Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Energy Resources and Renewable Fuel Indonesia Future

By: Dr.Rudianto Amirta
Lecturer Faculty of Forestry, University Mulawarman-Borneo

As we all know, Indonesia is one of several countries in the world known to have forest areas are still relatively high, in addition to Brazil and Zaire. Indonesia's geographical location is right on the Equator line, make this country as one of the owners of wet tropical forests are still owned by the world today.
Indonesia wet tropical forest areas known to store a variety of biological richness (biodiversity). WWF Indonesia even reported that the forest area in Indonesia, especially those in East Kalimantan (Kayan Mentarang Malinau) has about 15,000 species of plants in each square kilimoter of the region, and the value of this diversity is the highest, when compared to any region in advance earth (Pio, 2008).

Not only that, the forests of Borneo is also known to store the wealth of diverse endemic plant species. 6000 recorded plant species are classified into this classification, including 155 species dipterokarpa an economically and ecologically has a very important role to people's lives in this region. But unfortunately, the potential for a high diversity is not fully felt the benefit, given that most of the wealth of biodiversity is not yet known and the unknown function and usefulness, both economically and ecologically to support human life that inhabit it in a sustainable manner.

Lignocellulose is composed of cellulose, hemicellulose and also ligninKetidaktahuan nature and function will be a major factor and potential cause of ketidakbermanfaatannya forests and a rich source of biomass is lignocellulose content. Today, forests are not only built to produce wood-construction timber to meet the needs of building construction, meubeler well as pulp and paper raw materials alone. Since the last few years, developing ideas and also the potential of forest biomass utilization technologies are big and rich content of this lignocellulosic (lignocellulosic biomass) as a feedstock to produce fuel, energy and chemicals are renewable (Watanabe, 2007).

Lignosellulosa is a term commonly used to describe the main components of a plant constituent, either in the form of wood (wood), and non-tree (non-woody) such as grass, hay and so forth. These components can generally be found starting from the roots, stems and leaves of plants. As shown in Figure 2., Chemically berlignosellulosa biomass will be composed of three main components: cellulose (38-50%), lignin (15-30%), and hemisellulosa (23-32%) (Sierra et al. , 2007).

Today, the use of forest biomass that is rich in content of lignocellulose as penghara (feedstock) in producing environmentally friendly fuel (bioethanol) becomes very important and interesting to be mainly based on three main advantages it has. First, biomass berlignoselulosa a source of raw materials which are renewable (renewable resources), so it can be developed in a sustainable future. Second, the type of fuel in biomass sourced produce almost no emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), thus a very positive impact on the environment.

Closed carbon cycle on the use of fuels derived from biomass that berlignoselulosaKetiga, biomass fuels have economic potential of a highly profitable and significant, especially if associated with the phenomenon of declining production and the ever increasing price of fossil fuels in the future (Cadenas and Cabezudo, 1998; Demirbas , 2007). Moreover, forest biomass, waste wood industry and agriculture that are rich in lignocellulose content is not a food, so their utilization as fuel and energy will not interfere with the availability of food reserves that we have (non-edible biomass).

Especially with regard to bioethanol, the government of Indonesia has prepared a road map or roadmap development, production of renewable fuels. In the roadmap, the government plans to produce bioethanol by using materials sourced berlignosellulosa biomass from forests, the timber industry and agricultural waste to replace the use of food, as it exists today (planned for the years 2016 to 2025).

In response to the plan and as a first step in order to create and fill the bioethanol industry roadmap development of an independent Indonesia, since two years ago we have been conducting a series of studies we focused on efforts to identify and perform the selection of the suitability of the use of several plant species, especially the wood- tropical wood that has the potential to be converted into bioethanol. Identification and selection process we have done by analyzing the chemical content of the wood and the potential for reduced sugar held (after the hydraulic enzymatically) by the tropical forest biomass berlignoselulosa. As this research we do as part of adaptation to the rapidly growing technological advances, particularly in the manufacturing process of bioethanol.

