Tag Archives: Mendolo

29Jan/24

Indonesian Bird Watchers Gathering : diversified conservation added value of Javan gibbon habitat

By Arif Setiawan

bird friendly commodities, Durian in Mendolo

Mendolo is one of the villages that harbour unprotected gibbon population and habitat in central java. The last two years we working with the  youth farmers association (PPM Mendolo) to enhance protection of wildlife and habitat in surrounding the village. Birds become more enthusiastic where they have great fans and crazy birders. This reason we encourage to promote bird watching and bird photography as one of the nature tourism attractions that corresponds to the habitat protection that will secure gibbon populations.

The PPM Mendolo in collaboration with Swaraowa  just finished organizing national gathering for Indonesia birdwatchers. The event was held on January 19-21 2024, with two main event i.e symposium on first day  attended about 90 participants and guest speakers who talk about illegal bird trade and conservation captive breeding on some critically endangered species of Java, then next two days the activities were conducted in Mendolo villages. All participants are stayed and enjoy birds in Mendolo village-forest.

In this event we promotes Mendolo as alternative nature special tourism interest for wildlife enthusiast and promoting durian as agro-forest commodities as well. Durian trees that cultivated since long time ago, has provide special habitat for the birds and other wildlife including all Javanese primates.  This kind of habitat that could be potentially to help farmers with commodities and protecting animals through nature observation as well.

The arrival of guests with the specific aim of seeing wild birds became a special motivation for the residents, because not many people knew about their village and many of the birds were initially caught and kept, but apparently there were people who were interested in enjoying them in the wild.

Combining wildlife and commodities as nature potency for the village asset could be solutions for protection of gibbons in this area, where people get economic benefits through their agro-forest farming that provide wildlife corridors among fragmented habitats. This approach will continue to be developed in this region considering the biodiversity that still exists as a representative of lowland forests in the central part of Java Island.

Read here,  swaraowa’s team report on the 11th Gathering of Indonesian Birdwatchers in Mendolo.

 

16Apr/23

The Ecosystem Services behind Mendolo’s Coffee

By Sidiq Harjanto, translated by T.T.Chan

The rufous piculet, perched on in Mendolo agro-forest coffee

Pekalongan Regency is one of the regions in Central Java Province known for coffee production. According to the Indonesian Plantation Statistics 2020-2022 data released by the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture’s Directorate General of Plantations, the output of robusta coffee from smallholders in Pekalongan was at 372 tonnes, involving a total of 1,650 farmers on 483 ha of land. That of arabica coffee, on the other hand, was at 100 tonnes from 857 farmers on 198 ha.

In terms of total volume, Pekalongan produces far less robusta beans than the neighbouring regencies of Temanggung (9,761 tonnes), Kudus (1,594 tonnes), and Banjarnegara (1,570 tonnes). This significant difference in figures is due in part to the area of land and number of farmers involved in growing coffee. However, Pekalongan performs quite well on productivity per hectare at 823 kg/ha, which is above the national average of 817 kg/ha. That said, these figures are still a far cry from Vietnam’s 2,300 kg/ha.

Mendolo is a village in Pekalongan where livelihoods largely depend on coffee produced through the agroforestry system. In order to enhance the value of coffee beans grown by local farmers, the Mendolo Young Farmers’ Association (PPM Mendolo) now grind these, which they market under the brand ‘Kopi Batir’. The Kopi Batir brand also offers roasting services to locals who want to enjoy coffee from their village’s plantations without having to do the roasting themselves.

Last year, this coffee business produced around 700 kgs of premium quality coffee, sold in the form of ground coffee or green beans. While this amount still pales in comparison to the volume of coffee beans from this village sold as cherries or sent out without sorting, the production capacity of this business continues to increase year by year.

In fact, Kopi Batir roasted more than one tonne of coffee beans in 2022. M. Ridholah is the man behind this remarkable initiative that has revived his fellow villagers’ interest in drinking their own coffee. Only equipped with a simple self-assembled roaster machine, he has helped to place Kopi Batir at the forefront of steering consumption trends away from factory coffee and towards locally grown coffee.

