The Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation (Kehati) gave awards on Wednesday to six individuals who made significant contributions to protecting the country’s biodiversity.
The namesake award entered its eighth installment this year and has been given to dozens of independent environmental activists from many regions in the country.
“Without instruction or assistance from the government, they are saving the environment with their own initiatives,” Kehati chairman Ismid Hadad said.
The panel of judges selected the six winners from a pool of 88 applicants after categorizing them based on a number of criteria.
“Some of the criteria includes positive impacts they bring to the community, the sustainability of their activities and their efforts in doing something outside of their jobs and responsibilities,” selection jury head Eko Baroto Walujo said.
The awards have six categories: Prakarsa Lestari Kehati for individuals or groups, Pendorong Lestari Kehati for public service organizations or government, Peduli Lestari Kehati for businesspeople, Cipta Lestari Kehati for scientists or academicians, Citra Lestari Kehati for mass media or artists and Tunas Lestari Kehati for youngsters.
This year, Prakarsa Lestari Kehati was awarded to Aziil Anwar from West Sulawesi for his work in rehabilitating mangrove forests in his village of Majene.
As for Pendorong Lestari Kehati, the winner was Januminro, a 53-year-old civil servant from Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan.
He has served as head of the forestry department in Palangkaraya since 2009.
Januminro was awarded for successfully rehabilitating peatland in the area.
“Growing back peatland is not easy because it is a natural process with little intervention from humans. But he managed to do that. That is a remarkable innovation,” Eko, who is a senior scientist at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences’ (LIPI) Research Center for Biology, told The Jakarta Post.
Januminro got the idea for restoring peat swamp forests following a period of forest fires in the country, including in Kalimantan.
He started work on several hectares of peatland between Palangkaraya and Banjarmasin in 1998.
As of now, Januminro has been able to restore 10 hectares of peat swamp forests.
The winner in the business category was Ambarwati Esti, who runs a company called CV Arum Ayu based in South Tangerang, Banten, which promotes local foods.
Other winners ware Achmad Subagio from Jember, East Java, who developed local staple foods in marginalized areas; Agustinus Sasundu from Sangihe Islands in North Sulawesi for utilizing bamboo to create traditional musical instruments; and an ecosystem study group from Semarang, Central Java, that has campaigning for the conservation of mangroves in Teluk Awur, Jepara.