​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Green Wall: Restoring Wildlife Habitat

​Indonesia​​     English​​


Editor's note: ​This article is Series of Restoration in Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park​​

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EditDescription:One of the villagers from Cihanyawar replants trees in degraded areas in Nagrak Resot, Mount Gede National Park. 
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Ecosystem is the unity of structures with an inseparable reciprocal relationship between living creatures and their environment. Forest is one example of natural ecosystem where both elements, wildlife and the environment, symbiotically influence and depend on each other. Therefore, destruction of forest functions such as land cover reduction would disrupt the state of wildlife. In that case, restoration or remediation attempts through planting and maintenance are necessary to repair the damage. People also need to be empowered to restore the function and balance of the ecosystem.

Since 2008, Mount Gede Pangarango National Park (MGPNP), particularly in the area of Resot Nagrak, Sukabumi, West Java, has implemented a restoration program called a "Green Wall". At the time, part of the forest ecosystems in the area was badly damaged. The main concept of the program is not only to improve the forest structures, but also to cultivate pro-environmental (green behavior) mindset to local community. The active role of the community is a key element of the program, as well as the support from local government.

"The Green Wall will keep the wildlife safe in the woods, and protect the citizens of Jakarta from drought," explained Sanjayan, an American global conservation scientist.

In 2003, the MGPNP region obtained additional forest area of about 7,655 hectares managed by Perum Perhutani. Most of this area was damaged, due to deforestation and degradation. Consequently, the area was prone to natural disasters such as landslide and flood, due to the drastically reduced stands of trees as a result of forests clearing for farming. The forest area lost its function in producing oxygen, carbon sequestration and preventing global warming. The existence ecosystem functions in this forest was disappeared.

The Green Wall program focuses on 300 hectares. Planting trees that are suitable for the natural ecosystems can restore the wildlife, as it creates a new life corridor. As for the community, the benefit would be water from this area for their daily life. it is estimated that 500 trees for each hectare of forest area could save up to 10.5 million liters of water per year. Restoring 300 hectares of degraded area is the same as the assurance of 3.15 billion liters of water per year.

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The program was initiated by increasing understanding and awareness of environmental issues to local community. The understanding that the forest has a potential of 231 billion liters of water per year, which is beneficial for them, and more than 30 million people​​ around the area, including the Jakarta area, was spread to increase their knowledge. Moreover, the community was also informed about applying tumpang sari or intercropping pattern in the absence of tree stands could lead to landslides and floods. Their role as social buffers that could support the nature preservation was communicated.

The program aimed to educate 780 people from six small villages in Cihanyawar Village, Nagrak Sukabumi. They were involved in the process of replanting, which was started by assessment of the cropping area, including land identification, mapping and establishment of nurseries. The planting was carried out by setting up control lines and planting holes, preparing stakes and seed, and the planting itself. The community assistance also included monitoring, evaluation and stitching processes. So far, approximately 120,000 trees and 13,000 fruit trees have been planted within the 300 hectares.

The community was also advised and empowered to shift their reliance in MGPNP. They were encouraged to re-optimize their existence potentials in the form of farming, fisheries and livestock. The local government officials of the relevant boards play active roles in providing guidance and counseling, including medical personnel for their livestock. Bottom-up processes was performed, starting from selection of commodities to increase their ownership. It has resulted in sufficient harvest production that could improve their economy.

Ono Engkan, a farmer from Cihanyawar Village of Nagrak Sukabumi District said, "I earned more income, and so I can provide better education for my children and buy a new piece of land for farming."

One facility called a Village Cooperation was built to boost sales results. Communities were invited to organize the development of the cooperation,  through a series of meetings, awareness building, and training. The officials from the Department of Cooperatives, Industry and Trade of Sukabumi District have actively involved to assist prospective members.

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Awareness education on conservation were also delivered to schools by MGPNP and Conservation International Indonesia (CII) staff. The material was delivered through presentations, movies, games, and books. As a result, the students' participation encourages local communities living near the area to get involved in conservation programs, such as reforestation, making formal reports of hunting, and protection from illegal use of forest. 40 schools from elementary to high school have been assisted, involving about 1,475 students.

One important stage is to prove the essential of water for human life. The MGPNP and CII staff, along with the people in three villages, built pipeline as far as 6 km for water storage tanks in those villages. Further effort were made for the community at Kampung Tengek, the closest village to the MGPNP, built a hydroelectric power as powerful as 500 Watts. This small village, which is only populated by only six families, finally could enjoy electricity.

"With electricity, my children can learn in the evenings, and we could live like people in big cities," said Solihin, a 45-year-old man who previously never enjoyed privilege of having electricity.​

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​Currently, 300 hectares of ​​the Green Wall program’s working area has returned to its previous state. After eight years of implementation, the forest ecosystem has reformed as can be seen in the swelling presence of trees in the area. According to the records of fauna monitoring, using Point Count method for birds and camera trap for mammals, the forest structure is now restored and the forest has once again become a wildlife refuge. Through the monitoring, it is observed that 24 species of birds have been occupying the restoration area, as well as five species of mammals.​

​(Anton Ario)​




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Watch the Green Wall​ movie on YouTube.

The Green Wall program began in July 2008, with the support of Daikin Industries. The program aims to conduct ecosystem restoration on an area of 300 hectares in Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park. The program is a collaboration between Balai Besar MGPNP, local governments, local communities, and CI Indonesia.

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