“If we re-planting trees in the forest, it means we help our Earth in supplying oxygen for human’s life. Then it mean we help GOD.”
The statement above was said by Herman Hading from Watudiran Village, one of participants in Training on Institutional Strengthened for Farmer Groups of Community Forest in Sikka District. He responded to the explanation on Carbon. It was in the closing session of the Training, when Mrs. Yunida Polo, Head of Local Government Forestry Unit (LGFU) of Sikka District, explained that after the Training on Institutional Strengthened for Farmer Groups of Community Forest in Sikka District, there will be Training on Carbon Measurement and Calculation. All participants were confused. It could be seen from their faces, they wrinkled their forehead and their eyes questioning. Until two questions came up, what is carbon? Why do farmers need to calculate carbon on their Community Forest area? Patti from ASFN Secretariat, explained that Carbon is a gas which human exhale and the gas is poison therefore our body exhale it. Human inhales oxygen. Oxygen is benefit gas for human and all living creatures on Earth. Carbon is absorbed by plantation such as tree. Tree processes Carbon into fruit and oxygen. Tree releases Oxygen. Oxygen needed by human and all living creatures. Therefore recently the carbon supply in the air is abundant due to reduction of trees. Then Herman Harding commented that “If we re-planting the tree in the forest, it means we help our Earth in supplying oxygen. Then we help GOD.”
Sikka District has been known as one of Districts which has high poverty rate. Regarding to Badan Pusat Statistik/ Statistic Center Agency in March 2012, number of poor people in Sikka District is 73.342 householders (Kepala Keluarga)*. Poverty often followed by low education. Therefore it needs a very simple explanation to response the question from Sikka people. However they respect forest as it is already in their custom from the ancestors. But due to their needs, they cut trees for housing or open the land for farming. However in the process the community wants to manage forest land to meet their needs.
Figure 2. Sikka Map shows the conservation area (purple), Protected Forest Area (green), production forest (yellow), and other functions area (white). Distribution on HKm Area is in Protected Forest.
The fact of population increasing and the limited of arable land have alarmed the people in and surround the forest. While the potential for expansion of arable land is possible only in the area of their family heritage territory. The reality is most of the area which managed by the people has been designated as forest area since 1984. These conditions lead to limited access to the expansion of managing the area by the people / farmers in and around forest areas.
In response to those conditions, the resistance continues to be the agenda of people who want access to and control over forest areas. However, the Government of Indonesia has to accommodate people's expectations who wish to manage their land in forest areas through Community Forestry / Hutan Kemasyarakatan (HKm) Program. The program was launched by the Ministry of Forestry from 2001 through Decree of the Minister and Regulation of Minister on the implementation of Community Forest in 2007.
In Sikka District there are about 34 villages defined to manage forest in HKm Program since 2010. The area to be managed by 34 villages covers about 38.442,43 hectares. BPDAS Benain Noelmina, Kupang (Watershed Management Office of Benain Noelmina, Kupang) has been facilitated 3 villages to get Community Forest License which have been issued by the Regent in May 2012. While ASFN together with Ministry of Forestry of Republic of Indonesia (MOFRI) has been facilitated 7 villages to get Community Forest License which have been issued by the Regent in October 2012 and for next facilitation will be for other 10 villages which expected to get the Community Forest License in in February 2013. The other 10 villages are planned to be supported by ASFN in 2013 and expected to get the License at least in May 2013 **.
The HKm Program gives people rights to manage the forest for 35 years. The rights are to utilize the working area (cultivation of medicinal plants, cultivation of ornamental plants, mushroom cultivation, bee, versatile tree cultivation, swiftlet farming, wildlife breeding, rehabilitation forage fodder); to utilize of environmental services (water flow service utilization, nature tourism, biodiversity protection, rescue and environmental protection, absorption and / or carbon storage); and harvesting of non-timber forest products (rattan, bamboo, honey, sap, fruit, mushrooms)***.
In HKm Program, people who have been joined in farmer groups have obligations. People should perform boundary work area; develop 35 years work plan of HKm management in the establishment of working area; conduct plantation, maintain and secure the protected forest properly and sustainably; pay provisions on forest resources in accordance with the regulation and make the reports on the utilization and management of HKm to Local Government cq to Ministry of Forestry annually***.
