University of East Anglia Gunung Halimun ethnobotanical expedition, Java 1995

Heather Bailey

The nine person multi-disciplinary team included three people from the University of East Anglia, UK and six people from the Biological Sciences Club of Jakarta, Indonesia. Research focused on the perception and use of forest resources by local communities within the area surrounding Gunung Halimun National Park on Java. Ethnobotanical information was collected from Desa Cisarua, North Halimun and Desa Citorek, West Halimun. Citorek is the seat of the Kasepuhan community. Additional baseline socio-economic data and land use information was collected using PRA techniques. Vegetation plots were made within the park boundaries to assess the impact of the collection of forest resources on vegetation structure. These studies showed that forest categories were only known to key Kasepuhan figures and this knowledge was dying out. The Kasepuhan land management system plays an important role in agriculture, but is eroding, and outside agencies are exerting a greater influence. However, people were generally aware of the need to protect the forest as it provides vital resources.

Project update: 22/3/97. The team from UEA and the Biological Sciences Club (BScC) of Jakarta spent five months near the Gunung Halimun National Park in west Java, Indonesia. The project discovered that the people of West Halimun have very impressive knowledge of their local area. The team increased awareness of the importance of this area. It has also revealed to the National Park authorities the conflicts between local people and the park, and discussed how these problems could be resolved. BScC members expressed interest in setting up a community development programme in the villages studied (H. Bailey in litt. 1996).