Roadmap development of bio-ethanol industry Indonesia 2006 ~ 2025 (ESDM - Anonymous, 2010) The results of the research we've done shows that some types of tropical forest timber which is known as a pioneer species of secondary forests, fast growing and can adapt to poor soil environment which would be elements of nutrients, and so far not been used and very low economic value as applicable, breadfruit, and sengon Bungur proved to have a very high level of compliance, and potential for development as a major raw material of bioethanol in the future (lignocellulosic biomass). Positive suitability assessment will use the wood as raw material for bioethanol is characterized by the potential of the sugar content is classified as very high tereduksinya, where applicable wood (Artocarpus elasticus) reached 73.59%, sengon (Paraserianthes falcataria) 70.25%, Bungur (Lagerstromia speciosa) 69.06% and breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) 67.84% (w / w). As far as we know, the results of this study is the first findings that show the potential of technology in the manufacture of sugar Variation bioetanolterreduksi a very high level of timber pioneer tropical regions, especially of pioneer species that grows and many encountered in Southeast Asia.

Not only that, the forest and plantation area in Indonesia is also a raw material reserves tremendous energy for Indonesia. Biodiesel and energy pellets can also be developed to exploit the potential of this large biomass. Today, almost every district and city areas, particularly those in Sumatra and Borneo is a center or base of the development of plantations and palm oil processing industry in this country.

Nationally, coconut oil is one of Indonesia in achieving commodity exchange. For 20 years (1985-2005) recorded accretion of oil palm plantation area as much as 837%, this is evidenced by the contribution of oil palm on national export as much as 6%, is also the number one commodity of Indonesia products beyond oil and gas sector. However, the positive impact of the development of the oil palm industry also generates a negative effect on the environment if the waste generated is not well managed.

Mass balance in the palm oil processing industry (Kismanto, 2006-modified; Amirta et al., 2008) If we examine the processing of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) into crude palm oil (CPO), then approximately 45% of the input of fresh fruit processed will eventually turn into solid waste in the form of a shell / shell (shell), fibers (fiber) and oil palm empty fruit bunches (EFB) (Fig. 6). Half of the amount of solid waste is a palm empty fruit bunches. A very large number, considering the amount of fresh oil palm fruit is processed continues to increase from time to time, as well as the capacity of the oil processing industry plantation.

As an example of East Kalimantan Province, currently operates several oil palm plantation companies with the realization that the planting area has reached 714,000 ha with an annual production level of crude palm oil (CPO) of 2.5 million tons (annual production of fresh fruit ± 12, 5 million tons). A large amount of production is supported by the presence of 18 palm oil mills scattered in most areas of this province (Anonymous, 2010). If it is assumed that 20% of waste empty fruit bunches will be generated from the processing of oil per ton of fresh fruit, then at least there are currently about 2.5 million potential waste, which is ready to be harnessed into products of high economic value, one of which is bio-pellets ( pellet energy).

So far the utilization of oil palm solid waste to generate energy is limited as a solid fuel in boilers (boilers), especially for solid waste in the form of shell / shell and fibers. Particularly for the waste palm empty fruit bunches, utilization as a solid fuel boiler has a constraint / obstacle is the high content of water (moisture) 60% and the resulting pollution.

However, the technology development process that has been done, we were able to significantly improve the quality and calorific value of energy produced bio-pellet/pellet products. So far, our results could change padatn waste oil palm empty fruit bunches into alternative energy products with average calorific value or heat of ± 5000 kcal / kg. Not only that, the results of this study is also the first to report findings that the waste oil palm empty fruit bunches can be processed into a source of energy that could have a calorific value / heat are relatively high, reaching a value of 5354 kcal / kg, equivalent to 22.4 MJ / kg.

The product is potentially vast energy pellets to be developed. Industrial development opportunities and bio-pellet production is very dependent on the level of demand for these products on the market of energy, whether originating from within the country (domestic), as well as from abroad. With a calorific value that is owned by the bio-pellets made from waste oil palm empty fruit bunches at this time, ie> 5000 kcal / kg, in fact, is well above the requirements of the Low Rank Coal (LRC) or low-calorie coal required by the Electricity Company State (PLN) for use as fuel pembangit electricity (power plants) nationwide, to support programs of national electricity supply (the heat / heat 3900 ~ 4700 kcal / kg).

PLN needs to LRC was published and delivered in a variety of occasions and in several national media coverage. Citing media coverage of Indonesia at the end of 2009, `PT PLN (Persero) to tender the procurement of low-calorie coal (low rank coal - LRC) to meet the power needs of 3.26 million tons per year`. That means, bio-waste pellets palm empty fruit bunches is a big chance to be developed to meet national energy needs from year to year tend to increase.

Therefore, East Kalimantan and several other provinces which became centers of palm oil plantation and processing likely to be the center of industrial development bio-pellet/pellet energy raw materials of oil palm solid wastes, given the extensive plantations and palm oil production levels which have been held at this time. Not only that, the oil palm plantation development program of 1 million hectares was initiated by local governments will also be synergized with the development of bio-pellet industry in order to realize the capabilities and independence of the region in producing energy from renewable sources they have at this time.