Farmer Groups from Sikka were excitedly be part of the training. Eventhough the training was not easy to follow, but the learning process went dynamic with discussion during the training and the break. The HKm rule and procedures in national level are also not easy to be understood by farmers, therefore it needs to be translated into a training for farmers. The translation from regulation into understandable procedures for farmers should be done by facilitators from local government and local NGO. Therefore MOFRI and Local Government Forestry Unit /LGFU need assistance from NGO such as Indigenous People’s Alliance of Indonesia ‘s Archipelago (AMAN) and Sandi Florata in Sikka District. The LGFU together with AMAN and Sandi Florata conduct socialization on HKm Program since 2009.
Figure 3. Farmer Group Meetings in Wolomotong, Hikong, and Lewomada Villages (from right to left) to conduct zoning area, baseline data and Work Plan Development of HKm facilitated by Partnership through NGO AMAN and Sandi Florata.
ASFN with its purpose in supporting Government of Indonesia in HKm related to Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, has supported MOFRI in HKm Program through internship, gathering data base and developing work plan and trainings. The internship organized for three Farmer Groups who already got the Permit and Staffs of LGFU Sikka District. The Internship aims to enhance the capacity of Farmer Groups on conducting HKm Program and the relation to Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation. The Internship was held in Aik Berik HKm in Lombok Tengah. Aik Berik HKm got their Permit since 2009. The development of Aik Berik HKm is shown from their annual reports and also from the people condition. The farmer groups administrators are also active and creative in improving their capacity and condition. Recently the administrators collaborate with LGFU of Lombok Tengah in developing Local Regulation for NTFP. Purpose of the regulation is to order the needy species to plant based on the community needs and potentials enterprises, way of harvesting forest product and provision payment to government. The farmer groups in Aik Berik have their representative in Social Forestry Forum/ Forum Perhutanan Sosial in Lombok. After the Internship, the Farmer Groups conducted blocking or zoning area to be managed by their members and also gather baseline data for work plan development.
The follow up activities on supporting Sikka HKm were two trainings conducted by LGFU supported by ASFN. The first training was Institutional Strengthened which has 4 subjects to be trained to Farmer Groups. The subjects are HKm Policy, Institutional Management, Cooperation and People Nursery. The second training was Carbon Measuring and Calculation. In this training, Farmer Groups and staffs of LGFU Sikka District trained to measure and calculate carbon content in tree and in soil. From these trainings it’s expected that participants can be trainer for their colleagues in their home village.
Figure 4. Multi stakeholder meeting. Opened by Mr. Drs. Sosimus Mitang, Sikka Regent. Left Picture: Mrs. Niniek Irawati, Head Sub Directorate HKm, MOFRI gave Remarks. Center Picture: Source Persons on the Meeting. Right Picture: Local Government People Empowerment Unit of Sikka District will conduct socialization on Agro-Business Development.
MOFRI conducted Multistakeholder meeting for Farmer Groups and Local Government Units in Sikka District. This meeting was purposed to accommodate the Work Plans of Farmer Groups in conducting HKm Program with the work agenda of Local Government Units in 2013. So there will be a synergies between Farmer Groups Work Plans and LGU’s Work Agendas to strengthen the development of HKm in Sikka District.
Up to now there already 10 villages in Sikka District which defined to conduct HKm Program through trainings and socialization. Even though only 1/3 area covered from the target area, there is an optimist in HKm Program implementation and development in Sikka District to improve environment and people condition. Finally the carbon stock in trees and soils of forest area in Sikka District can contribute to the GOI promise to reduce carbon emission into 26% with international assistance.
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*= reference from Kupang Metro, 29 Maret 2012, “ Warga Miskin NTT Bisa Bertambah, Jika BBM Jadi dinaikkan”
**= reference from Slide Presentation of Mrs. Yunida Polo, “PERKEMBANGAN PENGELOLAAN HUTAN KEMASYARAKATAN DI KABUPATEN SIKKA”
***= reference from Peraturan Menteri Kehutanan No.37, Tahun 2007