You “cannot” get married unless you plant trees here! Trees of Love: educating people, a way to combat Climate Change

A girl plants a teak seedlings on a bare land.
A girl plants a teak seedling on a bare land.

As one of the most diverse countries in the world, Indonesia has been struggling to reforest landscapes and save biodiversity. With the deforestation rate shown in the graphic below, Indonesia has been considered contributing to global warming. In 2009, the country has committed to reduce emission up to 26-41% by 2020.

To address that commitment, the Ministry of Forestry of Indonesia has launched Gerakan Menanam 1 Milyar Pohon (One Billion Indonesian Trees). One interesting program is tree plantings by the bride-and groom-to-be. Many regions/ municipalities in Indonesia (the map below) have made the program compulsory, and work together with other local institutions (e.g. local forestry department and office of religious affairs), although it is not a national mandate.

The map of regions/municipalities implementing the policy of tree planting for bride-and groom-to-be (modified from Googlemaps with some online sources)

The map of regions/municipalities implementing the policy of tree planting for bride-and groom-to-be (modified from Googlemaps with some online sources)

From one region to another, the method is varied for the number of seedlings bride and groom have to plant, the planting area, and the species that should be planted. The bride and groom obtain a tree certificate that will be used as a proof of the planting for authorities. They have to look after the trees, or penalties apply. Kendal regency, one of the regions which implemented this policy since 2012, was awarded as Green City by the Environmental Online (ENO) from Finland, and Jambi City had a chance to present the program at one of the United Nations (UN) Meetings: UNECA.

The Mayor of Jambi City exposed to UNECA(source: http://jambiupdate.com/artikel-walikota-jambi-ekspos-di-depan-uneca-.html)

The Mayor of Jambi City exposed to UNECA(source: http://jambiupdate.com/artikel-walikota-jambi-ekspos-di-depan-uneca-.html)

How could this program help biodiversity? Studies have found that planting is beneficial for biodiversity and at least two benefits from tree planting can be gained. First, vegetation is habitat for animals and vegetation itself is also biodiversity. The habitat provides shelter, space, food, and water for the biodiversity to live (details here and here). Second, beside the controversy of tree planting, but the key concept of this unique policy is to combat climate change from CO2 emission as mentioned in this document. A single tree can absorb 28 tons of CO2/year, in the simple words: more trees planted more CO2 absorbed and less it emitted. Climate change is one of the main direct drivers of biodiversity loss. The climate change impacts on geographic range shrinkage or even forest dieback. Visualization of  the connection of those components is described in the diagram below.

Simple Diagram of the Connection of Tree Planting and Biodiversity Loss. Green arrow indicates the effects from tree planting and red line/ arrow indicates the variables contribute to biodiversity loss, while black line means the component of habitat.

Simple Diagram of the Connection of Tree Planting and Biodiversity Loss. Green arrows indicate the effects from tree planting and red line/ arrows indicate the variables contribute to biodiversity loss, while black line means the component of habitat.

Although there is debate if such program can effectively address the issue of climate change, but the bottomline is that such program can raise awareness of the people on the role of trees and how they can contribute. As with other conservation programs (such as for the Javan Gibbon and Langur), education programs are key to achieving successful outcomes, as is actively engaging people saving the environment. It is not only planting trees for them, but the timing of the planting is closely related with important life events for them, thus it raises their sense of belonging to the trees.

[Choiriatun Annisa]

Additional Reading

Loehle, C. 2000. Forest ecotone response to climate change: sensitivity to temperature response functional forms. Can. J. For. Res.,30: 1632–1645

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Biodiversity Synthesis. World Resources Institute: Washington, DC

Regent of Kendal. 2012. Peraturan Daerah Kabupaten Kendal Nomor 3 Tahun 2012 Tentang Penanaman Pohon Bagi Calon Pengantin dan Ibu Melahirkan di Kabupaten Kendal (Regional Regulation of Kendal Regency Nomor 3 Year 2012 on Tree Planting for Bride-and-Groom-to-be and Mother in Kendal). Regent of Kendal

Renwick, A.R., Robinson, C.J., Martin, T.G., May, T., Polglase, P.,Possingham, H.P., Carwardine, J. 2014. Biodiverse Planting for Carbon and Biodiversity on Indigenous Land. Plos One: Volume 9, Issue 3, e91281

Supriatna, J., Tilson, R.L., Gurmaya, K.J., Manansang, J., Wardojo, W., Sriyanto, A., Teare, A., Castle, K., and Seal US (eds.).1994. Javan Gibbon and Javan Langur: Population and Habitat Viability Analysis Report, IUCN/ SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG). Apple Valley: Minnesota, 11 2pp

Advertisements

About Biodiversity Conservation Blog

I am an Associate Professor at The Australian National University and convene a (very awesome) course called Biodiversity Conservation. Myself and students in the course contribute to this blog.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to You “cannot” get married unless you plant trees here! Trees of Love: educating people, a way to combat Climate Change

  1. Chloe says:

    Such an interesting initiative! It would be interesting to know more about where the trees are being planted (e.g. in gardens, by reserves, in degraded landscapes), how many trees a couple needs to plant, whether this differs between provinces, and how the bride- and groom-to-be are supposed to look after the trees (what happens if one dies? Does another tree need to be planted?)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s