In addition to having on the domestic market, renewable energy products such as bio-pellets of solid waste from palm oil is also a big chance to be exported to overseas. Current trends world's needs for energy pellets are very good products and continue to increase from year to year. Reported by Swaan and Melin (2008) and Ekstrom (2009), each year the countries of Europe and America needs about 14 ~ 15 million tons of pellet energy products, both made of wood, agricultural waste, and so forth. Generally, energy pellets used as fuel for heating purposes in winter. However, the current need for energy pellets tend to increase, along with the development of its use as a fuel substitute for coal substitution for the purposes of existing industries in those countries.

Start from the various explanations that have been given, we sincerely hope we can follow the explanation and the results of this research into an investing opportunity in order to maximize the use of natural resources at our disposal, energy and fuel supply sufficient for the community, especially for those who rural region of residence, about forests and plantations that so far relatively untouched by the reliable supply of energy and fuel as we who live the urban region. Moreover, through these efforts we can actually play an active role in maintaining the environment, save it from global warming is going through a real effort in the form of environmentally friendly energy use, renewable and derived from renewable biomass that we have a lot of this.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Journey To The Clouds (Part. 3)

Final Step to ‘Mordor’

January 20, 2008

A woman walked down the path carrying a bamboo basket on her shoulders. Her cheeks were reddish tanned. As she walked, her old skirt swayed lightly in cool breeze. Next to her, two little boys chatted cheerfully. One of them covered himself with a sarong. They brought a small-size axe and a handmade fishing rod. When I stepped behind them, the little boys suddenly turned back looking at my carrier. A friendly cute smile then came to me. With a shy childish voice, they greeted me, “Mbak, mau kemana?” (Sister, where are you going?).

It was wonderful and surprising. In my normal life, I am the one who agree the words ‘never talk to stranger’. But it didn’t work to those little boys. I walked closer to them and answered, “I’ll go to Bromo. Wanna go with me you guys?”

They looked at me for a while then shaking their heads, still smiling shyly. At the end of the path we parted. Those two boys followed the woman climbed the hill where the green vegetable field waiting for them in serenity of morning.

That was my last day in Ranu Pane.

From Ranu Pane village, I continued my trip to Bromo-Tengger Mountains in Probolinggo regency. It took three hours riding Land Rover from Ranu Pane. The weather was fine though the fog came and went easily. The glorious sandy summit Mahameru was hidden behind the thick fog as we rode down the village. I felt hard to go at first. If only I had longer holidays, I would camp at least a week long in Ranu Pane.

As the Land Rover moved, I tried to record as much memory as my mind can keep. I want to remember the way the little boys greeting me, the freezing night at Ranu Regulo, the floating thin fog above the lake … everything! Well, most of my friends say that I am a nostalgic person. But it’s okay. I don’t mind what they say. Sometimes people need to be nostalgic to see how far they have gone through this life.

At about 11am, after passing the Bantengan Hill, we got the T-intersection to Bromo-Tengger Mountains. The Land Rover turned left tracing the path downward to the wide green savannah dominated with asparagus bushes. Above us, the clear blue sky embraced the earth in natural harmony. No fog at all! The combination of green wide savannah and blue sky was something rare to find in my coastal hometown.

Didn’t want to lose that amazing scenery, I asked my friend to stop the car. I spent 20 minutes to take a look around admiring the great masterpiece of God. I lost my words. I remembered what Domenica Santolina Doone* ever said: I am the dot. Yup, I was like a tiny dot in the middle of savannah. Nothing but the dot! God is great!

Then the Land Rover moved again till the paving block path was end. Now we entered Tengger sand sea. The scenery turned dramatically from gorgeous green into gloomy gray as if we came to another world. The blue sky changed into grayish white. The cold wind blew the sand away everywhere we go. It changed my white veil into something-like-pale-grey color :p.

Far across the sand sea, the Tengger caldera lied together with Mount Bromo and Mount Batok. If you ever watch Peter Jackson’s Trilogy of Lord of the Rings, you will find that Tengger caldera looks similar like Mordor’s Mount Doom where the two Hobbits - Frodo and Sam - threw the ring away. Once again the Land Rover stopped to give me a chance to look around. Unfortunately, it took only five minutes since the thick fog started to float around us.

