Community Aspects of Forest Ecosystems in the Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Indonesia

Nobukazu Nakagoshi, Heri Suheri, and Rizki Amelgia

Abstract Indonesia’s forest has high biodiversity in flora and fauna. The govern­ment has tried to maintain this biodiversity through managing the forest in accor­dance with the existing functions and conditions. Population is increasing, which affects demands for land and wood consumption. Statistics of the Ministry of Forestry (2010) recorded several disturbances of forest areas. The disturbances include land occupation by the community, which had reached 52,972 ha of forest ecosystems. This research has the main objectives to assess the level of dependency on forest products and to identify which factors are affecting the level of depen­dency on forest products in the transition zone of Gunung Gede Pangrango UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Detailed demographic and economic household information was collected using the stratified random sampling method from 210 respondents in six villages. Statistics reveal that 361,002 people live around the area (Mulcahy and Mc Carthy, 2010). The statistical results show that about 58 % of the population respondents depend on forest products for about 0-20 % of their total monthly income and only 10 % of the respondents highly depend on forest products (more than 80 % of total monthly income). In average, the commu­nity level of dependency on forest products was 28 % of their total income. From nine independent variables, only five variables such as gender, household size, policy, off-forest income, and elevation, are mainly responsible for determining the level of dependency. It is statistically proven that off-forest income and elevation of the household have a strong effect related to household forest dependency;

N. Nakagoshi (*) • H. Suheri

Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation, Hiroshima University,

1-5-1 Kagamiyama, Higashi-Hiroshima 739-8529, Japan e-mail: nobu@hiroshima-u. ac. jp

R. Amelgia

Directorate General of Forest Utilization, Ministry of Forestry, Manggala Wanabakti Building, 7th Block, 5th Floor, Jalan Jendral Gatot Subroto, Jakarta 10270, Indonesia

N. Nakagoshi and J. A. Mabuhay (eds.), Designing Low Carbon Societies in Landscapes, Ecological Research Monographs, DOI 10.1007/978-4-431-54819-5_16, © Springer Japan 2014

gender and policy are significant at 5 % level and household size at 10 % level. Simply, the household with low off-forest income, large number of family members, and located in a remote area is more dependent on forest products compared to other households.

Keywords Biodiversity • Biosphere reserve • Forest ecosystem • Forest product • Indonesia • National park

16.1 Introduction

Indonesia’s tropical forests are the third largest forests in the world. The forests play important roles to our environment, economy, and society. Indonesia’s forest has high biodiversity in flora and fauna with about 12 % of the world’s mammals, 16 % of its reptiles and amphibians, and 17 % of all bird species (Ministry of Forestry 2010).

The forest serves ecological functions such as habitat, carbon sink, carbon source, and also richness of biodiversity (Azizia and Sulistyawati 2009). The forest has crucial roles in the economic and social expansion of humankind. These habitats not only provide an essential source of food, fuel, and materials for housing but also perform a vital part in protecting and maintaining the stability of our natural environment (Riswan and Hartanti 1995).

Forest management in Indonesia is divided into four categories: (1) production forest, intended for selective logging as part of the permanent forest estate; (2) con­version forest, destined to be clear felled for agriculture, settlements, or non-forestry uses; (3) protection forest, mainly on high land or steep slopes, is to be retained for watershed protection; and (4) protected forest, which includes national parks and nature reserves where forest exploitation is forbidden (Ministry of Forestry 2006, 2008, 2010).

The national park is a protected area with large natural areas to protect large- scale ecological processes, along with the complement of species and ecosystem characteristic of the area, which provides a foundation for environmentally and culturally compatible spiritual, scientific, educational, and recreational opportuni­ties. The primary objective of this area is to protect natural biodiversity together with its underlying ecological structure, support environmental processes, and furthermore promote education and recreation (IUCN 2008).

Additionally, Indonesia is the center of plant diversity for several genera and is one of the world centers of species diversity of hard corals and many groups of reef-associated flora and fauna. Hence, forest management needs to be professional and well planned and can be used optimally, outside the ability of the forest to produce sustainable benefits at the local, national, regional, and international levels. The government has tried to maintain biodiversity through managing the forest in accordance with the existing functions and conditions (Nakagoshi and Amelgia 2010).

The forest is a multifunctional natural resource in support of human life, not only as a place for the conservation of biodiversity and maintenance of ecosystem functions, but also to produce goods and services for the community (Yohanes 2010). Many studies have determined that forest resources are destroyed by overexploitation by concessionaires (private company or big estate plantations), squatters, shifting cultivators, a burgeoning population, and forest fires. The population is also increas­ing, and it affects demands of land for development and wood consumption.

Until 2010, Indonesia’s Bureau of Statistic Center identified that the total population was around 237 million, that nearly 48.8 million are living in and around forest areas, and that 10.2 million are in poor economic conditions. Around 6 million people are directly dependent on forest products (wood and non-wood) and 3.4 million others are working in the forest industry. In 2009, the Ministry of Forestry recorded several disturbances of forest area. These disturbances include land occupation by the community, which has reached 52,972 ha of forest. The disturbance is caused by several factors, such as low economic income and few opportunities to obtain an occupation of good quality. This situation also occurs in Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park (GGPNP), one of the five oldest national parks in Indonesia (GGPNP 2009) and a core zone of Cibodas Biosphere Reserve.

In the present day, the park is under significant pressure caused by several threats, not only from the impact of development but also from the local community who exist in the surroundings of park and on the forest boundary (Indra Exploitasia 2010). One adjunct of the community aspect is forest dependency: people are still collecting several forest products to support their daily basic income, which is expected to weaken the existence of park ecosystems. Hence, it is of concern to identify the affecting factors.

The task of this study is to contribute a better understanding of local community current conditions related to their needs for forest products. More specifically, the objectives of this study are (1) to identify forest products utilization in the local community surrounding the GGPNP, (2) to assess the level of forest products depen­dency, and (3) to identify factors that affect the forest product dependency level. The level of dependency is evaluated from the proportion of forest income to total income.

Identification of the local community who live surrounding the GGPNP will help the government to develop strategies for collaboration with the local community to minimize disturbance of the forests.