Focus on preserving fresh water sources in forest concessions through soil and water conservation
Watersheds are important source of fresh water. Given that they are essential to the survival of life of humans, animals and plants, they must be preserved.
In mid-January 2019, the Indonesian Forest Management Association (APHI) and FSC Indonesia held a joint event addressing the conservation of watersheds in production forest areas, aiming to build cooperation among the parties involved in maintaining inland waters in forest concessions, especially certified forests like those managed by FSC.
The seminar was opened with a keynote speech by the Director General of Control of Watersheds and Protection Forests, I.B. Putera Parthama. He emphasised that, “Businesses, especially land-based business in the forestry sector, must prioritise environmental management and synergise inland water management, and integrate this with sustainable forest management – however we must careful not to create unnecessary burden to businesses.”
In another speech, the Executive Director of the Indonesian Forest Entrepreneurs Association, Purwadi Soeprihanto, talked about how bio-prosperity is becoming increasingly important, particularly in terms of the management of water resources in forest areas. He said that the management of forest resources should not be based only on wood value but also on the value of ecosystems. For this reason, it is necessary that businesses explore opportunities to support governments in their efforts to improve soil and water conservation when managing inland waters within concessions.
The seminar itself was conducted in a panel discussion format. Moderated by Silver Hutabarat, the speakers were: Yoga Prayoga from the Directorate of Production Forest Business; Sugianto Soewardi representing APHI; Hartono Prabowo, the Country Manager of FSC Indonesia,; and Sakti Hadengganan, the Directorate General of Water Control and Protected Forests.
During the discussion, Hartono Prabowo explained how FSC helps manage forests sustainably, working to make forests environmentally friendly, socially beneficial and economically sustainable. He spoke about the certification, accreditation and labelling systems that FSC has developed to help people choose products from responsibly-managed forests; then outlined FSC’s ten principles of sustainability, five of which are directly related to water resources – concern for indigenous peoples, forest benefits, environmental impacts, high conservation value and plantation management.
Hartono also underlined the importance of cross-sector cooperation and integration and how the challenge is to balance the value of wood, non-timber and environmental services.
Yoga Prayoga then went on to explain how “We need to inspire all parties to play an active role in preserving water resources – through public-private partnerships, environmental services, or other incentives based on agreements. This will accelerate the pace of environmental improvement in order to achieve sustainable water resource management, especially in forest concession areas.”
Sakti Hadengganan concluded that, “Land and water conservation must be implemented by land-based business actors such as forest concessions. As for strengthening and accelerating the recovery of watersheds, especially in terms of controlling damage to inland waters, it seems necessary to formulate both mandatory and voluntary criteria and indicators as requirements for SFM certification.”
This first-of-its-kind event brought together important stakeholders including government officials in a fruitful discussion on a vital issue. FSC hopes that future meetings will help create action and sorely-needed outcomes in these precious inland watersheds in the near future.