By the noon, we finally arrived at Mount Bromo. It is one of Indonesian’s active volcanoes and very popular of its beautiful sunrise. Once a year, Tengger people around Mount Bromo hold a Hinduism ritual ceremony called ‘Kasada’. In this ceremony, they will throw various crops and even livestock into the caldera in order to express their thankful to the God.

My friend parked our Land Rover in front of the Hinduism Temple near the mountain area. Next, I should guide my two friends – Odah and Yuni – to the peak of Mount Bromo. We took a short hike to the foot of Mount Bromo then we climbed 250 stepladders to the peak. For my two friends, this experience might be their historical moments. It was their first hiking and they had taken a long windy road to get it.

To tell the truth, they were the main reason I took this trip. I wanted to show them that hiking is not a ridiculous thing like some people usually say. I wanted they see the wonderful world I used to see. Instead, the most important thing was, I wanted to make their dream comes true.

Eleanor Roosevelt was truly right that the world belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. That day, Odah and Yuni had lived their dream to hike. And I was proud to be part of their dreams. I believe they’ll never forget this trip.

On my way back to Malang, I hummed softly Michael Buble’s song against the sound of the Land Rover machine:

I see skies of blue, clouds of white

Bright blessed day, dark sacred night

And I think to myself

What a wonderful world …

Finally, here I’d like to thank my Dear God, Allah the Almighty and everyone who had made this trip possible: Debi, Sofia, Brother Dodo, Ali, Andi, Keke, Sutris and Yudi. Nice hiking with you all guys. I’ll miss this time!!! It’s a kinda bless having you as my friends.

Last but not least, thanks to YOU for spending your time to read this journal. See ya next time :)

*Domenica Santolina Doone was the main characters of Sharon Creech’s Bloomability, a teens novel that I love to read. So motivational and inspirational!

Journey To The Clouds (Part. 2)

A Walk to Remember

“Thousand miles journey must begin with a single step”

-An adventurer

January 17, 2008

The first step:

It was Thursday. The weather in my hometown was clear and fine. The wide blue sky stretched along the horizon. It was near perfect since I had prayed for this weather two weeks before in every single day. The same as always, I went to the airport on my own carrying my 60 liter carrier. As a matter of fact, after six years I didn’t carry it, suddenly it seems too big for me :p.

My plane took off at 9.45am. The flight was nice except the last twenty minutes. I was sleeping on my seat when the plane experienced a light turbulence. The stewardess then announced we went for bad weather forward. Well, I was so worry that time. I found myself holding my breath and gripping the armrest tightly. Thanks God it didn’t take a long time.

I called Debi as soon as I arrived at Juanda Airport Surabaya. He couldn’t fetch me because of his works but he already arranged everything for me. From the airport, I continue my trip to Malang by a travel car Debi rented for me. I spent my first day visiting some old friends. They welcomed me warmly like a long-long-lost-friend. We talked so much about our past and I enjoyed every word we shared. After that short reunion, I headed to my senior’s house where I stayed during a week visitation.

January 18, 2008

The second step:

The next day I repacked my carrier leaving all the hiking stuff inside it. I had planned to hike on the third day. Debi ‘kidnapped’ me in the middle of the night. It was the craziest part of this trip. He made me lift that 60 liter carrier in sleepy eyes and taking me for two hours driving to his house in Pasuruan. If only he wasn’t my best friend, I would never do it. If there’s somebody who will never change, he must be Debi!

In his car, we talked so much about the times we were together in the university until finally he grumbled, “You know what? University is like a labyrinth for me. Once I enter the maze, I will never find the way out. So please stop questioning me when I will graduate from the uni.”


January 19, 2008

The third step:

The real journey really came on the third day. I headed to my old campus. As I got there, Debi and my hiker friends had already waited for me with a classic Land Rover behind them. Woohoo, it was so damn cool!!

There were twelve of us altogether in a Land Rover (what?). It was lucky that we have our slim body so there was no big problem for us. We rode for an hour leaving the city of Malang to Tumpang regency. Beautiful green scenery knocked our eyeballs along the way. It was like a giant painting on the earth canvas. There was no time for us to take our sight out of the window. That’s why I always longing for this journey back!

We stopped for a short rest at Poncokusumo-Tumpang and continuing our four hours long trip to Ranu Pane Village on the foot of Mount Semeru. We drove through the 2 meters wide paving block path. On the left and right side of us were deep gorges. It is dangerous driving here unless having a good driving skill. Years ago, I strongly chose villagers’ truck to take me to the village. I thought it was more safety since the villagers know every inch of the path so well.