A Small Step in a Promising Direction

Creating the optimal coffee plantation requires knowledge of and experience in land preparation, fertilisation, pruning, pest control and a well-thought-out harvesting process. In addition, coffee growers need to understand the ways in which their crop interacts with the natural environment – how their productivity could be influenced by ecosystem services, for example.

On 18 March 2023, as part of our ‘Mendolo Coffee Meet’ event, SwaraOwa/Owa Coffee invited PPM Mendolo and representatives of coffee growers to work out how coffee cultivation in Mendolo could be done in a way that reflects greater ecological awareness. Our hope was to come up with a set of improved practices that would allow the natural environment to thrive and provide farmers with ecosystem services in order to boost their income.

a tailor foraging for food on a flowering coffee tree

Biodiversity is an integral part of agroforestry plantations and has the potential to be a positive influence on the crops grown there. Chain-Guadarrama et al., in a 2019 article ‘Ecosystem services by birds and bees to coffee in a changing climate: A review of coffee berry borer control and pollination‘, state that birds and bees are two types of fauna that play a key role in coffee cultivation. Many bird species prey on insects and are therefore indispensable as ecological pest-control agents. Remove these birds and the insect population could explode, resulting in direct losses for farmers.

To ensure that birds can fulfil their role in the ecosystem, they must first be protected and allowed to live freely in the wild. Next, birds also need suitable habitat. Agroforestry or intercropping could provide this as they ensure that a variety of vegetation layers and types are present, thereby increasing opportunities for birds to find food and places to nest.

beekeeping in the agro-forest coffee is perfect combination in Mendolo

wildlife photography, as a medium to increase appreciation of biodiversity in Mendolo Agro-forest

Bees, on the other hand, help to pollinate coffee plants. Robusta coffee requires cross pollination, which is done by the wind and insects. Arabica coffee differs in being able to self-pollinate, but insect-mediated pollination has been proven to increase the quality and quantity of the crop. Therefore, bees have the potential to boost Arabica coffee yields.

There are numerous species of bee worldwide, including dozens of types of honey bee, hundreds of stingless bees (klancèng), and thousands of solitary bees. Each type has its own distribution and occupies different habitats. Which species of bees are beneficial for coffee and what type of habitat they need are issues that still require a lot of research.

Fully leveraging various bee species as pollinating agents necessitates the protection of their habitat, avoiding the use of pesticides and integrating beekeeping into spaces used for agriculture. In Mendolo, stingless bee husbandry has been practised since 2017. Aside from producing honey that could generate more income for locals, beekeeping in Mendolo also allows farmers to reap the benefits of the ecosystem services provided by bees, which both increase agricultural productivity and improve the sustainability of the forest.

Although the benefits agriculture stands to gain from ecosystem services are undeniable, our focus group discussions have revealed that much hard work is still needed to convince farmers to adopt bird and bee-friendly practices. More research needs to be done on the role of birds in keeping agricultural pest populations under control, and how these ecological services can best be harnessed. Likewise with bee pollination services, the ideal way of integrating beekeeping with agroforestry still remains to be found.

PPM Mendolo will spearhead participatory research to explore the roles of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Mendolo agroforestry system. They will also continue spreading awareness about the ecological roles of birds and bees. Given the community’s reliance on agriculture, Mendolo needs to be encouraged to become a village that cares about biodiversity. For this to be achieved, Mendolo and villages like it need to first have comprehensive data on their biodiversity.

We sincerely applaud PPM Mendolo for their pioneering work in pushing for innovation in agroforestry and raising awareness of how important biodiversity is to the local community. At our ‘Mendolo Coffee Meet’ event, SwaraOwa presented a roasting machine with a capacity of 1 kg to Batir Coffee. It was our token of appreciation to them for their hard work in developing coffee delights in Mendolo, as well as to PPM Mendolo for their efforts to encourage conservation in the village, including of the Javan gibbon and Javan slow loris.

