A team from the UGM Faculty of Biology has won two prizes at the 20th LOBI Scientific Writing Competition hosted by Universitas Andalas. The team won first place and the best presentation award.
The competition, which was attended by dozens of universities in Indonesia, took place from January 1 to May 6, 2023. The students, Fikri Ramadhan, Ardan Putra Saleh Hutasuhut, and Maulida Meilana Dewi, mentored by Dr. Wiko Arif Wibowo, submitted a paper titled “Ethnobiological Study of Indigenous Peoples as a Sustainable Biodiversity Conservation Strategy: Case Study of Local Wisdom of Communities Residing on Slopes of Mount Merapi, Yogyakarta.”
Fikri explained that their scientific work discussed communities on Mount Merapi’s slopes as the primary research subject. Mount Merapi, known for its rich biodiversity, has a myriad of local wisdom that is still preserved today. Some local wisdom is even in line with the principles of biodiversity conservation.
“This is interesting to be studied further, considering the threat to biodiversity in the slopes of Mount Merapi is increasing along with massive development, as well as the impact of climate change caused by human activities,” he said in a release received on Monday (22/5).
He said the local wisdom unwittingly plays a role in maintaining nature’s beauty on Mount Merapi’s slopes. Local knowledge passed down from generation to generation plays a vital role in regulating people’s behavior, including how they manage their environment. People who still practice this local wisdom will be wiser in managing natural resources in their environment.
“This local wisdom has a major threat, which is modernization. However, because of the support from the government, the enthusiasm of the community, and the role of the Yogyakarta Palace, this local wisdom remains and is sustainable,” he said.
Based on the research, there is an integration between the local wisdom and conservation–Bersih Dusun and Dandan Kali relating to efforts to keep the environment clean or Labuhan Gunung Merapi and Merti Bumi to express gratitude to nature, to name a few.
The specialness of Mount Merapi and ethnobiological and philosophical foundations also support this local wisdom. Mount Merapi is special to the surrounding community because it is a source of life yet can also cause destruction.
He further said that the government, through Mount Merapi National Park (TNGM), supports local wisdom through several programs. Some of them are promotion, community fire awareness, community forestry partners, and partner funding.
TNGM allocates several forest areas specific to supporting local wisdom activities through the creation of religious, cultural, and historical zones. It also helps facilitate community activities initiated from local wisdom values that align with biodiversity conservation, namely Forum Peduli Lingkungan Pencinta Alam Lereng Merapi (FPL-PALEM) and community forests.
About the ethnobiology-based biodiversity conservation strategy, he said there is a strong interaction between the social system and the ecological system. The community’s perception of the sacredness of the mountain results in them taking as much as necessary from nature and expressing gratitude when their needs have been met from nature.
This gratitude is expressed by returning what has been taken to nature, for example, a rotational grazing system that helps plants to recover and planting tree seedlings in community forests. This behavior creates a sustainable biological environment, and the continued availability of natural resources will also support human welfare.
Fikri hopes that some incomplete parts of this research, such as the impact of local wisdom behavior on biodiversity conservation and the success rate of local wisdom in biodiversity conservation, can be further examined. The community is expected to understand the role of local wisdom that can lead to the preservation of nature, just like the philosophy of “memory haying Bawana,” which is to maintain harmonious relationships between God, nature, and humans, expresses.