Siak Sri Indrapura, 12 October 2019 - Siak Regency has been successful in minimizing hotspots of forest and land fires (karhutla) in 2019. Siak has even become one of regions with the lowest fire hotspots in Riau Province. Siak's success cannot be separated from the joint efforts of the multi-parties in working together to prevent forest and land fires.
A clear evidence of forest and land fire prevention efforts in Siak District can be seen from the village level to the national park area. In the Danau Zamrud (Emerald Lake) National Park area, which was inaugurated in 2016, safeguards and supervisions are carried out by a number of Conservation and Natural Resources (BKSDA) officers and involve a task force from the Joint Operations Agency (BOB) of PT. Siak Pusako. PT. Siak Pusako is a petroleum exploration company owned by the Siak Regional Government and Pertamina with an area adjacent to the TNZ area.
"We participate in conducting surveillance, to preserve nature, especially in this Danau Zamrud. Our exploration is done well and according to the rules. We monitor water and air every six months so we can continue to monitor the sustainability of the area," said Afrizal from the BOB representative. While BKSDA conducts routine monitoring of activities in the region." A visit to this place must ask for permission from BKSDA. Later, BKSDA will recommend whether the visit is permitted or not,” explained Reffles Sitinjak, Head of the BKSDA Resort.
In the future, the Danau Zamrud area which is still natural will be used as an ecological tourism area to help preventive efforts. "This area has a great potential, in the forest and peatlands, a variety of flora and fauna can be found, various species of birds, rare fish, also as the habitat of Sumatran Tigers and crocodiles. The environment is still natural and very well preserved, and the location of the Lake that we will see, part of it we will develop it in the future as an ecological tourism area," said Budhi S Yuwono, Assistant I Regional Secretary of Siak District.
In addition to monitoring the area inside the Danau Zamrud National Park, the peat area around the national park is also used as a demonstration plot or educational area as an effort to prevent forest and land fires. Various plants with economic value, such as pineapple, watermelon, and corn are being cultivated on these peatlands. The trial is expected to provide a choice of commodities for communities to plant on peatlands. "On this land we are conducting an alternative development of community-based sustainable peatlands using the paludiculture approach. We are looking for short-term and long-term economic value commodities that are planted without having to drain peatlands,” explained Executive Director of the Elang Association, Janes Sinaga.
In another area of ??Siak District, the people of the Bungaraya sub-district have succeeded in eliminating the forest and land fire disaster this year. The combination of government assistances, community organizations, and increased public awareness of environmental preservation is the key to success. With 80% of the population as palm oil farmers, the community in Temusai Village, Bungaraya sub-district, even took the initiative to donate 1.5 hectares of land to be used as forest, as explained by Bungaraya Sub-District Head, Hendy Derhavin.
In addition to donating land, the community also begins to cultivate other commodities, such as lime, lemon, and chili. The community also produces handicrafts by processing waste and other materials from the surrounding environment, such as palm oil sticks. "With the plaited plates made from palm sticks, the women in Temusai Village get additional income," said Temusai Village Chief Markuat.
Still in Bungaraya Subdistrict, the people of Suak Merambai Village have been developing ecotourism called Taman Berembang (Berembang Park) for several years. With the potential of mangrove forests on the edge of the Siak River, the Village of Suak Merambai processes the beautiful scenic area into funny and interesting photo spots. Boards with funny words, such as "Save the nation's children from the danger of lack of picnic", and the word "Singles go straight" that leads to the lake, decorates the Park. "We decorate Taman Berembang to have as much youthful air as possible, so that young people will visit and popularize it on social media," explained the Pokdarwis of Taman Berembang, Herwan Suwandi.
The beautiful scenery at Taman Berembang is also more complete with the presence of a unique tea from Telang flowers. The blue tea with a refreshing taste is the product of Devi Pratiwi from the Siak Berkebun community. Devi hopes that with the Telang flower tea innovation, the people of Desa Suak Merambai will be more protective towards the natural surroundings as a source of income.
The cooperative efforts to prevent forest and land fires in the Danau Zamrud District National Park and Bungaraya district were clearly demonstrated to participants during the 2019 Sustainable District Festival field visit. The field visit which took place on Saturday, October 12, 2019, was attended by dozens of people from various backgrounds. Youth, community organizations, to other district government members of the Sustainable District Gathering Circle were participating. The field visit is expected to inspire the parties to better understand the ways and efforts to prevent forest and land fires for the welfare of the community accompanied by environmental protection.
SUSTAINABLE DISTRICT FESTIVAL 2019
The 2019 Sustainable District Festival takes place from October 10-13, 2019 in Siak Regency, Riau Province. The festival is filled with various events that support the realization of green development, such as Sustainable Talk, youth workshops, and field trips to the Danau Zamrud National Park. This festival is the second annual festival held by LTKL district members. The first festival was held in Musi Banyuasin Regency. The holding of the festival is the result of cooperation between the district government, community organizations, and youth communities of LTKL district members.