Village Saves World From Climate Change

Jan 18th, 2015 | By | Category: Carbon, Green House Gas Emissions, Mitigation, News
Having declared their region climate-caring in November 2014, farmers in Terong village, Bantul regency, Yogyakarta, have backed up their words with actions by not cutting down trees in the area before time.

The postponement of the logging has been enacted in the hope that the trees will absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), thus mitigating the effects of global warming.

“This is a sign of our awareness, a form of observance to participate in the saving of the world from the impacts of global warming,” village head Welasiman told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) states that CO2 is the dominant cause of climate change.

Terong village, which covers an area of 755 hectares on Bukit Patuk hill, which borders Gunungkidul regency, Yogyakarta, is a very green place. Large trees, such as teakwood, mahogany and sengon cover villagers’ yards.

Thanks to the presence of big trees, water resources that had disappeared from the subdistrict have returned.

People became more eager to plant trees since 2010, when NGO Arupa (the Alliance of Volunteers to Save Nature) came to the subdistrict, bringing news to residents of the success in a neighboring subdistrict, Semoyo, of a program to save the environment through carbon absorption.

Arupa director Dwi Nugroho said his organization had helped Terong forest farmers establish a farmers’ group, Jasema, in 2012, with 554 members and a combined space of 321 hectares.

Arupa trained the farmers to manage the forest sustainably, understand global warming and climate change and calculate carbon absorption. The farmers’ group was later granted a timber-legality verification system (SVLK).

According to research conducted jointly by Arupa and the farmers between 2011 and 2014, every hectare of trees in domestic yards in the subdistrict could absorb 14 tons of carbon annually. The trees in the fields, meanwhile, could absorb 10.87 tons of carbon per hectare per year.

Dwi said the main cause of deforestation in the area was the early logging of trees because of high demand, with subsequently low prices for the timber produced.

To deal with this, Arupa, with support from the Indonesia Climate Change Trust Fund (ICCTF), established Koperasi Tunda Tebang (Cooperative to Delay Logging) Jasema.

The cooperative offers farmers loans with trees as collateral, with the proviso that the trees must not be logged until they reach the ideal time.

“With the cooperative, the farmers have access to funds but their trees continue to grow and absorb carbon,” Dwi said.

In 2014, Arupa and the ICCTF planted 4,725 teakwood trees, 3,780 of which are expected to survive for the next 20 years and could absorb a total of 493,960 tons of carbon or some 24,698 tons annually.

Jasema farmers’ group chairman Sugiyono said early logging caused financial losses to farmers. Providing an example, he said that a sonokeling tree of less than a meter diameter was sold for Rp 100,000 (US$8) to Rp 300,000, whereas given time to grow, it could fetch millions of rupiah.

Sugiyono explained that farmers could take out loans of up to Rp 5 million from the cooperative. He himself had borrowed Rp 4 million for his wife’s business with his 24 teakwood and mahogany trees as collateral.

“I have to pay Rp 440,000 a month in installments for 10 months,” said Sugiyono, adding that since its establishment in November 2014, the cooperative had disbursed a total of Rp 66 million to its 30 members.

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