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Tuesday, 04 March 2008

The Kasepuhan Community and Gunung Halimun National Park - Page 2

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The homeland of the Kasepuhan community of south-west Java was designated Gunung Halimun National Park in 1992 and today struggles to maintain their society amidst illegal logging and other threats to their way of life.

The social group of Kasepuhan who live in Gunung Halimun recognize three kinds of forest in their surroundings:

1. Hutan tua (Old forest) is a dense forest with many species of large and small trees and plants. The forest is characterized by a high density of trees and by its abundant animal species. This forest type is found around Mount Halimun.

2. Hutan sampalan (Opening forest) is a forest which is allowed to be extensively exploited. The people are able to open the forest for cultivation, farming, grazing animals and for gathering firewood.

3. Hutan titipan (entrusted forest) is forbidden to exploit, only with the exception of those times when a leader gives permission. When the leader receives a divine inspiration from their ancestors, the people may be permitted to use the forest.

The Kasepuhan Community and Gunung Halimun National Park, Kasepuhan, south-west Java, Indonesia, Gunung Halimun National Park floraIt says in the uga (oracle) from their ancestors that the Kasepuhan people will stay in this area near hutan titipan and will never move again. The story about this oracle is told through old traditional poetry sung at night before the ceremony of seren taun (thanksgiving). Hutan titipan is very important for the Kasepuhan people. This is the land for their offspring and was designated as a sacred forest. The Kasepuhan people believe that Mount Ciawitali and Mount Cibareno are also sacred forests.

Mount Ciawitali and Cibareno are located in Gunung Halimun National Park and are at an altitude of 530m and cover about 2.318 ha. The conservation value of this area is very important because besides functioning as the identity of their society’s culture, this area is also a shelter of biodiversity and hydrology. It includes a diverse number of medicinal plant species as a source to fill health needs for those who are far from health providers.

To ensure environmental permanence and preserve this sacred forest, some new rules have gone into effect. There are now procedures to enter the area to prevent exploitation of the resources in it. Everyone who enters the area of the sacred forest has to ask permission of a community leader. When entering you must be escorted by a member of the clan who acts as a forest steward in the local community. This person is called a kemit.

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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