Farmer Institutions, FKKM Riau, and Belantara Foundation in Supporting Peatland Fire Protection Actions in the Biosphere Reserves of Giam Siak Kecil-Bukit Batu (GKSBB)
One of the provinces with high amount of land fire disasters is Riau Province. In August 2016, there was a peat fire in the village of Sidodadi, Tasik Serai Village, Bengkalis Regency, Riau Province which devoured all pineapple and horticulture plants. To overcome and prevent the recurrence of peatland fires, the local community had the initiative to restore land use by building canal blocks as reservoirs and sources of water reserves, but were being constrained by illegal loggers; until September 2017, where the Farmers' Organizations, FKKM Riau and Belantara Foundation supported them in the construction of three canal blocks in the GSKBB biosphere reserve area.
To cope with peatland fires, the Sidodadi village community made canals blocks using traditional methods. Unfortunately, the canal blocks were destroyed by illegal loggers. Not only the ones that have been built by them, the ones that have been built by the government were also destroyed by illegal loggers in order to facilitate their illegal logging activities.
In September 2017, the Farmer Institution in Sidodadi village, which is part of the Biosphere Reserves of Giak Siam Kecil Bukit Batu (GSKBB), proposed a wetland peat protection action through the construction of canal blocks. Belantara Foundation facilitated by FKKM Riau supported the initiative by channeling an emergency response grant to build 3 canal block units to restore the function of the peatlands.
The process of building three canal blocks in the biosphere reserve area of Giam Siak Kecil Bukit Batu has been finished in the fourth quarter of 2017, to be specific in December 2017.
The construction process of this canal block is not spared from several hurdles, distance being one of them. The location was quite far enough that it had affected the mobilization. The weather was also an obstacle, as the current rainy season made the current flowing through the channel larger and became one of the inhibiting factors in the construction of the canal on the biosphere reserve area of Giam Siak Kecil Bukit Batu.
It is hoped that the benefits of constructing the canal blocks, which were a joint collaborative effort among the Farmer’s Institution, FKKM Riau and Belantara Foundation can have a direct positive impact on the Sidodadi village community and, furthermore, the construction of the canal can help the Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) in mitigating the occurrence of peat land fires (KARHUTLA). With so many parties involved, it is also hoped that the sense of ownership and the importance of perserving and maintaining the canal is awakened by all parties.