"Forests of the Future" Program, Synergizing Ecological and Economic Interests Forest Management

PROFAUNA Indonesia launched the "Forests of the Future" ("Hutan Masa Depan" in Bahasa Indonesia) program as an effort to synergize economic and ecological interests in forest management in Java in April 2022, located in Greater Malang, East Java - Indonesia. This program is a rebranding of forest rehabilitation programs that have been carried out by PROFAUNA Indonesia with local communities since 2020.

The main goal of the "Forests of the Future" program is to invite local communities such as forest farmers to rehabilitate the damaged forests by planting fruit trees. Thus, farmers will benefit economically from harvesting their fruit crops, while the tree stands will have ecological functions which roots would hold the soil together to prevent landslide and flooding.

"The forests which status is protected, PROFAUNA Indonesia also encourages the planting of jungle trees such as ficus types/ genus, to help maintain the clean water resources for the locals surrounding the forests," said Rosek Nursahid, founder of PROFAUNA Indonesia.

hutan masa depan

Through the "Forests of the Future" program, it is hoped that the locals surrounding the forests can benefit economically from the fruit harvesting and the sustainable natural tourism development. Other goal is that the water springs in the forest are maintained and even greater water supply because more and more trees surrounding the springs.

Carrying the tagline "Sustainable forests, radiant communities, singing birds", this program represents the interests of forests as an ecosystem, humans and wildlife represented by the existence of birds.

"Birds are the most easily encountered type of wildlife in all places, including in the forests. Therefore, this is suitable to represent the interests of wildlife in forest preservation," Made Astuti, senior bird watcher from PROFAUNA Indonesia, explained.

PROFAUNA Indonesia hopes that with the rehabilitated forests, especially the protected ones, will affect birds' density in the natural habitats. The realization of the forests into a safe haven for wild birds will be supported by regular patrols by the team of PROFAUNA Rangers together with the local community.

hutan masa depan

From 2020 to April 2022, PROFAUNA Indonesia together with the forest farmer groups, has planted about 120,000 trees in Greater Malang. This "Forests of the Future" program is in collaboration with the forest farmer groups (locally known as KTH), including KTH Maju Mapan, KTH Arjuna Baghawanta, KTH Sidodadi, and Wono Mulyo Social Forestry Group.

In addition to KTH, this program also partners with Perhutani KPH Malang (Malang Forestry Management Office) and some companies that support forest protection: CV Petungsewu Adventure and Bayiku.id who are involved in the "Forests of the Future" program through the Tree Adoption and Forest Adoption projects.

The Importance of Forests in Java

Data in 2014 showed that Indonesia's population density was 132 people per km2, of which almost 60% of Indonesia's population lived on the island of Java. While the area of forest in Java is getting smaller, due to forest conversion into agricultural land, plantations, business ventures and others.

Record forest area stabilization center (BPKH) Region IX Java-Madura (2012) shows that forest area in Java Island covers 129,600.71 km2 (12,960,071 Ha), with forest area amounting to 3,135,648.70 Ha (+- 24% of the area of Java Island), and forest cover of +19%. The forest consists of protected forests (735,194,560 Ha), production forests (1,812,186,050 Ha) and conservation forests (76,065,304 Ha).

hutan masa depan

Protected forests and production forests are managed by Perum Perhutani (Forestry State-owned Enterprise), while conservation forests are managed by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF). The area of the forests managed by Perum Perhutani is 76.83% of the forest area in Java. Forest management by Perum Perhutani is based on Government Regulation Number 72 of 2010, saying that the government entrusts the management of 2.4 million hectares of state forests in Java Island to Perum Perhutani.

In 2021, the authority of forest management in Java by Perum Perhutani has been reduced for in the management area with the Regulation of the MoEF Number 7 of 2021 which mentions the existence of a forest area program with Special Designation (locally abbreviated as KHDPK). The determination of designated forests for some forests in East Java, Central Java, West Java, and Banten is regulated under the MoEF Number SK.287 / MENLHK / SETJEN / PLA.2 / 4/2022 which was issued on April 5, 2022.

In the Ministerial Decree, it is stated that some of the country's forests located in the production forest areas and protected forests managed by Perhutani in Central Java, East Java, West Java, and Banten Provinces covering an area of approximately 1,103,941 hectares (ha) are set to be designated forests. The form of designated forest management is allocated to six interests: social forestry, forest area arrangement in the framework of strengthening forest areas, forest area use, forest rehabilitation, forest protection, or utilization of environmental services.

hutan masa depan

With the acquisition of forest management in Java covering an area of more than 1 million hectares (almost half of which was originally managed by Perhutani) by the MoEF, the future of forests in Java is at a crossroads. If the social forestry scheme offered in the designated forests runs well, then this will have a positive impact on forest sustainability, because of the active involvement of local communities in managing forests. But if the social forestry fails, it will be even more difficult to restore the remaining forests in Java.

"We consider the assistance of the social forestry program is still weak, so this is where PROFAUNA plays roles to assist forest farmers so that economic and ecological functions in forest management can run in harmony," Erik Yanuar, field coordinator of PROFAUNA Indonesia, said.

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ProFauna Indonesia is an Indonesian society for the protection of
wild animals and their habitats