24 Apr 2021
Indonesia is a country with high biodiversity in the world, both plants and animals. Regarding plants, the contribution of Indonesia’s biodiversity is very high, starting from the Dipterocarpaceae (238 species) which covers 34 percent of the world’s Dipterocarpaceae and 2,197 species of ferns (21 percent of the world’s ferns).
Also around 5,500 species of orchids (20.5 percent of the world’s orchids), 477 species of palms (20 percent of the world’s palms), 159 species of bamboo (13 percent of the world’s bamboo), and 723 species of lichen / lichen (8 percent of the world’s lichens). The diversity of Indonesian palms is even the highest in the world, where 53 percent of which are endemic to Indonesia.
But on the other hand, Indonesia has also lost a lot of plant biodiversity due to various reasons such as changes in land use, overuse, loss of habitat, presence of invading species, environmental pollution and climate change.
At this time the IUCN redlist noted that as many as 673 plant species in Indonesia were threatened by extinction, with the largest portion being Dipterocarpaceans as much as 33 percent, guava 12 percent, and pouch semar 7 percent.
Unfortunately, unlike animal conservation which has become a national issue, plant conservation is still far from being reported. In fact, after all, animal conservation is also closely related to the preservation of plants.
Several types of plants, in the process of pollination and distribution, are highly dependent on the presence of animals, such as birds and bats. On the other hand, many species of birds and bats depend on the presence of fruit or seeds produced by plants.
Biodiversity Park as the Center for the Conservation of Local Plants
Law Number 32 of 2009 concerning Environmental Protection and Management mandates the need for efforts to maintain biodiversity as a capital for sustainable national development.
One of the strategies that can be implemented is through the development of biodiversity parks outside the forest area. The Biodiversity Park Development Program is regulated in Regulation of the State Minister for the Environment No. 29 of 2009 concerning Guidelines for the Conservation of Biodiversity in the Regions and Regulation of the State Minister for the Environment No. 03 of 2012 concerning Biodiversity Parks.
With the decreasing quality of the environment, especially in areas that are not forest areas, it requires efforts to conserve biodiversity through the development of biodiversity parks in each region.
The presence of a biodiversity garden can be used to maintain local biodiversity which is increasingly rare, and has become an icon of a city. For example, the city of Jakarta which has an icon of salak condet fruit, it would be great if Jakarta had a natural garden, which one of its functions is to maintain the existence of salak condet.
Biological gardens can also be used to maintain the existence of plant species that were once very common, but for some reason, it is very difficult to find them nowadays.
For example, the lute tree, a tree with sour fruit in the past, was quite common in the gardens of the Betawi people in Jakarta. However, because the fruit is not very popular, many lute trees are then cut down to be used as furniture material.
Compared to other ex-situ conservation concepts such as botanical gardens, the development of a green park from a funding perspective is considered more feasible. Without diminishing the role of botanical gardens, the development of green parks in every city and region will have a more massive impact.
Say that as many as 416 districts and 98 cities in Indonesia have only built one biodiversity park each by conserving 15 different plant species, so there will be many plant species that can be preserved by the state.
Taman Kehati Supports Animal Conservation
The reduction in forest area and forest area in Indonesia is increasingly driving an increase in the rate of extinction of species in Indonesia. For example, currently 174 out of 1,794 bird species in Indonesia (Burung Indonesia, 2020) are threatened with extinction, one of the causes of which is habitat loss, be it forests, swamps, or other forms of ecosystem.
The development of a biodiversity park will certainly provide support in the form of habitat that is needed by animals such as birds. If as many as 525 districts and cities provide 5 hectares of biodiversity parks each, then there will be an area of 2,625 hectares of habitat for birds. It is not too broad, but also not a small size as an animal habitat.
The development of a biodiversity garden can be directed to support efforts to conserve these species by building mini-ecosystems that are in accordance with the original conditions of an area.
Although of course we cannot expect that specific birds living in the forest will be able to survive in the garden prudence. But at least there will be a corridor (stepping stone) for the birds to move from one place to another.
The presence of a biodiversity park in an area can also help efforts to conserve animal species that become the identity of an area. Although of course the animal species in question are not species that live in primary forest.
For example, the province of Central Java with its animal identity is the golden bird (Oriolus chinensis). This bird species is able to adapt to secondary forests and city parks. The presence of urban parks in Central Java province can also protect these animals in the wild.
It is not ideal if we talk about identity animals, but the animals in question are already difficult or we cannot find them again in the wild.
Cooperation of All Stakeholders
The development of a biodiversity park certainly requires a lot of resources, therefore it is necessary to encourage cooperation between the community, academia, government and private sector to make it happen.
Based on the experience possessed by the KEHATI Foundation in supporting the development of biodiversity gardens in several locations, the lack of cooperation from related parties has an effect on the sustainability of the management of the park.
Although in a bureaucratic manner, the development of the garden is directed by the regional government (Pemda), but in its implementation the local government has many constraints, both in terms of funding and human resources.
The development of a biodiversity park carried out by the Selumar Water Association in Belitung, is perhaps an example of how a biodiversity park and its surrounding areas are managed.
The Air Selumar Association, since at least 2012 has managed the Belitung park, which is currently part of a tourist destination in Belitung, namely Peramon Hill. With the cooperation of the local government of Belitung, the private sector and the KEHATI Foundation, the management of the garden is directed towards sustainable management.
Visitors who come to the Peramon Hill forest pay a levy, the funds are used for the sustainability of the facility maintenance. On the other hand, the private sector also supports funding in the form of CSR to complement existing facilities.
The local government supports the funding and bureaucracy associated with the existence of this biodiversity park. To support management, members of the Selumar Air Association also produce handicrafts that are sold to visitors.
Through this kind of cooperation, the management of the garden can be carried out in a sustainable manner and does not depend entirely on government funds. (Imanuddin Utoro, KEHATI Foundation Forestry Program Manager)
This article has been published on mongabay.co.id