Rinjani Ecosystem on Lombok Island

A. Description of Rinjani Ecosystem

The large Rinjani Mountain has an rea of ± 125,000 hectares or around 26.50 % of the ecoregion and its forest area are the largest, around 86.11 % of the total area (146.022 ha). Protected areas completely represent forest types, namely savannahs, semi-deciduous forests, lower mountain-range evergreen forests and tropical mountain-range evergreen forests.

Ecologically, the composition of vegetation at Rinjani Mountain forest complex and in the surrounding forests has a great significance in maintaining the hydrological balance on Lombok island due to Rinjani Mountain forest’s covering very large area and has function of water absorbent area for surrounding areas. It has been recoded that more than 85 springs come from Rinjani Mountain; this was shown during some activities of managing for river flow. The springs are encompassed in 10 locations and 5 sub-locations of the river flow area. In Lombok ecoregion, especially in Rinjani, can be found 66 kinds birds, 8 kinds of mammals 17 kinds of reptiles, and many endemic plants such as Cervus Timorensis, Muntiacus Muncak, manis Javanica, Hystrix brahyura, some protected birds such as Lichmera lombokia, Megapodus reinwardtii, Alcedo coerulences, Phillemon buceroides, Cacatua sulphurea and some protected flora which have been observed, such as Pterospermum javanicum, Dysoxylum sp, Azadiactha indica and Dypterocarpus haseltii.

Rinjani Mountain is indicated as the only water resource (90% of the river on Lombok island spring from the upper reaches of the Rinjani Mountain area), whereas the rivers are distributed in three water absorbent areas namely: north, west and east water absorbent areas. Approximayely more than 600,000 inhabitants on Lombok island greatly depend on the water that comes from these areas. The river flow pattern and distribution has had an influence in the spread of inhabitants, their number increasing as much as 2.33 % per year, and more than 70 villages greatly depend on this area.

Rinjani volcano has an oval-shaped caldera measuring 4800 x 3500 m, and inside if there is a crescent-shaped lake having a hight of 2008 m above sea level (2800 x 2400 m) and depth of 230 m. Regarding the large of the crater lake, it is about 11 million square meters in surface area and has a water volume of 1,375 million cubic meters. It is named Danau Segara Anak which means Child of the Ocean.

The economic and ecological value of Rinjani area is very high according to the observation point of view; hydrology forests, agriculture, tourism, water controlling, social and religious values. If the Rinjani area is preserved in its current condition, the nett value in benefit will be Rp. 5,178,159 trillions per year. While the contribution of the irrigation water resource used for agriculture sector will attain up to Rp. 5.4 billion per year. The nett value produced by the agriculture sector at the Rinjani area will reach 386 billions per year. Regarding the economic value of mineral water obtained from two drinking water companies; Narmada and Neutral mineral water, these two companies have utilised water having its source in Rinjani area to the amount of 1.75 billions per year. In addition the economic value produced from tourism sector in 1999 reached up to Rp. 286 billons per year.

The Challenges of Rinjani Ecosystem Management

The ecosystem is protected by different protection status. Mountain Rinjani National Park (Gunung Rinjani National Park) ca. 45,000 hectar and its adjacent protected forest areas (ca. 86,000 ha) conserve Lombok’s biodiversity and contain various types of habitats like mountainous forests and savannahs. The high-altitude of Rinjani Crater Lake serves as a water reservoir which Lombok almost completely relies on.

The southern part of the ecosystem is under heavy pressure from landless farmers who occupy the forest area to develop farmlands. It is about 80 villages with an estimated 600,000 inhabitants are located on or close to southern slopes of the ecosystem and many of landless farmers depend on the forest area for daily needs. Traditional land use system, which are still widely used throughout the region, contribute to environmental degradation. Shifting cultivation (slash and burn), savanna burning, encroachment and cattle grazing are considered the biggest threats to environment caused by rural communities. Together with illegal loging, mining, infrastructure development and weak of law enforcement, they seriously threaten the function of the ecosystem in Rinjani. To accommodate the needs of the local communities and reduce the pressure of these communties on the ecosystem, the foresty department initiated in 1996 conversion 0f 5,000 hectars of protected forest area into bufferzone.

A complicating factor is the process of decentralization where local governments (disctrict level) are forced to raise local revenues. One asset the local government are looking at is the protected forest area. Many logging activities are now actively supported or initiated by the district forestry departements. This has caused a lot of misunderstanding in communities participating in the community forest program and is sees as a catalyst for encroachment by landless farmers. The problems are less significant in the National Park. The National Park Management Unit (UPT), with funding from national government and clearer status for the public can act more strictly in enforcing regulations that are aimed at keeping people from entering the park for illegal activities. On the other hand this increases the pressure on protected forest areas even more as the people do not have alternatives in the National Park.

