Critical Land Conversion to A Green Urban Forest in Order to Halt and Reverse Land Degradation
Sanitation and Beautification Department of Banda Aceh Municipality

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
When tsunami disaster hit Banda Aceh in December 2004, Tibang is one of the most severe village. Many farms that were productive become damaged and many lands that were used to be overgrown with plants become degraded, arid and barren. Vegetation in the neighborhood disappeared, swept away by tsunami, leaving an empty unproductive swampy land. Some trees that remain stay were just some random and scattered. In summary it can be said that the condition and quality of the environment at that time was completely damaged. Because the area surrounded by swamp, the villager’s shallow well were salty and the water could not be used for drinking. In addition, except marsh plants, other types of plants are very difficult to grow on this poor land. The situation even worst due to sea water which was too far into the mainland during the tsunami. This condition is certainly very unfortunate, especially for Tibang villagers because the land not able to support their lives anymore, especially in difficult time after tsunami. In rainy season, the land tends inundated by water because this land is the result of landfilling after tsunami. Post landfilling, this land is left untreated for years. At that time the process of natural succession occurred with the growth of grasses and vines plants. The land usage by the public is very limited. The grassy part is used for grazing cattle, while in other parts is used as access path to the surrounding fish ponds. The initial condition of this land is less promising. Utilization of this land to be used as an urban forest needs to be done with careful thought. Unlike the normal urban forests, BNI Tibang Urban Forest is practically constructed from zero. Therefore, in the working phases, tree planting is the first and last activity. The tree planting and maintenance process continue to be a priority while doing other construction processes. The land minus characteristics and the challenges faced could not dampen the desire of the Government of Banda Aceh and BNI Bank, one of the biggest national bank in Indonesia to establish an urban forest which is needed by the people of Banda Aceh and its presence is expected to be able to supply the oxygen needs of Banda Aceh residents (as the lungs of the city) beside being a recreation place. The situation is strengthened by a fact that at that time Banda Aceh doesn’t have any urban forest that can be enjoyed by the citizens for recreation, socializing, and exercise at the same time that is free of air pollution. Although the municipal government of Banda Aceh is facing financial constraints in building a city forest, since there are many other urgent activity in other sectors which need budget at that time, but by considering the high spirit of all parties to have an urban forest, the city government allocated a budget for the land provision for the construction of the urban forest

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The initiative is to convert the poor land into rich land by constructing a green urban forest on it, which is later named BNI Tibang Urban Fest. The existence of the BNI Tibang Urban Forest has improved the environment quality and also the villagers’ quality of life. The villagers are actively involved in the initiative starting from beginning (construction phase) until now. The urban forest also benefits the citizen of Banda Aceh by providing a green open space which not only to be enjoyed by citizen, but also providing oxygen for the need of the city.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
With the establishment of a green urban forest, it is automatically change the condition of surrounding environment, so that people are able to reuse their shallow well water for daily use as well as the land around their residence become fertile so it can be planted with a variety of plants including vegetables, besides creating jobs and economic improvement for the local community. Moreover, the construction of BNI Tibang Urban Forest is an effort to heal the trauma of the community while increasing the quality and biodiversity the area after tsunami disaster. Starting from very early stages of development, the community has been involved in BNI Tibang Urban Forest development activities until now. In the early stages, the local community is involved as construction and tree planting workers, even until today, some are still working as the manager and maintenance workers at the urban forest. At the moment from 9 workers who work in the urban forest, all are Tibang villagers.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
