Rewarding work of restoring forest in Indonesia

Aventinus Sadip is the founder of a plant nursery and a farmer's group restoring forest around the Mbeliling Important Bird Area (IBA), Flores, Indonesia

Aventinus Sadip, named by Burung Indonesia as one of its Nature's Heroes in 2017, is a leader of conservation among his community. For more than ten years he has worked with BirdLife's Indonesian Partner to promote the conservation message to farmers and other citizens in and around the Mbeliling IBA on the island of Flores.

The IBA is home to seriously threatened endemic bird species such as Wallace's Hanging-parrot, the Flores Monarch and the Flores Crow, and many other restricted range species. He has helped develop sustainable farming and forestry practices which Burung Indonesia is now using to motivate other communities and promote local government involvement in conservation.

Published by Simon Mustoe

Aventinus Sadip is also actively involved in site management, and has successfully returned grassland and savanna to forest on the 5 ha area he looks after, using a mixture of local and non-native trees. The native trees, largely grown from seed or seedlings taking from Mbeliling forest, have extended the habitat available to the restricted-range species in the IBA. The non-native trees provided an accessible source of timber which helps reduce pressures on the native forest.

Through his success, the people around him are motivated to learn and to be involved in conservation activities

The trees Sadip has planted are a source of sustainable livelihood for his family. When they are cut to be sold, others are planted to replace them.

“Through his success, the people around him are motivated to learn and to be involved in conservation activities”, says Tiburtius Hani, team leader of Burung Indonesia's Mbeliling Programme. “The publication of his work in the media has also influenced government policy at the local level. In the long term, it is possible that his activities will result in improvements in ecosystem services, such as new sources of water in the planted area.”

In 2007, Sadip organised a group of local farmers engaged in conservation activities including propagating tree seedlings and growing trees in their own gardens. Through this group, known as MAMA, he shares knowledge and expertise with neighbouring communities. “His idea is that people should be able to conserve the nature around them independently”, says Tiburtius Hani. “With our help, his ideas could spread to all the communities of West Manggarai.” West Manggarai is one of the eight regencies that make up the island of Flores.

The University of Copenhagen in Denmark, an institutional partner of Burung Indonesia, uses Sadip's five-hectare restored forest as a research location to study the trees of Mbeliling. The University provided support to enable Sadip and MAMA to develop a tree nursery and tree propagation training centre near his house.

Frans Harum, a consultant from Copenhagen University, says that the work of Sadip and MAMA is an example everyone should follow, including educational institutions. “Don’t hesitate to come and learn with MAMA.”

Article from BirdLife International

Wildiaries • February 2018