As our Land Rover climbed to Ranu Pane Village, the temperature started to drop colder. It could be a special problem for me who spends life most in a tropical city whose temperature range between 32 – 36 Celcius degree. For my lucky, it was not my first time hiking on Semeru region. I reached 3676 meters above sea level Mahameru summit in 1996 so I didn’t get any difficulty to acclimatize with the drop of temperature.

By the evening, we entered the area of Ranu Pane. In front of us was a giant Mahameru sandy summit. It looked gorgeous in thin foggy veil and golden sunset. I regretted that we didn’t have any chance to take pictures of the amazing moment (my friend said I could shoot it the next morning on our way back home, but actually as we went down, the thick fog covered whole village in completely white. I am so sorry, readers …). It was the first annoying thing I found in my trip.

The second, because of some reason such as weather and landslides, the mountain officer didn’t permit us to hike until Ranu Kumbolo in 2800 meters height. All we could do then was taking a five minutes walk passing Ranu Pane to Ranu Regulo. Oh, for your information, the word ‘ranu’ means ‘lake’ in English. We camped a night at Ranu Regulo. I did my evening and night pray at the small quay near the lake under the bright starry night sky. Thank you, Allah, for giving me one more chance to back here.

January 20, 2008

The fourth step:

I woke up early in the morning. The temperature was still freezing everyone inside our tent. After doing my morning pray, I slipped into the warmth of sleeping bag waiting for sunrise. When the soft light of the sun appeared from the eastern hill, I zipped my windbreaker and left the tent to the quay. Sitting at the quay I saw a blanket of thin fog floating on the lake. It was beautiful and mysterious at the same time. Far across the quay, there was a Tengger man fishing alone.

Tengger tribe is native inhabitant of Ranu Pane, just like Sherpa in Nepal. They make their life by farming. They are physically characterized by their short body, white skin and reddish cheeks. Most of them live their life in a pure simplicity. I was still sitting at the quay when four Tengger boys passed by the path. I guessed they were about 8 or nine years old. The smallest boy brought a small axe while the others carried a heavy bunch of firewood on their little shoulders.

As they passed our campsite, they stopped to look around. I didn’t know what kind of feeling it was but I took a pity at them. Their ragged clothes and boots remind me of the ones I wore thirty years ago. I called them and asked them to have breakfast with us. The smile of happiness on their cute face really touched me when they walked shyly to me. Well, I am a teacher. Children have been the biggest part of my life. But these little Tengger boys inspired me more. That time – while the little boys were having their breaksfast – I wished one day I can be a teacher here, in Ranu Pane village.

Next, at about 9.30am, we packed our stuff and prepared to leave Ranu Regulo. The next destination was waiting for us. (To be continued)

Journey To The Clouds

I count every single day by thinking about my trip to Mount Semeru next month. Alright it’s not my first experience hiking there. But still I need to prepare anything since it had been six years I didn’t go hiking. I did it during my years at uni (eventhough my parents had never permitted me to. I was the black sheep of the family). That time I joint KAPA ’85, the nature lover club at my campus. Our activities were not only hiking (mountaineering) but also rock climbing, caving, white water rafting, outdoor journalism and natural resources conservation. I had tried them all though finally I chose mountaineering and rock climbing as my specialization. Semeru is one of the highest mountains in Indonesia located in Bromo-Semeru-Tengger National Park, East Java. Later I will write further about this beautiful mountain

I went hiking and climbing regularly along my uni years in Malang-East Java. I totally stopped doing it when I did my final thesis. As I graduated from the uni, I went back to my hometown, Balikpapan-East Borneo. I worked as a journalist for about four months then working as a teacher till now. There’s no mountainous area in my hometown and outdoor activity wasn’t as popular as in Malang. Fortunately, my school has an annual field trip program. It’s like a summer camp in US but this program is focused on environmental education and character building.

I always give a hand in this program since it reminds so much of my uni years I spent mostly staying outdoor from one mountain to another. I like to take my students jungle trekking along Sungai Wain Protected Forest and showing them how to tie webbing into simple harness we used for rapelling and flying fox. I am so glad to find that my outdoor skill is useful for others.

One day, Odah, one of my teacher friends told me her dream to climb a mountain. Surprisingly, she had been dreaming about it since she was in high school. At first I couldn’t believe what she said. You know, Odah is so calm and feminine, not the black sheep like I am :p. Beside that, Odah is married woman with a five-years-old-son. Man, I couldn’t imagine what she is going to say to her hubby about hiking. My parents had four children and they never permitted me to go hiking. It must be uneasy to her hubby, I told myself.

