Tropical Climate Smart Forestry Schools

Project Representative
Mr. Achmad Solikhin
Creation Date: 2011
Geographical Reach: Asia (Indonesia)
Nature and number of beneficiaries: about 2500 particpants, including children, youths, and local communities.
Twitter account: @IndoGreenForum

Tropical Climate Smart Forestry Schools

About the Project

The Tropical Climate Smart Forestry Schools are informal schools for broadly targeted students (children and youth), intended to educate them of the importance of tropical rainforests to climate change mitigation. The schools were initiated by the Indonesian Green Action Forum (IGAF), and were supported by the UN agencies and Indonesia government. The schools have persisted for four years with more than seven formal schools involving approximately 250 students.
Generally, the establishment of the schools is in the line with ESD (Education for Sustainable Development), notably climate change and ecology education. There are three objectives of the schools: to conserve Indonesia’s tropical rainforests contributing to climate change mitigation, to raise public awareness about the effects of climate change, and solutions, and to actualize smart green initiatives and activities on the ground. We collaborate with teachers and volunteers to manage the schools’ activities. The informal school curricula consist of several tropical forest-based activities, including forestry & climate change education, social forestry, field observatory, degraded forest rehabilitation, tree planting, and forest conservation campaigns.
The project, which is similar to extracurricular programs, is conducted every Saturday and Sunday. Forestry and climate change education are taught to students using the Forestry and Climate Change YUNGA UNFAO Challenge Badge. Such captivating books and badges are tremendously popular with both students and teachers.
Social forestry and field observatory are two indispensable actions for ascertaining the roles of rainforests in climate change mitigation. We usually engage students to implement an agroforestry system as a practical solution, and persuade students to visit CIFOR (Center for International Forestry Research). For rehabilitating degraded and abandoned lands, we always use free seedlings from the Department of Forestry, Ministry of Environment and Forestry Indonesia. There are three types of seedlings utilized: fast growing, multipurpose, and local tree species. These trees must be preliminary examined to avoid the spreading of invasive tree species (IAS). In addition, this year we initiated a great action, 2000 tree planting!, which was aimed to accelerate a million tree planting program of Ministry of Environment and Forestry.
Beyond planting in abandoned and degraded lands, we also collaborate with local farmers to plant the trees alongside their agricultural and river lands. The forest conservation campaign is committed via an online and offline platform. Social media used are for instance Facebook, twitter, blogs, etc.  The campaign is positively versatile to advance environmental awareness of societies about the importance of tropical rainforests to climate change mitigation, biodiversity enhancement, and carbon sequestration. Sustainability of the project must be taken into account. Financial and non-financial support, management, monitoring and evaluation, commitment and responsibility of the executors are the core of sustainability achievement. Previously, similar schools have been reported by UNESCO at this link. For the details of our forestry schools’ activities, you can visit our Fanpage.

Context and Issue

Indonesia has one of the highest tropical forests, with some of the world’s greatest biodiversity. This is threatened with deforestation and forest degradation at alarming rates. Indonesia is well-known as a hotspot country, contributing high Greenhouse Gas (GHGs) for forestry sectors. Moreover, the environment in Indonesia confronts big problems, such as pollution, forest fire, illegal logging, illegal fishing, flooding, desertification, drought, overexploitation of natural resources, mining, water crisis and food waste. These problems persist, generating diverse negative influences. These effects not only exacerbate the environment, but also negatively influence the economy and social issues.

Climate change is indisputably the most devastating environmental challenge confronted by societies. It ensues mostly due to human activities like manufacturing, driving and cutting down forests causing carbon dioxide to be released into our atmosphere. The increased concentration in the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other gases, collectively known as greenhouse gases,  leads to increased trapped heat from the sun, and higher temperatures on earth. Human activity has destructive impacts on the environment. Addressing these environmental problems in Indonesia is not easy; it is necessarily involves multi-stakeholders to tackle these problems.

One of the most innovative solutions toward settling environmental problems in Indonesia is the Tropical Climate Smart Forestry Schools. The schools focus on integrating human beings (students) and forestry roles for mitigating climate change. The integration ways can be committed trough ESD (Education for Sustainable Development). Education evolved in the schools is in form of basic learning and early ecological education to be imparted to the students. There are considerable benefits to be gained, because achieving environmental protection is crucially linked to the socio-economic pillars of human development.

Solution and Impact

As we know, we realize that ecological problems are mostly due to anthropogenic factors. Humans tend to exploit environmental resources without considering the impact of their actions for the society at large. Climate change is threatening our future. As noted, the Indonesian Green Action Forum (IGAF) established the Tropical Climate Smart Forestry Schools. The schools adopt ESD (Education for Sustainable Development), especially regarding climate change and environmental education. The schools will integrate set theories and actions to the ground. Several activities included are forestry & climate change education, social forestry, field observatory, degraded forest rehabilitation, tree planting, and forest conservation campaign.

Why must it focus on schools and education? Schools and education are essential and not be separated. They provide an effective way for embedding knowledge and positive actions in a changing world. We, IGAF, do believe that the schools which focus on climate change education are able to raise public awareness about the effects of climate change and its solutions. In addition, students will be eager to find diverse innovative solutions to address climate change. For instance, by considering resource efficiency, students will be able to implement sustainable consumption and production. Students will develop technologies able to reduce the use of electricity, water, energy.

The positive impact of the Tropical Climate Smart Forestry Schools can be reviewed based on three positive benefits or pillars of Sustainable Development: ecological, social, and economic. The increase of students’ ecological awareness may be gained through imparting ecological set theories and actions. In addition, the attempt to conserve tropical rainforest will be positively important for students because of the benefits for climate change mitigation, biodiversity enhancement, and carbon sequestration. Social forestry action by students can provide alternative livelihoods by harnessing wood and non-wood products in certain times. In addition, in the view of economic social forestry (agroforestry) is also able to provide income for local farmers.

Future Developments

The Indonesian Green Action Forum (IGAF) attempts to develop and sustain the Tropical Climate Smart Forestry Schools. The development of the schools always confronts difficulty and challenges. The most challenging problems are about support and member commitment. These are interlinked, and can achieve sustainability. Financial and non-financial supports are important to develop and expand the schools. The commitment of IGAF members to sustain the schools is very important because it will determine the successful completion of the project. For future development, IGAF attempts to achieve certain planning for the future of the schools.

Planning proposed by IGAF for future development of the school is as follows:

1. Establish entrepreneurship-based ecological schools; the program will be developed to finance our project so it will not depend on the support of IGAF partners. In addition, the students will gain new knowledge and experiences about entrepreneurship.

2. Expanding networking and partnership: The expansion of networking and partnership is intended to support the project. The support can be in form of financial and non-financial support.

3. Internal and external school stakeholder empowerment will enhance the capability, commitment, and management of school stakeholders in managing the project.

4. Ecological course formation as part of the curriculum; some eco-courses of the project will be proposed to each school as part of the curriculum.

5. Completion of forest-based activities and development of new activities. Some forest-based activities have not yet been completed; we will complete the activities, and monitor and evaluate the activities. As it is successfully assessed as sustainable activities, we will propose some new activities, such as eco-creativities and games.

6. Intentional social media utilization. IGAF only uses Facebook and Twitter for publishing the schools’ activity progress. We have not yet made a website for the project.

7. Mentorship from IGAF Partners: Mentorship is really important for developing IGAF Tropical Climate Smart Forestry Schools because some advice given to us will contribute to the sustainability input of the project.

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