One of the uniqueness of BNI Tibang Urban Forest is built on critical land arid and barren. Another unique thing is that its presence is the result of an extraordinary collaboration between the Government of Banda Aceh as the land provider with Bank BNI as funder and the Bustanusalatin Foundation as construction executor. BNI Tibang Urban Forest is the first urban forest ever had in Banda Aceh, constructed by BNI Bank in Indonesia using CSR funds, and worthy to be a co-operation between local governments and state-owned enterprises in environmental conservation activity. This success story has attracted the attention of the President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to visit and inaugurate the BNI Tibang Urban Forest during his visit to Aceh attend 7th tsunami disaster …in December 2011.The president and first lady as well as a number of state officials also had the opportunity to plant trees in the urban forest. Moreover, in BNI Tibang Urban Forest there is a special area planted with typical trees of the area around the archipelago that was donated and planted directly by mayors from all over Indonesia during attending Association of Indonesia Local Governments (APEKSI) meeting and city sanitation summit of Indonesia Sanitation-Care Cities Alliance (AKKOPSI) in Banda Aceh.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The initiative is implemented by Sanitation and Beautification Department (DK3) as the responsible organization in Green Open Space management in Banda Aceh municipality together with Bustanussalatin Foundation, an environmentalist foundation. DK3 together with Bustanussalatin Foundation tried to approach BNI Bank to gain it’s CSR fund through BNI Go Green programme. Now, after the urban forest was totally transferred to Banda Aceh government, the operational and maintenance is in the hand of DK3. About 500 inhabitant directly affected by this initiative, they are the villagers of Tibang. Moreover, the initiative is also to answer the needs of 250.000 citizen of Banda Aceh.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
BNI Tibang Urban Forest development took place in 4 stages in a total period of 2 years. Stages through is as follows: 1. Stage 1 : Land and Basic Infrastructure Preparation, and Trees planting Stage 1 of BNI Tibang Urban Forest development is the most crucial stage because at this stage a great deals to transform poor land into an urban forest and the dream starts to look real, especially when the trees were planted. At this stage various elements, both physical, land, trees, work organization, the public, and the administrative need to start working together as well as possible. The first stage of BNI Tibang Urban Forest development started in January to May 2010. The activities carried out in the first phase are: 1). Preparation of BNI Tibang Urban Forest Master plan; 2). Trees Planting; 3). Provision of Basic Infrastructure; 4).Development of Community Participation The four above items is considered as a crucial step that must be executed carefully, because of the failure of this initial step will influence the next steps. 2. Stage 2 : Development of Circulation Strip, Main Plazas and Trees Maintenance Stage 2 took place in June-December 2010 with the target to take care and raise trees that have been planted during the first phase and to build infrastructure in the such as circulation paths, bridges, pedestrian paths and ramp canopy trail, and observe the appropriate tree species. 3. Stage 3 : Development of Thematic Park, Provision of Public and Social Facilities Stage 3 took place in January-June 2011 with a target of increasing the diversity of tree species and particular themes, adding facilities for the comfort of visitors and more facilities that are informative. 4. Stage 4 : Installation of Electrical and Information Board Stage 4 is the final stage, conducted in July-December 2011, is the finishing stage and planting rare tree species. Completed of development stage, BNI continue to support funding for urban forest the maintenance activities until the end of 2013. Beginning in 2014, BNI Tibang Urban Forest was fully transferred to the Government of Banda Aceh through Sanitation and Beautification Department (DK3) of Banda Aceh Municipality. Besides BNI Bank as a major donor in the development of BNI Tibang Urban Forest, there is also financing from other parties such as: • Budget for land acquisition phase I in 2008 (covering an area of 6.2 ha), from Banda Aceh municipal government, IDR 10.5 billion. • Land acquisition budget Phase II (covering an area of 0.9 ha), from Banda Aceh municipal government, IDR 1.5 billion. • Budget for development and maintenance of Phase I to Phase IV to be submitted to the Government of Banda Aceh consists of 3 phase with a total budget of IDR 4.9 billion. • Budget for water tower construction and clean water distribution network towards the north, from the Aceh Government through the Department of Fisheries, Agriculture, Plantations, IDR 200 million. • Post-handover to the City (2014), the Government of Banda Aceh allocate the maintenance and development of supporting infrastructure IDR 123 million. • In 2015, in addition to Banda Aceh local government of IDR 639 million, Bank BNI also provide a budget for the provision of some support infrastructure IDR 263 million channeled through Sahabat Hijau Foundation • To expand the existing land, in 2015 the Government of Banda Aceh land acquisition around the urban forest area of 2,090 m2 with a budget of IDR 1.25 billion.