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Certified Wood from Terong Village

October 23, 2015

The drought reached its peak at the end of September. In Terong village in Bantul regency, Central Java, the teak tree began leafless, the soil harden. However, the sources of water in these hills still produce clear water. In some areas, paddy is still green. Contrast with the surrounding deciduous trees. The paddy did not die because the field still got water from the surrounding water.

When I get around in the village, the water is still abundant in their wells. There are wells used only by the owner, some are distributed to houses of others villagers. The water was clear, was very cold. The situation in the Terong village is contrary to the neighboring villages in the district of Gunung Kidul, all is dry. “In the past before greening, a severe drought occurred in this village. But now, during the dry season, there are some paddy fields could be harvested,” said the village chief, Welasiman.

Lush trees in Terong village be one of the reasons why it is not drought. There are about 30 Belik (call for springs) spread over this 775 hectares village. These springs still flow though with smaller debits.

Welasiman said, the greening in Terong village has existed since the Orde Baru (New Order) era. “In 2006-2007 there also greening program, but has intensified since 2012,” he said.

Approximately 321 hectares of land in the village of eggplant into community forests. The majority, it planted with teak, sengon, and mahogany. In the courtyard houses, big trees also grow.

Farmers usually sell these types of wood for their life necessities. On the side of the road, there is a pile of logs ready to be sent out of the village.

Trees sustainability in Terong village increased after a group of people’s forest farmers (KTH) in the village “Jasema” (teak, sengon, mahogany) received certificates of Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK) since 2013. With this certification, forest farmers in Terong village recognized have and implement a system that could preserve the people’s forests. The wood processed into various products and can be exported to international markets.

The Indonesian government implemented SVLK policy from September 1, 2009 to tackle illegal logging practices, which caused many economic and environmental losses. Data from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) showed that from 2003 to 2014 Indonesia lost an estimated of 9 billion US dollar. Illegal logging also causes environmental damage such as increased of carbon emissions, flooding and threatened flora and fauna.

All businesses from upstream to downstream, export-oriented and used wood as its raw material, must have SVLK certificate. With this certificate, the state guarantees that the timber and all processed products derived from legal sources or sustainable management.

Without SVLK, all wood products from Indonesia will be difficult to enter the international market, such as the EU. They do not want the wood products derived from illegal timber as an effort to preserve the environment and global climate.

In Terong village, SVLK introduced by environmental NGO, Arupa (the Alliance of Volunteers to Save Nature) in 2010. Terong village also learns about sustainable management of people’s forest from the neighboring village, Semoyo village, Gunungkidul. “We train the farmers in order to manage forests perpetually and be familiar with global warming issue,” said Director of ARUPA, Dwi Nugroh.

To sustain the management of public forests in a sustainable manner, the people’s forest farmers facilitated by ARUPA to form Koperasi Tunda Tebang (cooperatives to delay logging) whose members are around 554 farmers. In 2014, the Indonesia Climate Change Trust Fund (ICCTF) helps provide initial capital up to 76 million rupiah.

“The farmers can borrow money by mortgaging the tree into cooperatives so that “Needy logging” can be suppressed,” said Nugroho.

He explained that the “needy logging” is a threat to the sustainability of people’s forests in Indonesia which covers approximately 1.2 million hectares. Needy logging is a practice of farmers who cut down the trees, including the young and not worthy, to be sold in order to meet their needs.

In his nice home, Chairman of KTH “Jasema”, Sugiyono said with SVLK certificate, his group could encourage farmers to conserve people’s forests by harvesting trees that are ready to harvest. In many corners of the village, there is also an inscription on a wooden board which invites the public to conserve the forest.

Meanwhile, Koperasi Tunda Tebang could reduce the rate of removal of trees, especially the young ones. “Members of the cooperative can borrow a maximum of 5 million rupiah with a guarantee of the trees,” he said.

Because it does not cut down, the trees have more time to absorb carbon. Besides the trees also have more time to grow to be larger so that the selling price becomes more expensive. People’s forest farmers became more profitable and to improve their welfare.

“If the tree is young and must be cut down, it’s cheap,” said Sugiyono.

Furthermore, the borrower repays the loan each month. If they cannot pay, then the pledged trees would belong to the cooperative.

Most farmers borrow funds for venture capital. Sugiono also borrowed funds to run a shop. Many residents buy at his shop. However, there is also a loan fund for the education of their children, such as Wagiran and Isman Prayoto. They each borrowed 4 million rupiah.

“Actually there are many members who want to borrow, but we cannot able to serve all because of limited capital. In each meeting, all installments always finished borrowed by members who have never borrowed,” he said.

Sugiyono wished there are those who can provide additional capital for the cooperative “Jasema” which can help overcome the financial difficulties of the farmers and protecting the environment because forests can absorb carbon, the cause of global warming. “The trees in the yard can absorb carbon as much as 67 tons while in fields can absorb 37 tons,” he said.

Unfortunately, despite having SVLK, there is not yet demand for certified wood from Terong village. The local government concern is still minimal for this forest farmer groups.

“There is no significant difference once we get SVLK. The SVLK furniture industry with never bought our wood,” said Sugiono.

Deputy Director of Information Timber Legality Verification Information (IVLK), Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Mariana Lubis said the seriousness of the local government is so obstacles in implementing SVLK.

During the period of regional autonomy, the central government cannot suppress the local government in making policy priority. However, he said the local government should identify the vertices of the timber industry that already had SVLK. Furthermore, linking the government so that transaction works.

“But this is a process. If in the future demand of the world market for legal timber products increased, then automatically the people’s demand for wood from certified forests is definitely increasing,” he said.

When I left Terong village in the afternoon, some people still move logs onto trucks. The village will be more prosperous if the local government connect with the timber industry in the downstream that export oriented. Bambang Muryanto


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