Kupang (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Forum for Environment (Walhi) of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) explained that drought occurs almost throughout the country, especially in NTT, as a result of environmental degradation of the buffer zone.

"For that, there must be willingness from both the government and all elements, including the people of this region, to reevaluate the area of forests acting as a buffer zone," Director of Walhi NTT Heribertus Naif noted here on Wednesday.

He elucidated that the current drought impact, apart from the effect of the El Nino weather phenomenon, coupled with the declining quality of the buffer zone, are affecting the ecological unity.

He noted that the drought that occurred almost evenly throughout the country, including in NTT, was a proof of environmental degradation due to the increasingly deteriorating quality of the buffer zone.

The condition, exacerbated by global warming, was felt across the planet.

"Human life with the development of technology has contributed to global warming," he pointed out.

In the local context, the government and all stakeholders, including the community, must come together to undertake steps for saving the existing environment.

According to Heribertus, through adaptation and mitigation efforts, the NTT provincial government should take steps to monitor and evaluate the condition of forests in this area, to find out the real on-field conditions.

"What is still improving or getting worse and needs treatment quickly," he affirmed.

Furthermore, the government of NTT and districts or cities, need to conduct a thorough evaluation of the existing natural resource management models, to check whether they are oriented towards ecological justice or merely for catering to vested market interests, while overlooking the environmental quality standards.

He was also hopeful that the government will implement processes to save the forests through ecological restoration efforts, which are in harmony with nature.

"It means that the process was carried out to create more green spaces and planting trees to increase the ground water level rather than growing trees for commercial gains such as Sengon, Mahoni, and a type of Ampupu. It should be noted that trees planted in the upstream region help to increase the level of ground water," Heribertus noted.

Heribertus emphasized that community participation is also crucial and should be driven by the cosmocentric pattern that imbibes local wisdom and focuses on the preservation of nature by the public.

"Nature should be the focus of attention. We should not be homo-centric, considering objects of nature to be irritants that we wish to forget," he remarked.

He said that Walhi hoped for cooperation across sectors in order to make the forest a source of life, in the context of governance and ecology, so that they can jointly maintain and preserve it.

"Not only for the sake of profits by implementing the concept of the forestry industry," he added.

(Reported by Yohanes Adrianus/Uu.INE/KR-BSR/O001)

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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