Solution is Proposed

Reforestation is the natural or intentional restocking of existing forest and woodlands that have been depleted, usually through deforestation. Reforestation can be used to rectify or improve the quality of human life by soaking up pollution and dust from the air, rebuild natural habitats and ecosystems, mitigate global warming since forests facilitate biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and harvest for resources, particularly timber,, but also non-timbers forest products.

Meanwhile, the term of afforestation is the process of restoring and recreating areas of woodlands or forests of non-forest land. The term re-afforestation is used to distinguish between the original forest cover and the later re-growth of forest to an area. Forestation is the establishment of forest growth on areas that either had forest or lacked it.

Reforestation, Forest Enrichment, and Greening Is Badly Needed For Mt. Rinjani Forest Areas and Surrounding Lands

Rinjani Highlight

  • Huge areas of forest in Indonesia have already been lost. Only around 30 percent of the pristine Indonesian tropical forests are now remained.
  • Similar situation exists in Lombok island; in which of its 141,000Ha of forested lands (30% of the Lombok total land – 465000 Ha), only about 45% percent are well preserved.
  • Reforestation is of great importance, as estimates suggest that at the current rate of deforestation, there may be little rainforest left in Indonesia within 100 years.
  • With the current facts, efforts to replanting the forest lands or so called with reforestation should be done immediately.
  • This should be done by government with full support and involvement of local communities.
  • Reforestation usually involves replanting areas of forest which have previously been damaged or destroyed with trees.
  • Reforestation could also be done in the conservation areas. This tree planting activity such as those of in protected forests and the forests of the national park is often called with forest enrichment.
  • Plantings tree could also be done in the areas of private lands; such an activity in the non forested land is widely named with greening.
  • Finally, it is the responsibility of the Indonesian government and local inhabitants to always protect and preserve their forest and land, and if necessary to reforest, enrich, and green it when needed.
  • In doing so, the generous helps and involvements of local, national, and international stakeholders including those of individuals, companies, NGOs, governments, and other institutions are badly welcomed.

Reforestation is the natural or intentional restocking of existing forest and woodlands that have been depleted, usually through deforestation. Reforestation can be used to rectify or improve the quality of human life by soaking up pollution and dust from the air, rebuild natural habitats and ecosystems, mitigate global warming since forests facilitate biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and harvest for resources, particularly timber,, but also non-timbers forest products.

Meanwhile, the term of afforestation is the process of restoring and recreating areas of woodlands or forests of non-forest land. The term re-afforestation is used to distinguish between the original forest cover and the later re-growth of forest to an area. Forestation is the establishment of forest growth on areas that either had forest or lacked it

Why is reforestation needed ?

What is reforestation ?

Reforestation involves the replanting or regeneration of areas of forest which have previously been damaged or destroyed. Sometimes forests are able to regenerate naturally if sufficient trees remain nearby and seeds can be dispersed into the deforested areas via animals or wind. However, areas of forest which have been severely degraded are unlikely to be able to regenerate naturally and need to be replanted by hand using native tree species.

Why is reforestation needed ?

Reforestation is needed because huge areas of forest are being damaged or destroyed around the world on a daily basis. Some estimates suggest that an area of forest equivalent in size to 36 football pitches is lost every minute. This deforestation has a number of causes, including fires, the clearing of land to make way for agriculture or human settlement, logging and climate change.

Forests are very important for a number of reasons and deforestation is a serious problem which affects us all. As well as being home to a huge and diverse range of animal and plant species, forests provide livelihoods for a vast number of people around the world and are a source of paper, timber, food and the ingredients of many other products, such as medicines and cosmetics. Forests are also vital for the health of our planet, maintaining the water cycle, preventing soil erosion and absorbing and storing enormous amounts of carbon dioxide which helps to limit the effects of climate change.

In order to tackle deforestation there are a number of organisations around the world that aim to replant trees and help to regenerate and restore forest habitats.

The Lombok Forest– a case study

The Rinjani Forest is home to a wealth of wildlife, including 104 species found nowhere else on earth. Rinjani Forest is actually in far greater danger and is considered one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world.

 

The Story of Rinjani Trek Eco Tourism

At 3.726m, Mt. Rinjani is the second highest volcano peak in Indonesia and is a part of the celebrated “Ring of Fire”. Forested slopes rising directly from the sea create their own weather pattern and act as the main water-catchment for the island of Lombok. Gunung Rinjani National Park lies within a major bio-geographical transition zone (Wallaceae), where the flora and fauna of South East Asia meets that of Australasia. The National Park, one of over 50 throughout Indonesia, was established in 1997.

