Prior to 2016, communities of six villages in Talaud Islands, North Sulawesi, had to struggle amid severe ecosystem damage. This is due to since the 1970s, chemical pesticides are constantly being spread (even by planes) to all areas of their coconut plantations targeting pests eating their copra, which is the island’s top list commodity.
Since then, Talaud that also known as porodisa (heaven) given by Portuguese since their first footstep into the island, has inevitably turned into a toxic island. The consequences are so complex, ranging from community refusal to consume their own coconuts, illegal logging and poaching endangered Sampiri (a local name for Red and Blue Lory) in the protected forests, all for the reason of income generating activities.
IDEP came into the island two and half years ago to do the inclusive conservation concept that engaged in Biodiversity Protection and Sustainable Livelihoods program in the six villages. Since then, their situation has smoothly indicated a promising change. Through the permaculture approach, they have been successfully developing the family home gardens for the daily consumption, generating income from the selling of it’s surplus and processed products managed by themselves, rehabilitating coconut plantations, running conservation and stopping illegal poaching of endemic species on the island.
Later on, what they have started then gets a very strong support from the local government. In fact, on Earth Day celebration last April, local government established those six villages as Conservation Villages and expanded the rehabilitation of coconut plantations as a regional program. In addition, at the same time, Sampiri is proclaimed as their local mascot.
The effort to bring porodisa back to Talaud is now continue with the Explore Talaud Ecotourism program, which video can be seen above. In this ecotourism model, all the visitors are invited to experience camping in the forest, birds watching, organic gardening, food tasting right from the community garden and many interesting potentials there.
Visit Save Porodisa or Facebook group Talaud Lestari to find more about how local community in Talaud Islands has empowered themselves and conserve their environment at the same time through inclusive conservation approach IDEP has been working on in collaboration with all the stakeholders. (Ed)