks before that, and I have presented this to several senior industry experts in wood, palm and rubber industries with interests across the region and also beyond.