Forestry Minister, Zulkifli Hasan, said that the government opened opportunities for local communities to manage the conserved areas in protected forests to reduce damage levels of the forests and improve prosperity of the surrounding community.
“The goal of conservation is not only the biodiversity, but also people’s prosperity,” he said on Friday (19/10) in the Faculty of Forestry UGM.
In the National Seminar titled Restructuring the Direction of Conservation for Biodiversity and Ecosystem, Zulkifli said that Law No 5 Year 1990 regulates the management of conserved areas is fully handled by the state, while the Draft Biodiversity Law opens up opportunities for private parties, including communities, to manage it.
According to Zulkifli, community support became important in the effort to conserve biodiversity. The Ministry has, therefore, developed a policy to empower people through the construction of supporting region. Surrounding communities are given a chance to breed flora and fauna, becoming guides and participating in research, developing local craft and knowledge. Through Ministerial Law No P.48/Menhut-II/2010, the government gave the legal access for the surrounding communities to run tourism business in the area. “As such, the people can enhance entrepreneurship whilst taking care of conservation aspects which can add to their economies. People become prosperous without sacrificing the forests,” he said.
Currently, there are at least 6,200 villages around Indonesian conservation forests. Opening access to the people would help reduce acts that can damage the forests. He pointed out an example that the damage in the National Park of Kerinci Mountain involved up to 12,000 people. “If all the people are involved, our forests will be swept over, and we cannot arrest them. Yes, it’s not their fault,” he explained.
So, the government gave them access to manage the forest to have additional income. “As such, a sense of belonging will arise, thus securing the forests as their own property,” he described.
Prof. Djoko Marsono, professor in the Faculty of Forestry of UGM said that currently forest management is still anthropocentric, ignoring the role of life supporting system. This shows in the definition of production forests in Law No. 41 Year 1999, RKYN, and RKTP, and construction design of HTI. Assessment of forest areas is low as it is only based on product and service rather than economic valuation of all aspects of human life. “Therefore, forest degradation is increasing,” he explained.
Djoko Marsono also highlighted the Draft Biodiversity Law. In his opinion, the Draft Law ignores the ecosystem and the role of conserved areas as protection of life supporting system.