Webinar Series “Managing the Remaining Forests” # 3 Conservation Nationalism Movement

Webinar Series “Managing the Remaining Forests” # 3 Conservation Nationalism Movement

Indonesia - 24 August, 2020

In the Javanese wayang (puppet) story, the figure of Kumbakarna is known as the Alengka warlord who is patriotic and has strong nationalism. In addition, there is also Bisma (Dewabrata) who is also the defender of the Hastina from the impact of environmental destruction due to the Bharatayuda war. Both are inspirations from the wayang that has been designated by UNESCO as an amazing cultural work of the national heritage. The close relationship between environment and culture is clearly illustrated in the “kayon” of the “gunungan” wayang. Trees are the lifeblood for all living beings who depend on them. Damage to trees in the forest has become a source of various disasters such as fires as seen behind the kayon (banaspati) which describes fire.

Director of Tropenbos Indonesia, Edi Purwanto told the story in a webinar entitled "Conservation Nationalism Movement" on Saturday, August 15, 2020. The idea of the theme was related to the commemoration of the 75th Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia which fell on August 17, 2020, as well as an invitation to protect and defend the motherland from the threat of environmental damage as a manifestation of a strong sense of nationalism.

Before and after the struggle for independence, Indonesian nationalism had inspired some other countries in the world. Unfortunately, this nationalism has weakened nowadays, one of which is due to the incomplete character building of the people of the nation. One of the impacts is environmental disaster resulted from the damage of natural resources due to human activities. Environmental nationalism is in fact the manifestation of love for the country.

Culture and natural resources are like a double-edged piece. Through culture, people understand their environment and their experience as the guide for behavior. "The destruction of natural resources will also have an impact on culture, such as the disappearance of common interests, the tradition of mutual cooperation, and a shift from altruism to egoism," said Edi. The absence of cultural ties in a community will eventually lead to a tragedy where everyone will feel fine to exploit nature because other people do the same.

According to Joko Widayatmo, Executive Director of the Indonesian Mining Association, mining entrepreneurs should have express nationalism in conservation through reclamation activities. "Every mining plan must be accompanied by a post-mining reclamation plan whose goal is to conserve biodiversity," he said. This is in accordance with the government regulation stipulated in Law No.3 / 2020 on Minerba (Mining, Mineral, and Coal) where every mining must carry out restoration and consider the allocation of buffer zone so that the mining business is not only seen as an exploiter of natural resources. The law is an amendment to the Minerba Law No.4 / 2009 which was signed by President Jokowi on June 10, 2020. Another legal basis for post-mining reclamation is Law No.41 on Forestry and Permenhut P60 / 2009.

Harmonization of mining areas with forests needs to be realized so that future generations can still see the biodiversity that exists such as proboscis monkey, pangolin, anoa, etc. Currently, the main issues faced by the mining business are the implementation of reclamation that has not been optimum and the management of mine pits which are often abandoned. This is also because before the existence of Law No.3 / 2020, the regulation had not regulated the balance ratio between cleared and reclaimed land, as well as the allowed area of ex-mining pits (void).

According to data from the Indonesian Mining Association, to date there are 42 mines with 76 work contracts. However, among the companies which have received Mining Business Permits (IUP) 6,335 are clean and clear (C&C), while 3,286 are still non-C&C. It is related to their obedience in paying taxes, fulfilling the required permits, Amdal, and so on. A number of companies that are under the supervision of the central government have carried out their reclamation activities well, but many companies that are under the authority of the regional government are still lacking, so the authority for mining permit is now returned to the central government, although the implementation is still in the regions.

Despite the fact that a number of mining companies still commit violation, Joko said that some mining companies have concerns for the environment, for the society, and have been successful in carrying out reclamation. The forest that was once damaged has now returned even though it is no longer recovering to its original state. Some post mining areas cannot be planted with other than certain types of plants because the soil is acidic. Some others can be planted with types of plants imported from other areas, but with human intervention the reclamation can be successful. Other potential utilizations of post mining areas are for plantation forest, breeding deer, habitat of forest fowl breeding, orchid garden, pineapple garden, or cattle and pasture farms. The underground hole in Umbilin, for example, has now become a mining museum and training center for underground mining in Indonesia and has received recognition from UNESCO as a place to keep the history of mining in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, from the plantation sector, according to ANJ Group's Director of Sustainability, Fakri Karim, in agriculture field and value chain, forest is seen as part of natural capital similar to human capital or machinery. "So, it must be calculated to make it sustainable because it contributes to every stage of the value chain. Balancing people, planet and prosperity is the pre-condition,” he said. ANJ Group has a policy to balance these three things, and of the total area managed on various islands to date, ANJ has allocated 29% of the area for conservation with an average budget allocation of around US $ 11.11 - 220 per ha.

Fakri admitted that the existence of forests outside the HGU (cultivation rights) is important for companies, especially in relation to forest fires due to the possibility to spread into the HGU. However, according to him, fires most often occur in unmanaged forests. With a very limited national budget for forest management of around US $ 5 per ha, cooperation between the government and the business community, the community and NGOs is very important. "There needs to be cooperation to manage sources of funds from public fund, private investment, as well as grants/fund from donors," he said. Fakri gave an example on conservation effort done by multi-stakeholder parties carried out in Ketapang, West Kalimantan on the implementation of integrated landscape management through KEE, where ANJ and Tropenbos Indonesia were also involved.

The shrinking of forests and the occurrence of climate change may have made natural signs (pranoto mongso) indicating seasonal changes difficult to find. Conservation nationalism is still a common homework to preserve local culture to remains attractive for future generations. "If western capitalistic countries can admire our culture, why can't we," said Edi. He hopes that cultural promotion can still be carried out and TV stations will not only broadcast programs based on ratings, but also broadcast programs that can provide cultural understanding to the community so that national culture that teaches the values of local wisdom is not eroded by the challenge of the times.

This webinar is the third in webinar series "Managing the Remaining Forests". The next webinar series will carry the themes:
- Landscape Based Conservation
- Conservation Tourism
- Building Conservation Incentives