Director General for Natural Resource Conservation and Ecosystem in Environment Ministry, Ir.Wiratno, M.Sc., said social forests had proved to be able to mobilise the economy of the community who lived around the forests.
“The real example is the Kulon Progo Social Forest or more known as Kalibiru tourism village in social media,” he said on Thursday (16/11) at Faculty of Forestry UGM. Wiratno was present to deliver a scientific speech themed Fight of Spatial Management: Past and Future of Social Forest in Indonesia, during the 54th anniversary of Faculty of Forestry UGM.
Wiratno said selfie business around Kalibiru had proved that the social forests were able to increase people’s welfare. As high as Rp5 billion in cash are generated each year from this business. Another example is the success of social forests in Namo Sialang and Sei Serdang, Batang Serangan district, Langkat regency, in North Sumatera which are adjacent to Gunung Leuser National Park. The local community has developed ecotourism that generates as much as Rp12 billion each year.
Wiranto said that social forests were capable to increase the economic range down to the village level as well as build a new awareness of the people in the villages near the forests.
“These phenomenons have built socioculture and economic buffer. It’s the local people that can generate the economy in the village without urbanisation, instead, the urban people have to come to the village,” said the alumnus of Faculty of Forestry UGM.
Wiratno added social forest was very site specific or local specific and usually was small scale. Replicating the success of this program in one place does not necessarily show similar potential and success elsewhere. Hence, sustainable monitoring and evaluation are required while learning process can be done together sustainably.
“Through a field school initiated by UGM Forestry professor, Prof. San Afri Awang, replication has the potential to work faster. With the farmer to farmer share learning model, it can be done more effectively and relatively faster than conventional counselling model,” he said.