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Training trainers in monitoring and evaluating tree growth and watershed functions in Buol, Indonesia

Display Date: 2/17/17

Government officers learned new methods that will help them rehabilitate degraded land, thanks to training from ICRAF The World Agroforestry Centre via the Smart Tree-Invest project.

By Lisa Tanika

The first training in Buol District, Central Sulawesi Province was conducted in August 2016 to introduce environmental services, co-investment and principles of monitoring and evaluation. The second on monitoring and evaluating tree growth and watershed functions was held in October 2016.

Trainees included representatives of the watershed working group Bumi Pogogul, village administrations and the private sector. The second training had two objectives: that participants would be able to 1) perform simple environmental monitoring and measurement techniques; and 2) create environmental services’ co-investment schemes.

Supangat, chief of the district’s development planning agency and watershed working group, opened the training, stating that he expected an increase in knowledge of environmental services and the capacity of the Buol Government to act, which would contribute to the district’s resilience to climate change and strengthen sustainable development. He firmly encouraged the participants to apply the methods they learned during the training.

The first day

On the first day, the participants discussed the concepts of environmental services that they had learned about in the previous training then were divided into two groups: 1) Trees; and 2) Water. More specific concepts about watershed monitoring and evaluation of functions were the main topics of the Water group. For the Tree group, tree survival and growth in rehabilitation projects were the focus. In the afternoon, each group was divided again into smaller groups for field activities. Before the field activity on the second day, participants were briefed about data collection methods and how to use monitoring equipment.

The second day

The tree and water groups went to Air Terang and Balau villages to collect data as part of their monitoring exercise. The tree groups had the specific objective of monitoring a land rehabilitation program using tree survival rate, species’ richness and diameter size as indicators. Participants measured tree diameters and counted the number of trees of each species at the sampled locations. The next step in the monitoring process was to create a simulation to measure rehabilitation over time.

The water groups’ participants were required to create a river profile, including depth, water debit and turbidity. The depth measurement involved dropping a length of rope from a bridge recurrently at predetermined range intervals until it touched the riverbed. From these points, the river profile could be sketched on paper. Participants also interviewed villagers living near the river to gain more information about its condition.

The third day

After completing the data collection, on the third day participants were back in class to learn how to analyse the field data. Each group presented their findings from the analysis. Moderated by Subekti Rahayu, ICRAF biophysics researcher, a discussion ensued in which some of the participants explained the conditions in their villages, which was commented on by representatives of the private sector and government, leading to a hope that communities, the private sector and government can cooperate to improve environmental services in Buol.

According to the 37 participants, the training was ‘something new’ that was relevant to government programs that were set to start soon after the training and that ‘monitoring and evaluation was a very important process for maintaining sustainability of a program’. It is indeed a vital part of the process to ensure sustainable delivery of environmental services.

Rehabilitation programs are increasingly common in Indonesia but so far the indicator of success of a program is mostly determined by the number of planted trees but lacks monitoring of the actual survival rate.  

‘We hope that by experiencing hands-on these monitoring and evaluation methods, participants gain a deeper understanding and are able to practise and share the methods with others, especially field officers’, said Lisa Tanika, ICRAF watershed researcher. 

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