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Story Publication logo October 12, 2022

Settlers Destroy, We Replant (bahasa Indonesia)


boats on a river

The tropical rainforest on Nusakambangan Island, Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia is very important...


This story excerpt was translated from bahasa Indonesia. To read the original story in full, visit Media Indonesia. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.

The Nusakambangan forest was once cleared by migrants, destroying the water springs. Residents of the hamlet are coming together to reforest it.

The sad story happened 32 years ago in 1990. "Hundreds of residents were experiencing a clean water crisis," said Thomas Heri Wahyono, Head of Lempong Pucung Hamlet, Ujung Alang Village, Kampung Laut, Cilacap, Central Java.

The crisis occurred because the spring water turned murky, even brownish in color due to being mixed with mud.

The water comes from a spring on Nusakambangan Island called Jambe Sewu. Previously, the source flowed clear water for residents.

Changes occurred after a number of migrants entered Nusakambangan. "At that time there was a large company in Jakarta that cultivated Cavendish bananas. They cleared the land and brought in hundreds of workers," Wahyono recalls.

However, some time later, the company was plagued by problems. The workers
were disappointed. They took up other activities, including clearing the forest into plantation and agricultural areas. They also invited newcomers, and their number reached 900 families.

Nusakambangan Forest: Wahyono, Head of Lempong Pucung Hamlet, Ujung Alang Village, Kampung Laut Subdistrict, Cilacap, Central Java, in a forest area on Nusakambangan Island that is still in good condition. Image by Lilik Darmawan/Media Indonesia. Indonesia, 2022.

Spring: Wahyono shows a spring that is right on the edge of Nusakambangan Island. Image by Lilik Darmawan/Media Indonesia. Indonesia, 2022.