 

10Feb/23

The richness of Mendolo Village – Durians and biodiversity

By Sidiq Harjanto & Kurnia Ahmadin

Durian cultivars in Mendolo ( Foto Ikmal Biolaska)

We believe that a sustainable economy is key to safeguarding the forest habitat of the Javan gibbon. This is why SwaraOwa have made shade coffee (coffee that grows under the natural shade of forest trees), palm sugar and beekeeping ‘core businesses’ of ours. In this, our primary aim is to promote sustainable economic growth for the communities living around the forests inhabited by the Javan gibbon. If we manage to develop these businesses in line with forest conservation efforts, we will demonstrate that it is possible to improve the welfare of local communities without over-exploiting our forests.

In Mendolo Village, we are close partners with the Mendolo Young Farmers Association (PPM Mendolo), who are the driving force for nature conservation in their village. As the younger generation there mostly still practice farming, PPM Mendolo functions as an incubator for them to launch innovative projects at a local level.

Tasting the richness of Mendolo’s durians

Durian has long been a sought-after commodity in Mendolo Village. With its superior taste, Mendolo’s durians also form one of the main pillars of the local economy. However, because this village is quite hard to reach, its durians are not well known among lovers of this tropical fruit.

And so the PPM youth had the idea of transforming their village into an attraction where visitors can enjoy local durian directly at its source. Developing tourism will also boost Mendolo’s reputation as the home of quality durian.

On 15 January 2023, PPM Mendolo invited Biolaska (Students of Biology at UIN Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta, IDS (Indonesia Dragonfly Society), and SwaraOwa to research the potential of durians from Mendolo Village. We inventoried and did taste profiling on durians grown by local farmers. Our aim is to produce a catalogue of durian varieties in Mendolo that will most certainly be of use to durian enthusiasts seeking to explore the richness of these durians that are Mendolo’s very own.

From a sample of 24 local durian varieties, we identified different physical and taste characteristics. Fruit shape ranges from perfectly round, to ovoid, to wavy, all the way to pear-shaped. Husk colours include green, yellow and brown. The fruit itself also varies in colour, from white to yellowish white  yellow. In terms of fruit taste, the profiles include sweet, creamy, alcoholic, slightly bitter, and sticky rice. The thickness of the fruit flesh is another variable characteristic.

During our time there, everybody was given a chance to experience ngramban, an activity where food plants growing wild in the forest are collected and then cooked for dinner. That night, we served up no less than 18 dishes. This is a valuable tradition, as preparing food from locally sourced natural ingredients instils in the village community an appreciation for the various wild plants and animals in their surroundings.

The wildlife found in the forests nearby also offers the potential for ecotourism. Wildlife watching has in fact vastly gained in popularity in recent years. In this connection, PPM Mendolo have actively collected data on the avifauna in and around the village, and monitored primates such as the Javan gibbon, Javan langur and Javan slow loris.

Sustainable growth for Mendolo

Our projects in Mendolo were not solely conceptualised as an alternative livelihood for the community, but also as a catalyst for village development. Law No. 6/2014 on Villages has brought about a paradigm shift, with the focus moving away from growing villages to villages growing. This puts villagers in the driver’s seat where village development is concerned. They are irreplaceable with their intimate knowledge of local conditions and history, and are our greatest hope in realising a development trajectory in line with sustainable principles.

Each village is unique in its potential for development. Getting villagers, especially the younger generation, acquainted with their biodiversity and various types of produce, will help spread awareness of how humans can enjoy tangible benefits from working in harmony with nature.

As a simple example, durian plantations do not automatically yield abundant fruit. In order to produce a good crop, farmers need wild birds to provide pest control services, as well as bats to do pollination. If they are made aware of this, the community will naturally want to protect the ecosystem to consistently reap a good durian harvest.

Biodiversity is Indonesia’s greatest asset and certainly also its future, but we need to preserve and manage it properly. For this to work, we must take care of diversity at the species, genetic and ecosystem level. The diversity of durian varieties in Mendolo is an example of diversity management at the genetic level. This diversity can be transformed into capital to develop Indonesia if more people come to appreciate the value of having such a broad range of durian flavours.

