The Jakarta Post
The administration of East Manggarai in East Nusa Tenggara is stepping up the planting of bamboo and mangroves to prevent erosion in river basins and coastal areas across the regency, which has reached a critical point.
Working together with nature conservation group the Flores Bamboo Foundation, the regency administration has increased efforts to plant bamboo in several large river basin areas, such as Waebobo and Waelaku, and cultivate mangroves along coastal areas in southern and northern East Manggarai.
Rokus Jumpa, secretary of the Environmental Management Agency (BPLHD) in the regency, said the administration had last year planted 830 young bamboo trees in the Waemokel river basin area in Rana Mbata village, Kota Komba district.
He said various environmental issues in East Manggarai, including erosion in river basins and coastal areas, were continuing to worsen.
“Thus, we are also stepping up mangrove planting in coastal areas along the Flores Sea and in the Sawu Sea National Park. We are cooperating with the local forestry agency to move forward mangrove planting efforts in coastal areas, which are facing erosion,” Jumpa told thejakartapost.com in a recent interview.
He further explained that planting trees in river basin areas, coastal areas and on critical land owned by local people in nine districts across East Manggarai were part of the East Manggarai BPLHD's nature conservation programs this year.
“Based on our temporary data, there are 20 river basin areas across East Manggarai. We are still updating the data. We are also still in the process of collecting data on environmental issues and business activities with high potential of environment pollution, such as garages and hotels,” said Jumpa.
Flores Bamboo Foundation staff member Jefrianto said the foundation had planted around 1,000 young bamboo trees in the Waelaku river basin area in 2016, after a similar number were planted in the Waebobo river basin area last year.
“Our foundation has coordinated with the East Manggarai administration to jointly encourage bamboo planting in river basin areas. Bamboo planting is one of main priorities of the Environment and Forestry Ministry,” he told thejakartapost.com.
Jefrianto said Flores was widely known as the “Bamboo Island” because of the prevalence of the trees, both wild and cultivated. Denizens of Flores used to use bamboo as a building material before they knew about stone and wood, he added.
“The government should continue to encourage local people to plant bamboo. Currently, they use bamboo but fail to replant it," he said.
An environmental activist from Mbengan village, Norbertus Ndolu, told thejakartapost.com that he had routinely and independently planted bamboo in a river basin area in his village. The activist also claimed he had planted thousands of eaglewood trees, which produce prime timber known locally as "gaharu".
“[...] I’m ready to work with local people in Mbengan village to plan bamboo trees. I hope the government will support us by providing young bamboo trees,” said Ndolu. (ebf)
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