UGM Faculty of Forestry has submitted their study on social enhancement of communities that live around forests in order to improve peatland governance in a bid to prevent forest fire as well as to improve forest management that complies with sustainable development concept.
The study was submitted during a public hearing attended by Association of Forestry Businessmen (APHI), Peatland Restoration Agency, representatives from Forest and Environment Ministry, as well as Rural, Underdeveloped Region and Transmigration Ministry in UC UGM on Tuesday (24/4).
Dean of Faculty of Forestry, Budiadi, S.Hut.,M.Agr.Sc., said the academic paper was the result of field study done for the past two years. “Our team has long explored information and studied on the field,” said Budiadi.
He said there were three important findings made by UGM on the community around the forests. He explained social enhancement was necessary through enhancement of economic institutions, human resource, and their economic structure. “Socio-economic enhancement would require cooperation between businessmen, government, and community,” he said.
One of the researchers, Dr. Satyawan Pudyatmoko, S.Hut. M.Sc., despite the fact there were already social enhancement attempts done by agencies, ministries, or NGOs, but these have not been able to improve the socio-economic condition optimally. So, UGM offers an alternative concept that we believe would give clear guidance through multidisciplinary approach,” he said.
According to Satyawan, the problems that often emerged were the impacts of forest fires that brought losses in terms of investment, health, and environment. “Forest fire will continue to happen if we don’t solve the root of the problems or if surrounding development doesn’t go well,” he said.
To improve the socio-economic condition of the people living near the forests, they need to be driven through productive but environmentally friendly endeavours as well as social capital enhancement. The social enhancement can be done by biophysical enhancement, livelihoods enhancement, human resource enhancement, and institutions and infrastructure enhancement. “Human resource enhancement can be done by field school through flexible and long term funding,” he said.
Chairman of APHI, Indroyono Susilo, appreciated UGM for the academic paper. He said since 2015, UGM had collaborated with APHI to minimise the rate of forest fires, which was in fact decreasing. “This year we hope to reduce the figure even lower, especially there will be the hosting of Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang. We are trying to control everything to prevent more forest fires from happening. We want to encourage the community to jointly sustain the peatland,” he said.