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The initial idea of BNI Tibang Urban Forest development come from Banda Aceh government by providing land and collaborate with Bustanussalatin Foundation to formulate the initial concept. While the financing is from CSR program of BNI Go Green. This collaboration is an excellent example of public private partnership in environmental conservation. Local government of Banda Aceh is actively involved in the development of BNI Tibang Urban Forest. Banda Aceh Mayor together with the Deputy Mayor and the City Manager (Sekda), directly down to the field to monitor the progress of development. Other parties (agencies, public and private) involved in this work are: 1. Department of Fisheries, Agriculture, Plantations of Aceh Province This office had several activities in BNI Tibang Urban Forest, namely to build a guard house and provide clean water distribution piping. 2. Community of Tibang Village Tibang village society either individually or in groups involved in the development of BNI Tibang Urban Forest. About 56 women (mothers) were involved. Tibang village society is also involved in security keeping activities, namely Syamsuar and Darmawan. The involvement of local community also performed for individuals with special skills, such as stone pairing workers, planters, and construction workers. 3. Environmental Concern Group Several environmental concern groups actively involved in trees planting, such as in May 23rd, 2010, the Union of Indonesian Bachelor in Forestry (PERSAKI) planting trees in BNI Tibang Urban Forest. Technical support came from Bustanussalatin Foundation’s experts which have expertise in environmental engineering, agriculture and landscape architects in collaboration with technical personnel DK3 and involving Drs. Ahmad Abdul Muttalib as field expert. He was former DK3 active employees who retired in 2011, also as Kalpataru award winner from the President of the Republic of Indonesia in 2010. Besides experts/technical personnel, for development activities, labor requirements largely taken from Tibang villagers.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The existence of BNI Tibang Urban Forest provide countless benefits not only for humans (the surrounding communities and residents of Banda Aceh in general), but also become a new habitat for many types of flora and fauna. The villagers feel that the presence of BNI Tibang Urban Forest may reduce the salty level of their well water and began to be used for drinking water and the land may be used for vegetables planting. Currently, at least 25 species of birds have started to settle and nest there, and some types of butterflies and water bioata also found began to live there. Based on the study result, each square meter of green open space is able to produce 50.625 g O2 / day, so BNI Tibang Urban Forest which has an area of 7.1 hectares able to produce 3.59 tons O2 / day. If the oxygen demand of human is 0.864 kg / person / day, BNI Tibang Urban Forest able to provide oxygen for the needs of 4,165 Banda Aceh inhabitants. Broadly speaking, the concrete output of BNI Tibang Urban Forest development for the community, among others: 1. Land that had been displaced into fertile and useful as well as improving the quality of biodiversity after suffering heavy damage from the 2004 tsunami; 2. Helps the absorption of rainwater into the soil, thus reducing the potential for flooding and help reduce the effects of sea water intrusion; 3. Bringing species of birds and other fauna, such as butterflies and a variety of aquatic biota; 4. Being a means of recreation and sport as well as a place to gather, interact, socialize for families and various communities; 5. Improve the quality of life of local community (Tibang Villagers), include the women group and empower local communities to improve their skills in agriculture and construction/carpentry. Output number 1 to 4 are in line with goal 15 of SDGs (Life on Land), protect, restore and sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystem, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. While output number 5 is relevant with goal 5 of SDGs (Gender Equality), achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main challenges faced in the construction of BNI Tibang Urban Forest is during trees planting are: • The poor land condition It is anticipated by land enrichment by adding natural fertilizer and sludge cake from waste water treatment facility. • The presence of sea water intrusion It is anticipated with the right choice of plants that can tolerate salt water, such as pine trees; • Sun Heat and fresh water deficiency which endanger seedling To solve the problem, it was started by protecting the seeds to be planted, for example by fitting coconut leaves to protect the seed direct sun heating, while fresh water supply was gained from deep wells (170 m depth) • The sea breeze blowing unhindered so often which may cause the new planted seeds are fallen; It is anticipated by reducing the number of leaves by aborting the leaves to reduce wind gusts against the trees to avoid trees uprooted. • No expertise and skills of local people in farming To overcome this problem, the community awareness and appreciation was built. Expertise and skill in farming is not difficult thing and may be learned by providing a proper training for them.