16Nov/21

Caring for Our Natural Heritage: Mendolo Forest

a gibbon, photoghraped by Hudi member of Mendolo youth farmers group

Mendolo village is located in the Lebakbarang sub-district of Pekalongan Regency. The Mendolo forest surrounds Mendolo village, and is officially a Limited Production Forest managed by Perum Perhutani, KPH Pekalongan Timur. This site contains one of the 16 critical areas of gibbon habitat in Central Java identified by a 2012 study, and boasts a high level of habitat suitability according to research on the distribution and habitat of gibbons (Widyastuti et al 2020, Setiawan et al. al 2012). SwaraOwa’s long-term projects in this area are all aimed at conserving the Javan gibbons that live here.

According initiate survey, the amount of potential Javan gibbon habitat in this region totals approx 300 ha, (equivalent to 87 football fields) with a gibbon four to six groups in the agro-forest habitat, that we called Wana-Tani in javanese language. other javan endemic primates such as Javan langur ( Trachypithecus auratus), Javan Surili ( Presbytis comata), and Javan slow loris ( Nycticebus javanicus) also occupied this habitat.  Their range comprises locations with natural vegetation of forest and shade grown commodities such as kopi robusta, Durian,Petai, Jengkol, banana, kapulaga,  and many more. A scheme which aims both to improve the local economy and promote agroforestry is a gibbon conservation project centered on this village.

SwaraOwa first became involved in Mendolo village in 2015, when we were tasked with assisting the Pekalongan district government in surveying and inventorying the protected flora and fauna of the Mendolo forest, among other sites . Nowadays, we pay this village a visit almost every month. These visits are part of our efforts to reach out and communicate with village residents, so that we can find out which local commodities in particular can be prioritised for further development.

Mendolo village is also known for its durian production. In areas where agroforestry is practised, durian is an intensively cultivated crop that is grown among wild trees valued for their wood. In the harvest season, this village supplies the durian markets of Pekalongan and surrounds. Although there is currently no research on how durian productivity relates to bio-ecological factors, there are indications that the presence of pollinators plays a role, more specifically bats and  insects such as bees. Honey is one commodity  related to durian agroforestry, being harvested in abundance when the durian trees flower.

Drinking honey, is daily activities for Mendolo villagers

Almost all residents of this village, especially the men, collect honey from the forest. This tradition has been passed down through the generations. Aside from being used for personal consumption, forest honey also contributes to the local economy. We had previously done a preliminary study to find out what potential harvesting forest honey held for this village. This study motivated the Beekeeping team, led by SwaraOwa’s Sidiq Harjanto, to start seriously experimenting with stingless bee.

The Mendolo Young Farmers Association is the driving force for conservation in Mendolo, fostering a spirit of togetherness and inculcating pride in the Mendolo forest. In the early days, meetings in Mendolo village and training sessions on post-harvest handling at SwaraOwa Yogyakarta eventually gave rise to a series of continually evolving projects spearheaded by young people in Mendolo. The project to enhance post-harvest processes for coffee has succeeded in establishing “Kopi Batir”, a small exercise in entrepreneurship that markets Robusta coffee beans grown in Mendolo. The project operates under the slogan ‘nepungaké seduluran’, Javanese for ‘forging strong friendships’, reflecting how this coffee aims to bring people together.

Orange minivet

Projects to promote the conservation of forest areas are emerging at a slow but steady pace, initiated by residents concerned about nature. Birdwatching activities have been and are being developed in Mendolo. These aim to promote the idea that birds and other flora and fauna around the village are an important asset that must be preserved because they promise locals significant economic and ecological benefits.

Activities to strengthen the protection of forest areas but must continue to be nurtured, initiatives from local community  to care for nature. Primates and birds observation activities are being developed in Mendolo (the photos above are some of the species encountered during the observation) the aim is To increase the capacity of the younger generation, recognize the important liars’ lives around the village, birds and flora and fauna are also village assets that must be preserved, it is not possible that they can then be economically more sustainable.

Some of the products from activities in Mendolo hamlet can be obtained through Batir Coffee and Owa coffee. Although still on a small scale, coffee and forest cultivated by local residents can help motivate residents around the forest and support gibbon conservation activities and forest conservation in the Mendolo forest area and its surroundings.

This field reports, part of Coffee and Primate Conservation Project 2021, written by Arif Setiawan in bahasa, and translated by TT Chan,   supported by Fortwayne Children’s Zoo, Mandai Nature, and Ostrava Zoo.