IISM and The German Embassy Work Program in Singkep Island

Since around three hundred years ago, Singkep island, which is located in the Lingga regency, Province of Riau Islands, had become one of the largest tin mine site in the world. However, as the mining activities undertaken by majority of local people and some mining companies have been closed, the former mining areas are left abandoned.

These abandoned land caused pollution and impact to environmental degradation. Eg, worsening soil structure and decreasing organic matter content of plants. Land degradation is increasingly inevitable. The ex-mining areas can no longer be used in agriculture and forestry activities, though actually these activities can support the people who live around the area.

This is the background of the program organized by IISM and the German embassy in Jakarta. The program focuses on the rehabilitation of mined area in Singkep. The program that use BioRehab technique is aimed to neutralizes soil pH, increasing the rate of natural degradation processes, improve soil fertility and soil granular structure, and also rebuild soil productivity to achieve sustainable crop production.

BioRehab is an environmentally friendly technique of land rehabilitation. This technique optimizes the role of soil microorganisms so that the soil fertility can be restored and sufficient quality for planting. In the early stages, IISM planted lagume cover crop and fast growing species vegetations. Both of these species can be used as an indicator that the land capacity has been returned and ready to support agriculture and plantation activities. At a later stage, when the land capacity has been improved, another type of vegetation, which should have economic value, for instance in the form of timber products for the local community or producing food for cattle, will be planted.

The program’s goal is to show an environmentally friendly model of ex-mine site rehabilitation that can be used as farms and plantations, for the sustainable community development. IISM and the German Embassy expected that  the project may have a greater impact in improving the living condition of local communities in the long term.

In particular, women’s involvement in the project will be a particular concern, especially in the stages of planting and monitoring stages. In a larger scale, this program is expected to be a model of household-based economic improvement. The program can also be a solution to improving the lives of women who live around site project, as we know they are sometimes marginalized by tin mining activities. Through this project, the productive land will increase employment opportunities for households and women who own the ex-tin mining areas.

Author: Fitria Yuniarti

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