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The impact and benefits that can be gained not only on the improvement of the environment quality, but also to the preservation of the environment and the benefits are may be enjoyed directly by the people. Among the impacts are: a. City’s environmental quality: 1. Improving the atmospheric quality With the number of trees planted more than 4,000 stalks of 150 species, BNI Tibang Urban Forest able to produce 3.59 tons of oxygen / day 2. Air refresher and reducing carbon emissions With the increasing spread of oxygen in the atmosphere, of course this will affect the freshness of the air inhaled by the citizens. The high level of air pollution caused by carbon emissions released by vehicle fumes can at least be reduced through absorption by trees planted in urban forests in addition to the urban forest is able to guarantee availability of oxygen for the city residents. 3. Lower the temperature of the city The existence of trees will also affect the shade and comfort of the environment. Macro cool atmosphere will be created and will lower the air temperature in the city. The existence of the urban forest will provide a cool atmosphere so that the hot air coming into the urban forest will come out the cool air that will certainly affect the temperature of the surrounding air. b. Environment Sustainability: 1. Supporting land-use and water conservation The existence of BNI Tibang Urban Forest is able to provide a good impact on reducing the intrusion of sea water so that salinity of the villagers’ shallow wells may be reduced and the the wells may be re-utilized. 2. Supporting land-use and soil conservation Likewise, the quality of the soil in BNI Tibang Urban Forest and surrounding area getting better and better so it can be planted with various species of plants 3. Supporting the preservation of germ plasma BNI Tibang Urban Forest existence become a new habitat for many species of flora and fauna, to support the preservation of germ plasma c. For the community: 1. To the local community (villagers) - People take advantage of the city forest land to plant different types of vegetables to increase the income of local communities - Increasing the quality (fertility) of the resident’s land and reduce the salinity of ground water - Providing jobs for 56 women from Tibang village during the construction path and 7 of them are still working in the urban forest until now. 2. To the citizen - The availability of a means for learning in nature, recreation and socializing More than 150 visitors visit the urban forest every day and this number is doubled in the weekend - Being a means of study and research. Among the research conducted in BNI Tibang Urban Forest are research related to oxygen production, type of birds and types of butterfly live in the habitat.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The initiative in small scale has improved the integrity and accountability in public service. Before constructing, during the planning phase, all related stakeholders is put together in a Focus Group discussion (FGD) to discuss the design and construction plan and to get input, including the required budget plan. During the implementation, regular monthly meeting is gathered to report the progress from Bustanussalatin Foundation as the executor to the BNI Bank as the funder and to all related stakeholders. The report is includes the technical and financial aspects.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Women from Tibang village either individually or in groups are actively involved in BNI Tibang Urban Forest construction. A total of 56 housewives who are divided into 8 groups are involved in the construction of BNI Tibang Urban Forest. Besides, two other villagers employed as security guards. Among other forms of individual involvement by employing local people who have a particular expertise such as stone pairing workers, planters, construction workers. Providing jobs for women at that time was very helpful for them to support their family. While most of the husband are looking for jobs outside the village, their wives working in the project inside the village.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Sanitation and Beautification Department of Banda Aceh Municipality
Institution Type:   Local Government  
Contact Person:   Mirza Yanto
Title:   Sanitation and Beautification Department  
Telephone/ Fax:   +62 (651) 21019
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   mirza_dkp@yahoo.com  
Address:   Jl. Pocut Baren No. 30 Kp. Laksana
Postal Code:   23122
City:   Banda Aceh
State/Province:   Aceh
Country:  

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