Greetings from Indonesia
Rainfall has diminished gradually between April and June. It is the beginning of the dry season.
Together with the local farmers participating in the project, we continue to look after the 250 hectares of reforested site. During this time of the year, our main activities consist of weeding vines, which can envelop and kill the trees, and keeping records of the condition of the reforestation site.
We hope the young trees will survive through the tough dry season.
Progress in the reforestation project
Many of the farmers participating in the project are poor, with a monthly household income of less than 5,000 yen. In the past, as a large part of their income had depended on a single crop, cassava, at the times of poor harvest or a low selling price meant an even further drop in their income. They were forced to choose clearing new sections of the forest and expanding their farmland to deal with such adversities.
To regenerate and protect the forest, it is essential to enrich the lives of the people living near the forest, and foster understanding that the bounties of the forest sustain their daily lives. The project does this by developing an alternative means to earn a living. The common beans harvested in the fields have become a new source of income for the farmers, and are helping to enrich their lives.
Community agroforestry development
Similarly, the project has introduced freshwater fish farming to diversify and stabilize the farmers' source of income. Despite living right by a watershed forest, the residents had difficulty actually fetching water and enjoying this bounty of nature. But their lives are changed a great deal last year, when the project drew pipes from the water source. The water delivered through the pipes is used not only for drinking but also to fill the fish ponds that had been dried out.
The fry released into the ponds are already grown and beginning to support the lives of the farmers. This is an outstanding example of the projectusing the bounties of the forest to enrich the lives of people living nearby, while also protecting the forest.
Community agroforestry development
In the three months from April to June, we visited four schools together with a public health nurse.
Children learned about the importance of conserving nature in fun classes incorporating songs, games, quizzes, videos, and books, as well as about health and sanitation from the public health nurse.
Not all area in Indonesia has tap water and a sewage system. Securing the water necessary for daily life and maintaining sanitation so as to prevent diseases still involve much work and effort. Meanwhile, it is also important to understand the mechanisms of nature and make good use of its power. The children are learning about the close connection between these two themes—nature and health.
Dr. Green and mobile environmental education program
Kiki (female) and Sadewa (male) are both 13 years old. They are a pair of Javan gibbons. Until they were placed in the care of the Javan Gibbon Center in 2008, they were kept as pets in Sukabumi. At first, neither was equipped to live in the forest. But after five years of rehabilitation at the Center, they now behave much as wild gibbons do. They swing from tree to tree, pick and eat fruit, make friends with other Javan gibbons, and cry to communicate with each other.
And in June, the pair was released into the forest of Gunung Gede.
Kiki and Sadewa return to the forest
We continue to look after the signboard. We discovered in April that a number of letters were damaged, and repaired them straightaway.