FP UB Lecturer Invites the Residents of Tulungrejo Village, Ngantang to be Proud as Guardians of Land and Water Sources

Saturday, (7/10, Prof. Dr. Edzo Velkamp and Dr. Marife D. Corre from the University of Gottingen- Germany, guests of the Department of Land, FP UB together with the Center for Tropical Agroforestry Study team visited Tulungrejo Village, Ngantang District. This village is a center for coffee development during the Dutch era, it was currently one of the villages for research, student field practice and community service (pengmas). This visit is a series of visits from previous guests on September 1 2023, namely Dr. Erika Speelman and Prof. Meine van Noordwijk from Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands, Dr. Grace Villamor from SCION Crown Research Institute, New Zealand, Dr. Ajit Singh from the University of Nottingham in Malaysia, and Dr. Prasit Wangpakapattanawong from Chiang Mai University, Thailand. Coming to Tulungrejo Village, Ngantang District. Their first impression are about fresh air, beautiful views and friendly villagers.” The guests were invited to explore the village landscape transect to recognize the diversity of agroforestry that was organized and maintained by the community based on local wisdom. Agroforestry in this area is maintained to keep the balance of economic interests of its owners with the spirit of maintaining the ecosystem’s environmental services. On farmer-owned land, agroforestry is generally more complex and has a high diversity of plants, such as coffee-based agroforestry with the shade of durian, avocado, jengkol/petai, surian and jackfruit.

Farmers tend to choose trees that have high economic value to meet their daily needs. Agroforestry in production forests under the management of Perum Perhutani is generally simpler or has lower plant diversity, such as agroforestry based on pine and elephant grass or pine with coffee. The spirit of protecting this ecosystem is based on the bitter experience of the past, that the sloping land in Tulungrejo village was used for seasonal planting without applying correct and appropriate soil conservation principles, so that this village experienced flooding and much of the land experienced landslides.

The foreign guest from the Department of Land, FP UB also took part in the community service activities of FP UB lecturers as an observer. On September 1 2023, after Friday prayers, around 30 representatives of village community leaders, village heads, village secretaries and village officials and representatives of surrounding villages arrived at Tulungrejo Village hall to attend the community service for lecturers from the Department of Land, FP UB with the theme “Connecting the Sense of Excellence Mixed Gardens in Tulungrejo Village, Ngantang District.”

The community service was also attended by the Secretary of Ngantang District Head. This community service was guided by facilitators, Rizki Maulana Ishaq MS and Mila Oktavia Mardiani, SP, MS. The first connection was conveyed by Prof. Didik Suprayogo by inviting the people of Tulungrejo village to be proud that “Tulungrejo Village is the dream village of Jogotirto”. Jogotirto is a Javanese term which means water keeper. In the long term, the Tulungrejo Village community, with their local wisdom, is able to maintain 63% of the total village area as land cover which can function as a forest hydrological function. This forest hydrological function means that if heavy rain occurs, more than 90% of the rainwater can enter the soil through the infiltration process and some of it is absorbed by the leaf canopy. Less than 10% becomes surface runoff, so that it is healthy for the environment and does not cause flooding in downstream areas. Due to the large buffering capacity of rainwater by land cover, water that enters the ground can become an input for clean water sources. The results of testing the quality of water in water sources in this buffer area are not inferior to the quality of bottled water with well-known trademarks in Indonesia. These water sources still continue to flow during the dry season. This condition means that Tulungrejo Village can be declared Jogotirto’s ideal village which should be proud of and receive appreciation for providing environmental services to downstream communities, and on the other hand, the village community gets a sustainable source of income from the agroforestry system.

Dr. Syarul Kurniawan invited Tulungrejo farmers to look at the economic potential of agroforestry, especially the use of livestock waste to be processed into organic fertilizer as a substitute for artificial fertilizers which are currently increasingly expensive and rare. This is based on the abundant availability of cow dung waste as raw material for organic fertilizer because the average farmer in Tulungrejo village has 2 – 3 cows. Mr. Syahrul facilitated farmers in understanding the function of organic fertilizer to maintain soil fertility. In addition, farmers were also given instructions on how to make compost from cow dung waste and its application to the farmer’s land.

Prof. Kurniatun Hairiah, with a demonstration tool about the role of earthworms in loosening the soil, which had been prepared before, demonstrated to farmers that land management through agroforestry was carried out to maintain soil health. A mixture of plants in an agroforestry system can provide a large and varied amount of litter. The various types of litter found on the ground surface certainly influence the speed of litter decomposition. Litter on the soil surface is useful for covering the surface of the soil so that it can reduce surface runoff and prevent soil erosion, as well as being useful as a food source for earthworms and improving soil fertility. Earthworms as an indicator of soil fertility can develop well in agroforestry systems and by demonstrating using planar cages, earthworms can improve macro soil pores which can have an impact on high soil infiltration, thereby reducing surface runoff and increasing water storage in land system. [fpub/didiks/pon/ UB PR/ Trans. Iir]