“There’s nothing to worry about my hubby and my son,” Odah said for sure. “I don’t want to live in dream. I should live this dream. And you’re the one here who can help me.”

I was speechless for a while. I wasn’t sure what should I say. I spent five minutes only to gaze at her figure from top to toe. She looked more like a porcelain doll, how can she dream to climb a mountain? No way!

“It’s okay if you can’t take me to the mountain soon. I will wait till that time,” she shrugged as if she understood what I was thinking of.

I was still quiet. At one side I couldn’t believe what she said and on the other side I felt proud of myself. Gee, I had never been so important like this before. It felt like being invited to the Annual Academy Award :p.

“Umm, I can’t decide it yet. Sorry.” I broke the ice.

“Come on, don’t you miss to go hiking again? Don’t fool yourself. We should do it soon before we’re getting older, you know?”

I bit my lower lip in hesitate. I felt the black sheep inside me was waking up from its hibernation. For a moment I heard Britney Spears’ Oops I Did It Again played over my mind. All I could imagine next was the yellowish green savannah and the gorgeous evening sky. In front of me, Odah made a smiley face.

“Gotcha! So, when will we go for sure?” she burst into laugh.

I sighed (but smiling on my mind!).

“Please don’t look so happy like that. At least, give me a chance to check my saving account, okay?”

Along The Highway It Comes

Years ago, before Lapindo mud tragedy, I really loved to travel along the highway between Malang-Surabaya, East Java. It was two hours long trip and I didn’t have any special reasons why I loved it. Simply it was just because I loved to see the beautiful sceneries during the trip. Yes, it was. I could see the gorgeous Mount Arjuno stands beside Mount Penanggungan on the left side of the highway. On the other side of it, I could see amazing Mount Semeru in her blue shadows. Not only those beautiful mountains, but I could also refresh my eyes by staring at the wide green rice fields and savannah. If you take this trip in the morning or close to evening, the scenery would be more heavenly beautiful. It made me addict to do it more and more.

Actually, I was not the only one who had this strange hobby. I had a friend for this, but he was crazier than me. When he was in the blue mood, he would go to the bus station and wusssss ….. He was off to Surabaya. As he arrived, he would take another bus and heading back to Malang again. Just for looking at the scenery along the highway. Hahaha. I had never thought that there was an odd man like him.

Once we had an experience traveling this route together. One morning, I met him on my way home from campus. He sat in front of the library wearing white t-shirt and his fave stone-washed jeans. His yellow The North Face was carried on his back.

“Have you had breakfast?” he asked.

“Nope. I’m late,” I replied shortly.

“Come on. Go breakfast with me.”


“Surabaya. Through the highway. I treat you.” He grinned.

Well you know, I couldn’t let the good chance useless. So I went with him together to the bus station. The weather was great. The sun shone softly warming the world around us and the sky was brightly blue, almost as blue as The North Face on my back. In other words, it was a good day to trip!

We didn’t talk a lot on the bus. I was busy with my Wrigley Spear Mint in my mouth while my friend sat quietly most of the time. I thought he was in his blue mood once again. I saw him sank deep in his daydream. He tore his bus ticket into pieces and every five minutes he threw a piece of it to someone’s curly hair in front of him.

I felt uneasy and worry that that curly-haired man would be angry. I nudged him to remind but he just blinked an eye and said, “He doesn’t mind, believe me.”


Soon after we got Surabaya we had our brunch (breakfast and lunch) at Plaza Tunjungan. Still there wasn’t any meaningful conversation. It seemed that my friend had serious trouble that made him dropped to silent. So why did he ask me to go with him? Really I didn’t understand. Odd friend, I told myself.

We finished our meal when the blue sky changed into cloudy grey. As we sat on the bus home, the rain started to flick against the window leaving wet dots on the glass. The world outside was dramatically turned into gloomy paintings.

“What in this world can make you so sad?” My (odd) friend broke the ice between us.

I scrunched up my mouth for a while and replied him, “Many causes, I can’t tell you exactly. But the saddest moment was when my mother passed away.”

He stared at his feet.

“Then how can you be so strong?”

Our bus now entered the highway. The rain was over. Outside the window a wide green savannah freshen up everybody’s eyes. But I chose to look up the sky.

