EDU NATURE CARE is an initiative in conservation in a remote village in Pandala, Takalar regency, South Sulawesi. Indonesia.
In Pandala, Laikang, Takalar, local farmers used to cut trees to sell as fuel wood. They sold these to brick and handicraft home industries and to a sugar factory in the neighbouring areas. No replanting took place and a very large land area became empty and unproductive. The empty and unproductive land consist of a clay soil structure which poses economic as well as environmental problems to local people. Firstly, it is not motivating to plant commercial crops on the empty land due to the structure of the soil. This, in turn, limits the income source of local villagers. Secondly, clay soil causes poor drainage so that during the rainy season, heavy rain water would flow directly to the sea with erosion along the way and results in water scarcity insufficient for domestic use and agriculture.
A reforestation project in this area was initiated by LPTM in collaboration with Rotary Club Makassar on 2007. The Bitti tree was selected as the main stand. Bitti tree is an endangered plant species indigenous to South Sulawesi, Indonesia, and a construction material of the traditional wooden boat Pinisi. Pinisi is a traditional boat of the Buginese and Makassarese ethnicity, dating back from the 1600s and still in operation in inter-island sea water and is still built to this day. In Bontotiro, Bulukumba, traditional Pinisi boat building is increasing in quantity and size, which rapidly deteriorate the population of Bitti tree. Reforestation of this tree will preserve wood for future boat building, and significantly maintain the habitat of several wild-lives in the area. Bitti tree forest is the native habitat of several endangered species such as deers and monkeys, and other species such as singing birds. Reforestation in the area introduces and encourages agroforestry to the local community and may provide them with a sustainable source of income. Reforestation may also inhibit erosion by water retention in the soil.
The reforestation initiative has at least six main aims. Firstly, to improve the quality of human life by clearing up the air from pollution and dust, to bio-sequester atmospheric CO2, and to mitigate global warming. Secondly, to restore natural habitat and ecosystem for local wildlife including endangered and indigenous species. Thirdly, to provide sustainable income resource for the local community in the future by implementing agroforestry. Fourthly, to prevent erosion by water retention in the soil. And fifthly, to provide a sustainable supply of the main component for the Pinisi boat building and in turn preserve local heritage. And last but not least is to secure water for farmers.
What has been done so far
LPTM has established a nursery facility in Makassar for the Bitti tree seedlings. Seedlings are grown under shade to adjust to their natural growth requirement. Sapling dwarfism in the field occured prior to shade treatment of the seedlings in the nursery. To accelerate planting, LPTM in cooperation with Clarion Hotel offer hotel visitors to donate seedlings grown in the nursery for reforestation. Seedlings ready for planting were then planted on the empty and unproductive land in Pandala, Laikang, Takalar. Seedling nursery and plantation were done by involving local community, seedling donators, and volunteers from domestic and abroad. So far about 3000 trees have been planted and most have grown into saplings.
Room for improvement
Even though the reforestration initiative has been up and running for almost nine years, there are still many challenges to address and problems to solve in order to improve and optimize the initiative and to move it forward to further advancement. The challenging structure of the soil necessitates soil enhancement for better nourishment and environmental condition for the trees. Tree planting so far has been done arbitrarily, and thus an academic approach to a more systematic planting is required to develop a strategy in order to improve and optimize timber quality and harvesting methodology for a sustainable timber supply in the future. Community development strategies need to be researched and implemented to guarantee that local community may continuously benefit from the introduced agroforestry which may provide them with a sustainable source of income. Therefore, research collaboration with the academic sector in the field of reforestation, soil sciences, community development, etc is direly needed. Collaboration with other institutions in similar sectors are also welcome.