Greetings from Indonesia
Water is the source of all life. As plants cannot move, they must wait for rain to come falling from the sky. Thanks to the rainy season, the trees we planted are now growing tall and unfurling bright green leaves. Our trees, however, are not the only plants that are waiting for the rain. Small saplings have tough rivals in the weeds and vines growing around them. An important task for us during the rainy season is to weed the reforestation site on a regular basis and keep weeds and vines away from overwhelming the saplings.
The project uses native tree species to restore the forest. Although the growth rates of species commonly used in reforestation, like the eucalyptus and acacia, have been already researched, there is very little data on native species. From January to March, we selected ten trees each from the six species we have planted so far, and measured their height and diameter growth.
The tree that grew most quickly was suren, followed by manglid and salam. These grew as much as 2.5 to 3 meters in a year. The relatively slow trees for growing were the rasamala, puspa, and kisireum.
Every forest is made up of a diversity of unique trees. Some grow quickly but only in the sunlight, Some grow slowly even in the shade of other trees. But on a land which lost the forest, what kinds of trees should be planted first? This is actually a more complex question than it could be. We hope our experiences will help similar efforts elsewhere.
Measuring trunk diameter
Measuring tree height
The project plants several varieties of fruit tree along the borders of the reforestation site and Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park. And this year, the guava trees bore fruit at last! When enough fruit can be harvested, it will be a valuable source of income for the communities.
We support local communities to develop other means of livelihood activities without damaging the forest, such as livestock raising, freshwater fish farming, and sustainable agriculture. The previous report introduced the farmers' success with cucumbers. Now, they are also harvesting common beans and taking them to the market for sale.
Preparing common beans for selling at the market
Our lives are connected with forests. The connection is not always obvious in the city, but here we can see it everywhere. For example, water. Raindrops from the sky trickle down the trees to be purified through the rich soil of the forest, and are stored below ground until they flow out to the surface little by little. This flow of water replenishes the rice fields, quenches our thirst, and protects our daily lives and health.
Between January and March, we held classes on the environment at four schools. Each class incorporated games, music, and free discussions to help the children learn the connection between healthy lives and the forest, all while having fun. Why do we need to protect the forest? There is no single answer. But the important thing is to teach the children that the forest is essential to protect their own healthy lives.
Dr. Green and mobile environmental education program
Gong! Gong! The sound of the drum is common in Indonesia. Those coming from the mosque (the Muslim place of worship) several times a day are a signal to tell the people the time to pray.
The type of drum pictured here, called bedug, is made by carving out a tree trunk and covering both sides with goatskin. The sound can be adjusted according to how tightly the skin is stretched. The bounties of the forest play an integral role in traditional Indonesian culture and customs.
Bedug (Indonesian drum)