Indonesia - 05 September, 2023
Members of the Youth Generation of Mekar Raya Cares for Environment (PGMRPL) carried out replanting activity in critical land areas in Bukit Semugo (Semugo Hill), in Mekar Raya Village, Simpang Dua District, Ketapang Regency, West Kalimantan, on 18-19 August 2023. This is the second time after a similar activity was also carried out last year as a form of commitment from stakeholders to restore degraded areas due to landslide and flood 3 years ago, as well as celebrating the 78th Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia this year.
The activity was a collaboration between various parties such as Mekar Raya Village Government, Simpang Dua Sub-district Government, BPD Mekar Raya, Mekar Raya Customary Figures, Village Forest Management Body (LPHD) Mekar Raya, Village Business Unit (BUMDesa) Usaha Bersama Kabar Jaya, Forest Management Unit (KPH) North Ketapang, and Tropenbos Indonesia (TI). According to Aef Suhedi, Staff of the Public Housing, Settlement Areas and Environment Department of Ketapang Regency, the involvement of various parties to support activities like this and good collaboration between the government, youth, organizations and various other agencies need to be regularly continued to keep the environment sustainable.
The location of the Bukit Semugo Protection Forest is part of an area managed by indigenous people (ICCA/Indigenous Community Conserved Area) covering an area of ±2,097 ha which has important values for indigenous people in Mekar Raya. At the opening of the tree planting event, the participants were required to take part in a customary ritual procession ‘tampong tawar’ which was carried out to welcome guests by sprinkling water using selected plant species. To get to the planting location, the participants used motorbikes from the village center and continued by walk.
Several types of seedlings that were used for the tree planting coming from the village nursery center which was developed with the facilitation of Tropenbos Indonesia, such as durian, jengkol, petai, avocado, rambutan and areca nut, which are commonly found species at the planting location. Antonius Bobby, Head of Simpang Dua Sub-district, expressed his hope that in the future the fruits of the trees planted could become a legacy for future generations.
Meanwhile, Gusti Nyoman Mukti Suganda, Facilitator of TI said, "Through this activity, it is hoped that the community can increase their awareness of environmental sustainability as well as obtain economic value from forest products." Gusti said that this activity was also an invitation for the community to actively participate in natural resource management related to the use of forest products and increasing access to the forest.
In 2022, the same activity was attended by around 63 participants and succeesfully planted 100 tree seedlings in an area of ±2 ha. Antonius Bobby said that the trees planted last year managed to grow well. Meanwhile, this year, there was an increase in participants to 120 people, and they succeessfully planted 200 tree seedlings in an area of ±3.5 ha. Another planting activity of 300 tree seedlings has been planned before the end of this year by involving more participants. Yulius Yogi, TI Facilitator and also a youngster of Mekar Raya, said that youth in Mekar Raya Village will continue to strive to preserve forests from the threat of exploitation for the benefits of investment actors.
Apart from planting trees, participants also carried out camping activity at nearby Temiang waterfall at the foot of Gunung Juring (Mount Juring), in Mekar Raya Village Forest area (±1,107 ha) for two consecutive days, as a form of exploring the potential of ecotourism in Mekar Raya Village which offers the beauty of the forest and unspoiled waterfall. Temiang Waterfall has important value for the people of Mekar Raya Village as a source of water to support daily life. One of the visitors said that the waterfall location still need improvement in management and quality of the cleanliness to maintain the beauty of the tourist site and increase the comfort of visitors. The development of this area as an ecotourism destination also has the support of Simpang Dua Sub-district Government to provide added economic value to the community aside from farming and gardening activities.**