“Have a look,” I pressed my index finger onto the window. “Can you see that silver line at the edge of the cloud?”

My friend leaned over me getting closer to the window.

“So what?”

“It means that every trouble has a good side. That cloud is like the troubles we had and that silver line represents all possibility for us to be better. Imagine, what will happen to the silver line if the wind blows the clouds away?”

He went mute for a minute.

“What will happen is … the sky turns bright, or … there will come the rainbow.”

“Alright, which one is better, cloud or rainbow?”

“Of course the rainbow is better, are you kidding me?”

“If it is so, why do you feel so sad? No matter what your problem is, you know you have better choice kept behind it. Go and find.”

He smiled at me.

“What a words! How can you be so smart like this, huh?”

I made a face.

“Not that smart I think. I adopt those words from my high school English textbook: every cloud has silver lining,” I giggled.

Anyway, when we arrived at Malang, my friend looked more cheerful. I didn’t know whether it was because of the beautiful scenery along the highway or it was just because of that idiom.

Before parting at the campus, he said, “Thanks for the advice. I’ll keep it on my mind.”

“OK, but please don’t ask me to go with you when you get mad next time. It’s boring!”

Again he laughed as if he had forgotten his troubles.

“No, I promise. If I get mad again next time, I’ll look up the sky and I know everything’s fine. There’s no need to worry.”

I shrugged lightly leaving him alone, “Well, I hope so. See you dude.”

Life On Rainy Friday

The world turns on and on.

The flick of raindrop now becomes a lullaby embracing me all the night long. To my ears the distant thunder sounds like an acoustic percussion of natural orchestra. Really, several days raining made me getting familiar with them all. Even the cold air I breathe gives me an exotic sensation inside my lungs. Once more there’s no warm golden sunlight to greet pedestrians on the street. But life doesn’t need any choice. It keeps going on no matter the picture of gray cloudy sky still hanging outside my window.

I spent my last Friday to have jungle trekking to the heart of Sungai Wain (in English it means Wain River) Protected Forest. I went there with my grade 9 students in correlation with their Biology project. SWPF is pure tropical rainforest in East Borneo. It is a living laboratory where the Dutch scientist Gabriela Fredrikson did her research on sunbear (Helarctos malayanus) population.

Having jungle trekking on such rainy days actually could be funny and challenging experience especially for my students. The hard rain the days before had changed the trek line into a 3 kilo meters blanket of slippery mud. It was exactly where the worm leech family hid. A group of mosquito welcomed us every step we took. Every fifteen minutes I heard a student screamed when his/her body successfully landed on that soft sticky mud. It felt like rollerblading along the jungle trek :p. Lucky for us, the sky was a little bit brighter. The soft sunshine was shining through the canopy of leaves above us.

As we walked deeper to the inner side of SWPF I wished to see the legendary sunbear or the species of orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus). I thought it must be brilliant if I could see them right on their habitat. But the only animal I found was a giant centipede crawling on the trunk of tropical tree. Eka, our guide said that sunbear and orangutan were completely shy and sensitive mammals. It meant we couldn’t find them easily.

It took about two hours to finish the trek. When we got to the camp, the rain poured down once again. After having lunch, the boys went to the close mosque to do Friday praying and the girls prayed at the camp. At 2pm we made our way to Tanah Merah beach. Based on the schedule arranged by the Biology teacher, the students had a final project observing mangrove ecosystem there.

During that one hour trip, the weather didn’t seem to be better. I let myself lost in the green scenery outside the bus and wondering what I am going to write in my daily journal. Writing about another rainy day would be so boring if I couldn’t smartly alternate my words. It is the hardest part in writing an interesting journal since I am not a professional writer. Describing what I have experienced on my own words and way is something what I am doing right now. In most part of its process I often let my instinct leading my way to the source of inspiration. Write it or leave it. That’s all.

Finally it didn’t take along time to stay on Tanah Merah beach. As soon as the students finished their Biology project, we were heading back to the school. The mangrove was 300 meters in front of me but I was too lazy to walk under the rain all over again. I think I’d be better choose another day. The mangrove can wait.

Well, the world turns on and on.

Should I miss the sunset on that rainy Friday evening?

Monday, May 5, 2008


By: Erasmus Owusu Henaku, Ghana

Ecoturism occurs in wilderness areas, often protected areas. The world’s poorest people usually live in and around these areas. Conservationists role is to help to establish a balance between the needs and demands of the protected area site and all resource user including local residents, national/international companies and tourists.

