06 Juni 2009

Conservation of Javanese Sugar (Siwalan Tree): Local Solution for Climate Challenge

Javanese Sugar Team School Climate Challenge Competition
SMA 3 Annuqayah Guluk-Guluk Sumenep Indonesia

Siwalan tree (Borassus flabellifer) is one of a local species in Madura. Madura people take advantage of it for many functions. The leaves used for making mats, bucket, etc, and the wood used as a building material. Siwalan tree also supplies a kind of sugar namely Javanese sugar (gula merah, gula Jawa). These products become as an income and financial support for some Madura people. Meanwhile, in recent time, Javanese sugar was starting to be isolated. As a result, people’s appreciation to siwalan tree degraded, and the further impact was logging of siwalan tree.

From this background of situation, we set up a series of activities in a climate challenge project—namely “Conservation of Javanese Sugar (Siwalan Tree): Local Solution for Climate Challenge”—so that Madura people have a positive appreciation to the siwalan tree and Javanese sugar. Conservation of siwalan tree had a broad impact—not only about environmental and economics purpose, but also cultural aspect. Madura people have many traditional food used Javanese sugar as an ingredient.

For about four months, we had managed some environmental programs and activities to achieve this objective. Those programs include socialization in several school communities and people association around Sumenep district to promote the use of Javanese sugar and to stop logging activities. Socialization held not only by sharing and discussing this issue with people and students. As a concrete action, our team used to provide tradisional food used Javanese sugar as an ingredient in our school activities. We also collected many recipes for this kind of food and in the exhibitions we had very good appreciations from people and students. By these activities, we have been spreading out environmental awareness through conservation of siwalan tree issue.

Our other important activity in this project is field research about the problem of this effort of conservation. We had done two field research in two villages, Cecce’ (Aeng Panas) Pragaan and Banuaju Batang-Batang. These two villages are the center of producer of Javanese sugar. Many valuable information and experiences we’ve got in these observations. We also tried to convey environmental messages to the people in these researches.

To assure sustainability of this project, we planned to recruit new cadres in our school, organize capacity building for our team and community, develop educational network on environmental issues in Sumenep, and develop this issue with another important problem concerning local food and plantation.

(Summary of Project for School Climate Challenge Competition British Council Indonesia 2009)

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