Yogyakarta – The potential of Karst area in Indonesia which reaches 140 thousands kilometers square has not been utilized well by stakeholders. The impact is that this area is often identical with barren, arid and poor area although the karst area can actually become a tourism destination with panoramic landscape and the beauty of the cave, also as as source of water and mining and carbon.
The second largest political faction in the council with 18 seats, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), has yet to announce its own candidate and has indicated that it would join forces with other parties in the poll.
The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which controls 11 seats in the City Council, has insisted it would field its own candidate but has yet to make this public.
“We have surveyed all names circulating in the public recently. We will announce the name later this month or next,” Sayogo Hendro, the PDI-P Jakarta chapter chairman, said Monday.
Sayogo said the popular appeal of candidates would be the main qualification.
The Golkar Party has reportedly made an early start by announcing three names competing for the party nomination.
He added that karst is not only an area of natural park preservation, but also possible to be made the cultivation of rainfed ricefield. Other potential plants to develop are gogo rice, cassava, annona, soursop, cashew, and teak. “Karst area can be developed for ecosystem and improvement of local community welfare,” he said.
However, he regretted that currently karst damage rate is faster due to traditional and modern mining activities. Uncontrollable mining rate degrades karst ecosystem. He gave an example that currently there are 20 karst areas disappearing within 100 years in Gunung Kidul.
To overcome the problem, Suratman said that UGM Faculty of Geography will develop geopark to manage karst area as tourism destination. It is done to anticipate karst damage rate due to massive mining process. According to Suratman, the damage in karst area will be more difficult to rehabilitate than other areas.
Areas that can be developed include Gunung Sewu in Gunung Kidul, Karang Bolong in Kebumen, and caves in Pacitan, East Java. “The geopark can be used as education tool and ecosystem preservation,” he said.
UGM karst researcher, Dr. Eko Purnomo, delivered that karst management concept should be followed by developing local community’s economic potential to help them get a job. Karst area up to now is identical with poor people as in Gunung Kidul, Wonogiri and Pacitan. Meanwhile, foreign countries such as Slovenia and Montenegro succeeded to develop karst area as a national income source from tourism.
Eko also said that the damage rate in Indonesia currently is around 5% from the total existing area. However, development policy that takes side with karst area management needs to be given attention by the government to anticipate the damage rate.
Vice Rector of Alumni and Business Development UGM, Prof. Ir. Atyanto Dharoko, M.Phil., Ph.D., in his opening speech said that karst is unique and an interesting phenomenon to be explored by scientists in enriching knowledge. According to Atyanto, karst area can give benefit and prosperity to community. “UGM very supports cooperation expansion with all institutions for development of karst knowledge that is related to many aspects. Faculty of Geography may become an active institution that actively involves in this program,” he said.