EcologyNKK Lab Field Study Report

Original Report in Bahasa Indonesia is here!

Activity Report during Data Collection

Eny Haryati

greengreengreengreengreen On February 16, 2012 I arrived in Indonesia for the purpose of collecting data. My research title is gForest Recovery in Burned Areas of Tropical Rain Forests and Peat Swamp Forests in West Kalimantanh. My supervisor is Professor Nobukazu Nakagoshi. There are three major requirements which must be fulfilled order for an area to be selected for research:

  1. Post burnt area free of human or livestock interference, thus the study areas are likely to be located in protected areas
  2. Land must be post tropical rain forest fire
  3. Land must be post peat swamp forest fire
greengreengreengreengreen I held consultations with staff of the Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) West Kalimantan to determine appropriate locations for my research in accordance with the set criteria: ?area that experienced only natural regeneration after fire without human assistance, without any interference from humans or livestock. Information obtained from the consultations revealed that in West Kalimantan it is difficult to find after fire areas with no human activity. In West Kalimantan, the burnt area is usually planted by people illegally or legally with plants such as palm oil plantations. This is a result of the unclear boundaries between forest and public land, thus forest area is turned into cultivated land used for either gardening or plantation purposes. We can find tropical rain forest in protected areas, yet recently people migrated to protected areas to fulfill their livelihood needs. This is a serious problem have in Indonesia because, without clear and clean boundaries between protected areas and public land, the protected areas will disappear.
Based on the above results, I tried to seek information on another province, called Central Kalimantan. In this province, most of their areas are peat lands. Central Kalimantan province has the largest area of ??peat lands in Indonesia. From the information I received of BKSDA Central Kalimantan Province, there are several obstacles in obtaining a suitable research site in Central Kalimantan, these include: inaccessibility, the burnt area without any human disturbance are located far from the downtown and can only be reached by a very expensive speedboat or by aircraft. For the burnt area in tropical rain forests, there is almost no data from this province as most forest fire occurred in peat land areas. Due to cost and suitability of the location constraints, the research was unachievable Central Kalimantan.
I also collected data on the location of forest fires in Indonesia along with hotspot data that issued by the Directorate of Forest Fire Control, a department of the Ministry of Forestry as supporting data to determine the location of the study. I also held consultations and exchanged information with a researcher from the Center for Forestry Research and Development, a department of the Ministry of Forestry, namely Mr. I Wayan Susi Dharmawan, a researcher interested in calculating carbon reserves and forest fires. He is a Doctoral student in Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), now in his last semester. One of his supervisors is Prof Hadi Susilo Arifin. He advised me to select research sites in Riau Province, due to the following reasons: 1) the location of areas after fire in Riau Province can still be reached by car, so the costs are relatively cheap. 2) Riau Province has forest areas in mineral soil (tropical rain forest) and peat soil (peat swamp forest). 3) Forest and land fires also commonly occur in this province and resulting in trans-boundary haze in Singapore and Malaysia.
greengreengreengreengreen In addition to collecting data and preliminary information to determine the location of research, I attended a lecture on forest fires by Prof. Bambang Hero Saharjo every Monday to increase my knowledge on various issues including the forest fire activities in Indonesia. I also visited IPB library to access literature / reading material related to forest fires.
greengreengreengreengreen After getting approval from Professor Nakagoshi to alter my study site, I traveled to Riau spending the second and third weeks of March 2012 conducting my research and using equipment that was borrowed from the Faculty of Forestry. When I arrived in Pekanbaru, Riau Province's capital, I consulted with staff members at BBKSDA Riau Province to seek for appropriate research location. It was found Riau Province is similar to other provinces in Indonesia with after fire areas being planted by people both illegally or legally with oil palm plantations. However there are still some places after fire left that have not been planted with palm and remain free from human activity. Although, the remaining areas are limited in number and size. This research site is located in the Wildlife Refuge /Suaka Margasatwa (SM) Giam Siak Kecil. It takes about 5 hours by car from Pekanbaru. Wildlife Refuge/SM Giam Siak Kecil is the seventh Biosphere Reserve in Indonesia. This location is adjacent to several Industrial Plantation Forest (HTI) companies.
greengreengreengreengreen In conducting the data collection in this location, I was assisted by two staff of BBKSDA Riau, stayed in HTI PT. Arara Abadi company hostel. This hostel is located near the study site. It takes 1 hour from the hostel to the location of the study sites. After examining the location of study area on ??the map, we visited the location to start capturing data and samples. First we created a plot sample for analysis of vegetation in size from 2mx2m to 20mx20m. Within each site of the burned area, we made two example plots only; this is because the burned area without any disturbance by humans is not so widespread. For peat swamp forest (peat soil), the data collection carried out on peat swamp forest not burnt was employed as a control; the area after burnt in 2008 and the area after burnt in 2011. For tropical rain forests (mineral soil), retrieval of data was undertaken in tropical rain forest not burnt as a control; the area after burnt in 2008 and the area after burnt in 2012. In addition to vegetation data and vegetation samples, soil samples at each site were also taken to analyze the physical and chemical properties of soil in burnt areas.
greengreengreengreengreen In the fourth week of March 2012, all samples were taken to the laboratory for analysis, both samples of plant and soil samples. Vegetation samples were analyzed at the Laboratory of Botany, Forestry Research and Development Center, while soil samples were analyzed in Soil Laboratory, Faculty of Agriculture IPB. Actually I am still not satisfied with this collection data, because at that time there were some conflicts between humans and tigers and between humans and elephants in the location we examined, thus I could not collect data completely due to safety concerns. Hopefully, next time I can go to the same location again to complete my data.