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Tuesday, 04 March 2008

The Kasepuhan Community and Gunung Halimun National Park - Page 3

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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 Kasepuhan Community and Gunung Halimun National Park, Kasepuhan, south-west Java, Indonesia, Gunung Halimun National Park floraBefore entering the sacred forest, one must perform a ritual to request permission and safety from the ancestors. One recites this prayer:

Pun… (3x)

We will enter to Ciawitali

We bring number people

To woods God, stones God and a piece drop leafs God

To God who own here

Don’t be jealous, spite or angry

We ask sincerity, smooth the way and safety

In the day, morning, afternoon even daylight

My first experience entering the sacred forest through its leafy and entangled grove was a difficult path to reach our destination.

The Kasepuhan Community and Gunung Halimun National Park, Kasepuhan, south-west Java, Indonesia, Gunung Halimun National Park floraAfter two hours we were surprised by what we saw: Illegal logging in this sacred area, a hard sight to take in. With each progressive step into the forest interior, the condition of the damage became worse. This was truly a blow and we wondered how someone can destroy the environment in a holy area. The Kasepuhan people cannot do anything about this problem because the area is represented by the authority of Gunung Halimun National Park. On the other hand, the limited number of field officers in the national park make it difficult to observe a forest area as wide this and corruption may lure them into not protecting it. If the resources of this area are not preserved, this sacred forest in time will only continue to be damaged, threatening the existence of the Kasepuhan peoples and their way of life

Climate change is also affecting the Kasepuhan’s agricultural pattern and the environmental damage is heightened by the illegal logging in the sacred forest. There is also fear of loss of natural boundaries.

The burden faced by the Kasepuhan people cannot be conceived when they resist globalization to maintain their traditional values. In order to keep their social-economy sustained, the Kasepuhan people struggle to take care of their homeland. They also have to face the party executor of formal conservation, who is sometimes a perpetrator of illegal logging! So, what we can do? Go tell it on the mountain - help save the sacred forest!

© Firdaus G Siahaan

For more information:

Indonesian Resource Center for Indigenous Knowledge
(INRIK) Padjadjaran University
Address: Jalan Dipati Ukur 35, Gedung A, Lantai 4, Ruang 105,
Bandung 40132, Indonesia
Tel/Fax  : +62-22-250 8592
E-mail    : inrik [at ]


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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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