1st Quarter Report – Year 2010
January – February – March
Wildlife Protection, Habitat Restoration & Community Wellbeing
Since completing the main planting project 7 years ago, FNPF continues to plant trees to increase the biodiversity and the density of the area. We are planting about 7 new seedlings per day and the nursery started by FNPF (and now operated by the local community under FNPF’s supervision) is the source of the seedlings. Besides the planting done by our staff, we also welcome visitors to plant tree in this area.
Over the last 3 years we have planted trees over all of the dry land that the park management gave us access. We are now deciding when to commence the second layer of planting.
We have also started planting in the swampy areas. This is challenging because of the high water level and the abundance of sharp weed grass that cuts the tree planters skin when they work. We have cleared the most accessible area and have planted seedlings in rows approximately 5m apart. Their GPS coordinates will be recorded at a later date during the maintenance stage. Together with the local community, we planted approximately 13,600 seedlings on 34 hectares of swamp land in period January – March 2010. In April we will plant another 2.400 seedlings on the remaining 6 hectares. Strong local community involvement in the land preparation and planting has created a strong sense of ownership by the community and makes the conservation work truly sustainable.
With the backing of the park management, we have continued to supervise the cooperative nursery in Sei Sekonyer village. The nursery has been a major success and is now capable of producing good quality seedlings for the forest regeneration in the area. Also, park management, FNPF, companies and tourists now regularly acquire seedlings from the cooperative nursery. In this way, the nursery is providing the local village with an economic benefit whilst also helping to regenerate the forest.
We started the Conservation Education program 13 years ago and it has now been adopted as an established course in 2 high schools in Pangkalan Bun. The program brings students to the park where they are given information about the environment and shown practical conservation work in action. As much as possible we attempt to reintroduce the local traditions and wisdom that are no longer being practiced or passed on to their generation by the elders.
Many of our staff who deliver the education program to students are in ex-loggers. This is a major achievement because not only have we reduced the volume of loggers that destroy the native forest, but we have transformed more than 20 loggers into conservationists that educate young people in schools, disperse the conservation message into the wider local population, actively protect the park from illegal logging or forest fires.
The education program has proved to be so successful that we are now looking to develop a similar program for village primary schools. We believe that the program will have an even stronger long term impact because the children will be taught at an early age when they are most likely to take and retain an interest in nature and their local environment. We plan to take groups of students to the park every month.
Our team has spent some few months discussing the proposed program with the teachers in the village primary schools, our own conservation teachers (who we recruited from Sei Sekonyer village and then trained to deliver the program), and several local villagers who have in depth knowledge of traditional wisdom about the local environment. The knowledge from these discussions is helping us to prepare the teaching material and formulate the best way to deliver the program.
Initially we will focus on two village primary schools: SDN1 Seikonyer in Sekonyer village; and SDN1 Sei Bedaun in Sungai Bedaun village. Over time as we receive more funds, we will train more staff from the village and roll out the program to more primary schools in the area.
The first field trip was on March 14th, and we took 30 students from SDN1 Seikonyer to our reforestation site at Pesalat. The students were given flora and fauna, and shown how to use them in daily life. And they were able to see in real life how and why reforestation is so important. Most students were very happy to join the program and demonstrated that they have real interest in conservation. It was also clear that our educators that we have trained from the village were very proud in their new professions to be sharing their knowledge of the environment and conservation with the children.
Using SDN 1 Sei Sekonyer as a model, we will lobby SDN 1 Sei Bedaun to also adopt the program. Some of the teachers at SDN 1 Sei Bedaun have already shown interest. They need time to discuss with other teachers and to get permission from back the parent committee for the students to travel from the village to our working site. We are projecting that we will have the two schools participating by April.
As mentioned, under our supervision the nursery cooperative Sei Sekonyer Lestari has developed into a successful nursery business for the village. Between January and March 2010 it sold over 20,000 seedlings. In addition to FNPF and the park management, a regular buyer of seedlings has been HUTAN, a Japanese conservation NGO that also works to preserve the rainforest in the park.
We are now trying to encourage the village to establish a village forest on the village land as a way of regenerating the land that was cleared for by palm oil production. We would like to make this area a back up forest and barrier to the actual park. We are scheduled to have a meeting with the village member to discuss this issue in April and discuss how to make a village regulation to protect the village land as forest. This will give direct benefit to wildlife and the local community.
We continue to maintain our agro forestry demonstration plot in Jerumbun. Next April we will replace any dead rubber trees with new seedlings.
FNPF is participating in a tree-planting event organized by the park management titled “Tanjung Puting Menanam 2010” (“Tanjung Puting Planting Tree 2010”). We also planted trees in an ex-mining area in the park on March 18.
With the support of Diantama, another Indonesian NGO, we sent 3 village members on a fresh water fishery course in Yayorin
Whilst continuing to supervise the cooperative nursery in the village, we are also promoting this business to maximize the opportunity for the villagers to develop an ongoing income from the nursery.