The Historical Background
Environmentally fragile areas on Java which are characterized with high population density, rough topography, low carrying, capacity, lack of off-farm job opportunities, and small land holdings tends to suffer from deforestation, soil degradation, flood and drought, as well as malnutrition problems. Gunungkidul District in which Wanagama was established represents such areas which cover an extensive portion of the island of Java.
In earlier times the upland of Gunungkidul was covered with evergreen mixed forest. In the 18th century some of the forest was converted into a cash crop estate but this crop was then abandoned. Afterwards, other forest trees were planted in the already barren area, but teak was more suitable.
During the Japanese occupation (1942-1945) severe cutting in the teak forest were carried out for their military war industry. The deforestation had continued during independence war (1945-1950) and after, causing further damages to the land and environment due to the lack of control and unstable situations. This un-proper use of forest lands has become the source of environmental degradation (soil erosion, siltation, flood and drought).
Faculty of Forestry, Gadjah Mada University was born after the independence and is very concerned with the aforementioned problems and actively has been supporting and participating in the efforts of sustainable development on the environmentally fragile areas.
Wanagama is a forest work field about 600 ha belongs to the Faculty of Forestry, Gadjah Mada University. It is located in the up-land of Gunungkidul District about 36 km south of the campus of Gadjah Mada University, and was established in 1966. Since the establishment Wanagama has been used for research, training, education, and extension activities. Wanagama has contributed to the local community and nation in environmental and rural development. In 1989 the government granted an award to Dr. Oemi H. Suseno as recognition for her dedicated service to Wanagama in promoting rural development and environmental protection (Kalpataru Award).
Wanagama was designed to establish a field work centre for :
a. Training and education for students, farmers and extension workers.
b. Research for students and staff members for identifying the major problem to develop environmentally fragile area in proper sustainable bases.
c. Extension work activities to increase the awareness and participation among the people in the reforestation and tree planting, soil water and other environmental protection, while generating income through the benefit of tree crops.
d. Dissemination of research results to several private, social, and government organizations.
Facilities and Programs
Facilities for training, education, research and extension consist of :
Dormitory for 200 students.
Five class rooms.
Several field observation plots.
Recreation facilities such as camping ground, hiking trail and picnic area.
Electricity and water supplies.
Wanagama has regular program for student field practical work and extension foresters. Several seminars and meetings have been held in this center by many social and environmental organizations and many other non-government organization.
Training and extension have also been conducted for the people living around the center in cultivating fast growing multipurpose tress, soil water and environment conservation. Wanagama has also involved in programs for the local people in the improvement of health, nutrition, family planning, the role of women and in the promotion of home industries from the local resource.
Sources of Funding
Gadjah Mada University
Department of Forestry and other government departments
Yogyakarta Special Province and Gunungkidul District Government
Grant from private organizations (domestic as well as international origins)
Voluntary contribution from interest groups
Forest Resources of Java
The forest resources of Java cover about 4.4 million ha or one third of Java’s total land area. According to utilization and management regimes they can be divided into : forest plantation on state lands (2.0 million ha); protection forest (0.6 million ha); tree plantations -in a wide variety of density and arrangement- on private lands, managed by smallholders (at least 1,5 million ha).
With a population of 7.6 people per ha (for Central Java and D.I. Yogyakarta even 8.1 people per ha) it needs not to be said that these forest resource are subject to a tremendous pressure. The state owned forest suffer from illegal occupation or deteriorate through un authorized use of forest products. The private land with trees split into smaller parcels through in heritance, are cleared for housing or converted to annual food crop system prone to severe erosion.
Wanagama is one of the centers which develops and implements research, education and extension, prepared to face the challenging problems.