For the people of Lombok, Sasak and Balinese alike, Mt. Rinjani is revered as a sacred place and abode of deities. The crater lake is a pilgrimage destination for tens of thousands each year. Pilgrims place offerings in the water and bathe away ailments in the hot springs. For visitors, the three-day Rinjani Trek route from Senaru to the crater rim, down to the crater lake then on to Sembalun, is considered one of the best treks in South East Asia. More adventurous trekkers aim for the summit, best reached from Sembalun returning after four days to Senaru.

To assist with conservation and ensure that communities on the boundary of the National Park benefit from tourism revenues, the Rinjani Trek is managed by a partnership of National Park officials, the public and private sectors of the Lombok tourism industry and community representatives. Community-run cooperatives coordinate the trek at the Rinjani Trek Centre (RTC) in Senaru and the Rinjani Information Centre in Smebalun Lawang. Each has roster systems for guides and porters, village tour activities and handicraft sales.

The Rinjani Trek Ecotourism Program made considerable progress in nine years. Key to its success has been the ability to gather ‘all the local players under one roof’ and to develop a three-pronged approach for ‘Park Management’, ‘Community Development’ and ‘Tourism’ (GRNPP 2003). It was recognised as an iconic world destination in the National Geographic Awards in 2004. With its emphasis on sound conservation principles, based on traditional knowledge, the Rinjani Ecotourism Program had been nominated as one of three finalists for another Destination Award in the British Airways, Tourism for Tomorrow Awards in 2005 and 2008 from WTTC. This was to be announced at the 8th Global Travel and Tourism Summit hosted by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in Dubai, April 2008.

This was well deserved recognition of the determined work of all stakeholders to not only care for the destination to enhance its attraction for tourists, but also to develop micro-projects in adjoining villages in the buffer zone and place tourism as just one economic activity that must be integrated with others in the community. Rinjani Trek had been recognised by the Indonesian Government, through Tourism Ministery as the best destination involving the community to manage and received award three times in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Senaru Village

The cool, flower-filled mountain village of Senaru on the slopes of Mt. Rinjani stretches up a hillside spur along a winding road above Bayan. It is a scenic 2.5 hours drive from Mataram or or Senggigi to Senaru. The Desa includes the hamlets of Senaru, Batu Koq, Tumpang Sari, and all offer accommodation in simple but pretty homestays (losmens with lovely views).

The Rinjani Trek Center is located at the top of the village at the trailhead. It offers all information for visitors on the Rinjani Trek, the National Park, Sasak culture and the arrange of ecotourism activities available for visitors to Senaru. National Park and village entry fees are paid here, and all the porters for trekkers have to be hired from Porters’ association which is also based in the Rinjani Trek Center. Village guides, includes several local women, have been specially trained to escort the visitors around the sights. Arrange a guided excursion through the Rinjani Trek Center or your accommodation.

Waterfalls

Senaru’s best known attraction is the Sindang Gila waterfall which attracts many thousands of Indonesian and foreign visitors annually. Located at about 600m above sea level, the waterfall is an easy 20 minutes walk down a graded trails and steps from Senaru village. A pleasant alternative return route winds along the edge of the steep valley following the irrigation canal.

For the more adventurous, Senaru’s second waterfall “Tiu Kelep” is another hour’s walk upriver from Sendang Gila. The scramble over rocks through the tropical forest is rewarded by the beauty of the waterfall and a swim in its deep pool. It is said locally that every time you swim behind the main waterfall of Tiu Kelep you become a year younger!.

With access from the main road, Senaru’s third waterfall Betara Lenjang is srictly for rock climbers with a local guide and equipment.

Wildlife

During early morning and evening walks in Senaru you are likely to see interesting birds. Butterflies and at least one of the two species of monkey who live in the surrounding forest. Long-tailed macaques known locally as Kera, often sit down in the road. More elusive is the rare Silvered Leaf monkey, and also known as the black monkey known locally as Lutung which can often be glimpsed in the forest around the waterfalls.

Senaru Traditional Village

A visit to Senaru Traditional Village, situated next to the Rinjani Trek Centre where the Rinjani trail begins is greatly enhanced by asking a local guide to show you around. The Sasak inhabitant are the cultural guardians of Mountain Rinjani and its surrounding forest and safeguard its spiritual values. Locally guided visits include opportunities to experience the villagers’ daily life, visit their their thatched houses prepare meals using local produce, and understanding their traditional way of life.