Given its potential costs and benefits, conservationists have mixed feelings about ecoturism. It presents difficulties and obstacles to the mission of preserving biological diversity and promoting sustainable development. It may hinder conservation and development activities.

Of greater significant ecoturism presents opportunities to advance conservation and development goals. It offers ways to capture more attention and funds for conservatioan and development schemes in areas that attract visitors.

Conservationists need examine the specific issue areas where ecoturism intersects with their conservation mission. Some of the main issue areas where ecoturism and conservation intersect and where problems and opportunities are presented are:

- Protected area management.
- Sustainable development in conifer zone areas.
- Environmental policy and
- Directing consumer demand.

Within each of these five issue areas, conservationists can devise many strategies to maximize the opportunities presented by ecoturism and minimize its problems. One of the most pressing issue areas is protected area management because so many parks are experiencing great increases in visitation and are totally unprepared.

One of the best strategies to help parks be in better position to manage and benefit from tourists, is to promote a comprehensive planning process and assist in creating ecoturism plans.


By: Erik Konsenkranius, Estonia

Estonia is a small Baltic State on the coast of Baltic Sea. The area under forests is about 1,819,000 ha (42% of total area). The greater part of the trees are pines, spuces and birches.

The state of Estonian forests is annually estimated through monitoring and inventories. The damaged area of forests is 4800 ha. Most of the damages are caused by animals (moose, roe deer and beavers) and by Heterobasidion annosum or Armillaria sp. The damages caused by air pollution are not very acute yet.

Our biggest problem is how to manage our forests. Our country is now in economic crisis and almost everybody sees a way of escape in forest business. Our timber export volume increases every day and the potential risk of damage, caused by people, increase too. Total feelings in Estonian forests is officially about 3,007.5 th. Solid m3, but the actual cut will be different.

Our biggest trade partners are Finland, Russia and Sweden. We sell timber and saw-mill products to Finland and Sweden, and buy forest machinery from Sweden and Germany. This is our second problem. How much to use machinery?

On 15-17 Feb 1993 our university was visited by Prof. Dr. Hans-Jurgen von Maydell. During his tree-day visit he explained to us the world forestry situation. He advised us to think about forestry mechanization. Is it right to spend a lot of foreign currency to buy big machinery from abroad and minimize the number of forestry workers?

Is ist right for us to copy forestry economic policy form big industrial states like Germany, Canada, etc., or created our own policy? How to decrease unemployment in forestry and what to do with those people who live in forests, but are now out of work? How much does big machinery damage our forests soils?

The answer we must find ourselves, but friends and advisers are always welcome! I think that this is not only our problem. The world is one for us and we must be thinking all together …..


By: Tasso Resende de Azevedo, Brazil

The Eucalyptus hatd its natural habitat in Australia, but was transplanted with success all over the world. In Brazil, its cultivation was developed to provide firewood for the trains of the CEEP – Companhia Paulista de Estrada de ferro in the 60’s.

However, the exceptional wood characteristics and the perfect acclimatization of (variety) species to the most diverse climatic conditions and soils that Brazil, presents position the Eucalyptus between the most important species used in the reforestation in the country.

In the late 60’s and during the 70’s and 80’s, a policy of low taxes encouraged the research and the expansion of the areas planted with Eucalyptus. Nowadays the species supply basic elements for paper and pulp industries, charcoal for siderurgy, wood for panels, boards and lamp-posts among others. These product are exported too many countries.

The most significative species in Brazil are Eucalyptus grandis and Eucalyptus urophyla. For these two, a few years of research were carried out and if in the beginnings of 70’s its cut-age was 15-20 years, today the companies are working with cycles of 4-7 years and a productivity of 50-70 st/ha/yeas. The clones produced in some places can produce more than 100 st/ha/year. The cost of production is around US$ 1700,00/ha on the first rotation and US$ 650,00/ha on the second and subsequent.

Besides these many others are used. One that has interesting destiny Eucalyptus citriodora; essential oils produced from its leaves are used in the pharmaceutical industry.

Some institutes like IPT – Technological Research Institute – are studying the possibilities of using the Eucalyptus as timber-wood in civil buildings, houses, the furniture industry and others.

But it’s not all wonderful, if on one hand the Eucalyptus together with other exotic species, helps to reduce the pressures on the tropical forests, having, for example, to obtain of pulp and paper companies their products exclusively from the plantations, on the other hand many of areas virgin forests were clear cut to plant Eucalyptus, like in the north of Espirito Santo State.