Conservation benefit: Protection of 14,826 acres of forest for 10 years
Community benefit: Village-wide solar power
Sumba Island is one of a chain of islands in the Lesser Sundas, a dry region of Eastern Indonesia. Sumba Island is known for its culture of fine ikat weavings, megalithic tombs, and ancestral beliefs. Once, it was also known for its remarkable sandalwood forests. Sumba’s forests, however, have degraded alarmingly. In 1927, half of the island was forested; in 2002, it was less than seven percent. Today, only five fragments of the remaining forest are greater than 2,500 hectares (6,178 acres) each, and all of them are located in Manupeu Tanadaru National Park. This forest contains thick stands of rare sandalwood. It is the last remaining habitat of a number of endemic frog, butterfly, and reptile species, and also ten endemic bird species.
Hupumada is one of 22 villages that border the national park with a special enclave called “Lahona.” It was established long before the national park, and is the only cluster of residents permitted to live within the park boundaries. The village is accessible only by dirt track, and there is no electricity. Generally, villagers use kerosene lamps at night so women can weave (to make money) and children can study. However, they must sell firewood from the forest to get cash to buy kerosene. Community members are very interested in solar power, which would let them be productive at night without collecting and selling firewood.
Seacology is funding this much-needed utility. In return, the community will protect 6,000 hectares (14,826 acres) of the national park surrounding Hupumada Village as a no-take zone for at least 10 years. Village leaders will enforce the no-take rule with traditional sanctions, such as payment of a fine with pigs. They will help villagers to plant timber and fruit trees on village land to increase their self-sufficiency.
- June 2014
- The solar powered lights are greatly helping the villagers to reduce their expenditures on fuel and reducing the need to harvest firewood for sale. The solar power units have been running at 100...
- February 2014
- Half the village households (32 families) are currently enjoying solar powered lamps that were installed in late December. The remaining 32 households are waiting with great anticipation for their...