Written by: Yohanes Prahara, Content Creator and Media Liaison BNF Indonesia
It was a hot morning when we arrived at the Kahayan Watershed and Protected Forest Management Center (BPDASHL) Permanent Nursery in Tumbang Nusa Village, Jabiren Raya District, Pulang Pisau Regency, Central Kalimantan. Shady trees with the song of wild birds greeted the participants of the Peat Swamp Forest Plant Nursery Management Techniques training session, at the end of March 2021.
There were 20 participants including members of the Sabaru and Kereng Bangkirai Community Nurseries (CN) and staff from the Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF) Indonesia. This activity was carried out to increase the capacity of CN members so they can effectively practice seedling nursery techniques which will later be put to use during planting activities in the Sebangau National Park forest area.
Two mothers from the CN Sabaru group were enthusiastic to participate in the training. Shyntia Dewi and Rosna Ampung are two housewives who participated in reforestation activities in areas of Sebangau National Park burnt by forest fires in 2015 and 2019.
Both commented that they were very happy to participate in the training so they could increase their knowledge about how to select and maintain local plant seeds that would later be planted in the forest.
“Apart from that, this program also adds to my income as a housewife,” said Rosna, a mother of four children.
Rosna said, since her husband died in 2011, she has relied on her husband’s pension money and has had to work very hard to support her four children. Since becoming a member of CN Sabaru, Rosna’s family has been helped by the additional income from the project.
“Being a CN member has improved my financial situation enough to support my family.Besides that, I am also taking part in protecting and preserving the forest that is the legacy of my ancestors, so that my children and grandchildren can feel the benefits in the future,” added Rosna, a former Islamic Junior High School teacher.
BNF Nursery Officer Koesmyadi explained, Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF) Indonesia together with local communities, continues to carry out the process of restoring the ecosystem by means of intensive planting. In the permanent BPDASHL Kahayan nursery, local plant seeds are well maintained, and we are working together to increase the number of seedlings to be planted.
“It is hoped that all CN members who participate in this training event can learn how to produce optimal seeds for reforestation,” explained Koesmyadi.
Koesmyadi added, for this year’s planting program, the BPDASHL Kahayan permanent nursery will help to produce 12,500 local plant seeds to meet reforestation needs, with assistance from BNF and its partners.
In addition to conducting training to increase the capacity of CN members, BNF has also established new CNs to accelerate and scale-up the number of seedlings grown for the One Million Trees program over the next five years, as well as maximizing the community empowerment.
“We just established a new CN in Sabaru, with mostly women as members. Hopefully, aside from doing reforestation, it can also help the economy of the local community, most of whom are housewives,” he added.
Koes also explained that in April, BNF built a new seedling nursery in the Ruslan Canal, Natural Laboratory for the Study of Peat Swamp Forest, in the Sebangau National Park. Then, in the same month the CN team also monitored the seedlings that were planted in 2020 to assess success rates.
“So apart from functioning for reforestation purposes, CN also provide benefits to those involved by means of permaculture. At the end of April CN members harvested fish from the aquaculture pond as a result of their own dedicated efforts to learn this new fishing technique. The point is that the community will be prosperous and the forest will be sustained,” he emphasised.