Morning waterway walk and sunrise

Leave your losmen early for a one and a half hour escorted walk through the fields past the traditional village and along the irrigation channel that winds through village fields past crops and houses. Enjoy visiting local homes, seing early morning activities and learning about farming methods. Witness the sun rising from the sea beneath the spectacular sweeping views of north Lombok from the summit of Mt. Rinjani to the coast.

Evening walk and sunset

Below the Senaru Traditional Village, a one and a half hour escorted walk along village trails brings you to the “sacred waterfall” or “traditional swimming pool”, the Tumpasan Senar. Enjoy a refreshing swim or late afternoon laze. On the return trip, visit some local hamlets as the people return from their fields, and enjoy the sunset over Mt. Agung in distant Bali from a vantage point in a local orchard.

Facts about Rinjani

The park covers an area of 41,330 ha on the northern part of Lombok. At 3726m it is the second highest volcano in Indonesia, part of the infamous ring of fire that encircles the basin of the Pacific.

It is surrounded by further 66,000 ha of Protection Forest also covers the three administrative districts. The park ecosystem is in the transitional zone between Asia and Australia (Walaceae zone). Average rainfall is about 3,000mm annually.

Gunung Rinjani is rich in variety of flora and fauna and vegetation types. On the south western side of the mountain is the most eastern extent of primary rainforest of Nusa Tenggara. This give away monsoon forest and drier climate in the east, and savannah in the north east. Note, flora includes the everlasting edelweiss flower (Anaphalis Viscida), tiger orchid, alang-alang grass (Imprerata Cylindrical), cemara trees (Casuarina Trifollia and Caruarina Ocidentale).

For the people of Lombok Sasak and Balinese alike, the volcano is revered as a sacred place and the abode of God. Within the spectaculer crater, Segara Anak Lake is the destination of many pilgrims who place offerings in the water and bathe away disease in the nearby hot springs.

Gunung Rinjani National Park

Mt. Rinjani forms the second highest volcanic peak in Indonesia, part of the celebrated “Ring of Fire”. The dramatic landscape has been created over millions of years of cone-building, violent explosions, and erosion. Forested slopes rising directly from the sea create their own weather pattern and act as water-colections for the whole of Lombok.

For the people of Lombok, Sasak and Balinese alike, the volcano is revered as a sacred place and abode of deities. Segara Anak crater lake is the destination of thousands of pilgrims who place offering in the water and bathe away disease in the hot springs. It was built a unique partnership among the major stakeholders to promote responsible tourism in Gunung Rinjani National Park.

Over 20 villages surround Rinjani and there are many routes up the mountain, but the main access is from Senaru in the north, Sembalun Lawang to the east and Timba Nuh to the south. The challenging three-day Rinjani Trek routes from Senaru to the crater rim (Plawangan), down to the stunning crater lake then on to Sembalun Lawang, is considered one of the best treks in South East Asia. Those heading for the summit usually prefer to start in Sembalun Village. The most challenging and more adventures trek, the route of the trek starts from Timba Nuh.

A model for ecotourism in Indonesia, the community-based activities are focussed on the Rinjani Trek Center in Senaru, the most popular starting point for the tough trek. It was developed with New Zealand Government assistance since 1999, the Rinjani Trek Center embodies under one roof the unique partnership of the National Park, tourism industry and local communities that has been forged to manage and protect the Rinjani mountain environment.

The organisation formed was Rinjani Trek Management (RTMB), an organisation to continue the program of Rinjani Trek Ecotourism. It was established in June 2003 after three years consultation with the member of the Gunung Rinjani stakeholders. RTMB was a consultation and coordination forum for ecotourism management in Gunung Rinjani based on participatory principle and integration between government, community, and the tourism industry. In May 2013, the National Park requested the chairperson of RTMB to stop as a partner because it considered the MoU is considered not inline with government regulation no: 36 year 2010 on Forest Protection and Natural Resource Conservation.

Local community of Senaru Village are represented by the Rinjani Trek Center (RTC) and that of Sembalun Village are represented by Rinjani Information Center (RIC). Both are at the main entry points into the National Park for visitors undertaking the Rinjani trek. Similar Centers and community-based organization is required if other main entry points to the Trek evolve.

The RTC and RIC are intended to be the heart of an integrated approach to managing the “Rinjani Trek”. They have been conceived as the joint home of both administrative and commercial activities associated with the Trek. They are a physical expression of a partnership between the National Park, Tourism Industry and the people of Senaru and Sembalun. They provide a “one roof” focus for visitor services, including tourist information and displays about the Rinjani Trek and Sasak culture for both international and domestic visitors.