Biosphere Reserve and Sustainable Development | WWF
Biosphere Reserve and Sustainable Development

Posted on 22 November 2018

Biosphere reserves focus on three main pillars, namely conservation, economic and sustainable development, and the third one is logistics (i.e. research and monitoring).
By: Regina Nikijuluw
WWF HoB Communication Manager


Community and its environment have been depending on each other since ancient times. They are inseparable. The dependence of community on its environment makes them responsible for the sustainability of the place in which they live. They have been protecting, conserving and preserving biodiversity of the nature wisely to keep the wheels of life spinning. 

On July 25, 2018 in the 30th session of UNESCO's International Coordinating Council Man and Biosphere in Palembang, Betung Kerihun Danau Sentarum (BKDS) National Parks and Kapuas Hulu District in West Kalimantan were confirmed as the 14th Biosphere Reserve area and named Betung Kerihung Danau Sentarum Kapuas Hulu (BKDSKH)

BKDSNP, a total area of 944,086.80 hectares, is home to two-thirds of mammals in Kalimantan, 12% of birds in Indonesia, and nearly 2,000 species of flora. Inside the species include some rare and endangered species such as orangutans, sun bears, ivory hornbills, super red arowana, carcass flowers and rafflesia.

There are 33 villages located in and around (or in a buffer zone) BKDS National Parks. These community, including indigenous people of Dayak and Malay, benefit the national park as a livelihood, such as forest honey product and fishermen. While the livelihood of community, who live in the buffer zone, are farmers, planters and also fishermen. Thus, they depend on BKDSKH Biosphere Reserve for their livelihoods, including everyday life needs.

The confirmation of BKDSKH area into a biosphere reserve has a positive effect on society and biodiversity in this area. The effect can directly impact on achieving sustainable development, in terms of quality of life, and conservation conditions. 

Biosphere reserves focus on three main pillars, namely conservation, economic and sustainable development, and the third one is logistics (i.e. research and monitoring). Conservation performance is the center of all works and responsibilities. Biodiversity of the area should be well-protected, well-maintained, and well-preserved to make sure sustainability of BKDSKH Biosphere Reserve.

Meanwhile, the community as the target of development becomes the attention. Capacity building and human development are directed towards achieving integration in improving economic and sustainable livelihoods while at the time harmonizing with the environment is maintained.

Supporting the two focuses above, the logistic side is the key to success. Professional research bodies, for example, are needed to support biodiversity processes, and enhance local community livelihood. Analysis and research as important parts of environment are included in this pillar. 

Continuous studies of community products are done to increase the value of the products with the aim of internationally marketing local products. Lebah hutan Apis dorsata (giant honey bees) produce forest honey Kapuas Hulu.  As a local wisdom, local community provide tikung (artificial limps) to attract the bees to make their nests. Quality control of the honey is important to go international. 

In the buffer zone area, it has a local paddy seed, cultivated by community for generations, called Tamambaloh paddy or local people call it Bali’ paddy. The rice is a black rice variety and contains healthier fiber and protein than regular rice. The land management system and conservation of rice seedlings is based on the indigenous knowledge. Depth analysis for Tamambaloh paddy becomes important to confirm the strengths of the paddy. 

The richness of biodiversity, including various ecosystem types, and tourism objects (i.e. rafting, limestone caves, cultural tours, animal watching) are some of interested places in BKDSKH Biosphere Reserve. These attract to niche community, such hikers, bikers, and scientists. Promotions of these areas as ecotourism destinations have actively begun. Before becoming a mass tourism, the research body may need to analyze carrying capacity for each place.   

Continuously, specific research for flora and fauna is required. For example, Siluk (arwana) merah fish or super red arowana (Scleropages formosus) is an endemic to Lake Sentarum. This arowana is known as the best arowana because of the colour of this fish which influences from the water of the lake. The price of one arowana can reach to tens of millions. So far, the number of this Siluk is decreasing due to illegal catching.  

The next challenge is how the works and responsibilities can be done. The management of BKDS National Parks attempts to establish a network of multi stakeholder partners. Integration between the government, academics, researchers, non-governmental organizations, including community and private leaders is occurred to improve the economy, and globally raise the existence of BKDSKH Biosphere Reserve.

This multi-stakeholder network collaborates and coordinates to ensure that all the three pillars of the biosphere reserve were populated. Their performance in addition to conducting analysis, research and studies also confirms the fundamental standard procedures and regulations, such as environmentally friendly in land management. 
They should prohibit the use of pesticides, using environmentally friendly products, and saving energy need to be applied to all community products. This will affect directly to the products results and value because they are proven valid. The local community will get direct benefit economically out of the results.

Community and environment are interdependent. Harmonization of the two is inseparable, not only for the preservation of nature itself, but also for the sustainable development of humans who inhabit the area. The union of the two, not only to turn the wheel of life but also preservation of the biodiversity. The unity makes sure the life of future generations.

Source of biosphere reserve: Prof. Dr. Enny Sudarmonowati, Deputy Chair for Life Sciences, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) 
Source of BKDS National Parks: Ir. Arief Mahmud M.Si, Head of Balai Besar BKDS National Parks
Arum Kinasih, Danau Sentarum, Heart of Borneo, West Kalimantan, Bukit Kedungkang, Visit the Heart of Borneo
View from Bukit Kedungkang in Danau Sentarum National Park, West Kalimantan
© WWF-Indonesia/Arum Kinasih
Heart of Borneo, Danau Sentarum, Red Arwana, Siluk Merah, West Kalimantan
Red Silk Fish or Red Arowana (Scleropages formosus) from the habitat in and around Danau Sentarum, reputedly the most suitable type to bring red color to the fish.
© Taman Nasional Danau Sentarum
Arum Kinasih, Danau Sentarum, Kapuas Hulu, West Kalimantan, Fishing, Heart of Borneo
There are 33 villages located in and around (or in a buffer zone) BKDS National Parks. These community, including indigenous people of Dayak and Malay, benefit the national park as a livelihood, such as forest honey product and fishermen.
© WWF-Indonesia/Arum Kinasih
Arum Kinasih, Forest Honey, Danau Sentarum, APDS, Kapuas Hulu, West Kalimantan, Heart of Borneo, HoB, Indonesia, honey, Apis dorsata
Continuous studies of community products are done to increase the value of the products with the aim of internationally marketing local products. Lebah hutan Apis dorsata (giant honey bees) produce forest honey Kapuas Hulu. As a local wisdom, local community provide tikung (artificial limps) to attract the bees to make their nests. Quality control of the honey is important to go international.
© WWF-Indonesia/Arum Kinasih
Taman Nasional Danau Sentarum, Heart of Borneo, West Kalimantan, Indonesia
River adventure in West Kalimantan, Indonesia
© Taman Nasional Danau Sentarum
Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmeus pygmeus) and her baby in Betung Kerihun and Danau Sentarum national parks' corridor in West Kalimantan, Indonesia.
© WWF-Indonesia/Jimmy Syahirsyah