Water pollution has become a serious issue in Indonesia and Margowitan Model Forest has not been spared. Pollutants come from households, industries, and other human activities, resulting in unclean water. This is causing human health issues and serious environmental damage, affecting the communities living in the area, who are dependent on waterways for their livelihoods. To help address this issue, stakeholders in Ngawi District have established the Srambang Forest Recreation Park and an accompanying educational program.
Located in the uplands of Margowitan Model Forest where the water flows from the Srambang natural waterfall, the 4 hectare Forest Recreation Park officially opened in December 2017. The restoration of this waterfall is particularly important for the three communities living in Jogorogo area who rely on this water source for irrigating crops, fishing and other daily household needs. The Srambang Forest Recreation Park was developed through collaboration among the communities of Ngawi Municipality, Lawu Forest District (a state-owned company), Giri Makmur (the Village Community Body), and Hargo Dumilah, a private sector partner. The goal is to demonstrate how to protect and restore waterways through sustainable forest management while improving livelihoods.
4 Pillars of Awareness
There are four key elements to the educational program on water protection which is aimed at local communities as they tour the site: cleanliness, use of local species, protection of the catchment area and awareness-raising.
1. Cleanliness. Stakeholders understood that it would be important to keep the area clean; visitors are strongly encouraged to properly use the disposal bins available in the park, and to separate waste into organic and inorganic matter. While recyclable materials are collected, the organic waste is used to produce fertilizer.
2. Use of local species. Encouraged by Lawu Forest District and the local communities, native tree and flower species are used for greening the park and to demonstrate that forests are rich in natural resources. Species such as kemiri (Aleurites mollucana) and some local bamboo are used, while flowers are first propagated in a nursery and then planted on the forest floor.
3. Protection of the catchment area. Through monitoring, reforesting open areas and providing sound advice, Lawu Forest district officers, local communities and other stakeholders are ensuring the catchment area is kept in a healthy, sustainable condition. Forest resources are also managed to protect them from disturbances such as forest fires, illegal logging, and landslides.
4. Awareness-raising. Messages encouraging visitors to protect forest resources and inviting them to apply the best practices learned during their visit to the park to their own communities are spread through sign posts along the site pathways.
In a short period of time the park has become known, not only by communities surrounding the municipality, but also by communities from across Java and other islands. Despite its small size, the park is home to a healthy forest, produces clean water during dry and rainy seasons, provides income to local people (through direct employment with the park administration or selling of food and souvenirs to visitors on site), and promotes community participation in forest management.