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Developing Green Open Spaces and Bird Friendly Gardens

With a rate of 51.4% in 2014, Indonesia came in second place in the list of countries with the highest rate of urbanisation in the South East Asia. Population growth rate in the cities was also higher than in rural areas.

That led to the diminishing of urban green open space, replaced by settlement, working space, and industrial areas.

In Jakarta, for instance, the green open space in (isi dengan tahun) was only 10-11% of its entire area. While according to the law of spatial planning (Law No. 6 of 2007), the urban green open space should be at least 30% of the total area. Therefore, several cities in Indonesia, including Jakarta, at the moment is striving to expand green open space.

“Nevertheless, it should not only be just leafy, but it should also consider its ecological functions,” said Agus Budi Utomo, Executive Director of Burung Indonesia in ‘Birds of Our Nation’ painting exhibition on Jakarta, 16 August 2015.

That is to say, ideally, open spaces are not just green and pleasant for human, but also ‘friendly’ for wildlife, in this case for the birds.

“Birds are important in urban areas, as they are natural indicator of environmental quality,” said Dr. Biol Boedi Mranata, member of Burung Indonesia’s Board of Patrons during a talk about bird conservation in urban areas at the exhibition.

He added that if there are flycatchers in an area, that would mean there are still leafy trees there as this kind of birds loves the cool shade of the trees. While kingfishers’ existence would indicate the water condition that is still suitable for fishes to live.

“Furthermore, birds are lovely and their voices give a soothing natural nuance. The existence of wild birds in public areas can also increase people’s appreciation for nature,” he said.

Instead of having birds in cages, the government and communities can optimise existing green open spaces to invite birds to their environment. Not only the city parks but gardens also have important role as green corridors to conserve birds in urban areas.

Through BarU programme, Burung Indonesia as a wild bird conservation organisation is active in promoting this issue. In relation to this programme, they have been campaigning raising awareness activities in various places to various groups in the communities, from family welfare groups, students, and residential communities to the local government in Jabodetabek areas. One of the activities was the painting exhibition that featured the works of Paulo Alves, a Portuguese wildlife artist, on Indonesian birds.

In the exhibition, visitors could learn about 42 species of endemic birds and 31 species of threatened birds in Indonesia, as well as birds that are common in the cities, such as Red-breasted Parakeet.

According to Agus, we can make our gardens enticing for the birds, so they will come to rest and eat or even build nests. We can do that by planting fruit and flowering trees.

Aside as source of food, the trees provide shade that makes it comfortable to perch and nest. The Red-breasted Parakeet, for example, loves big trees with spacious canopies. It also likes flowering trees such as Heliconias and Costus spicatus. The nectar and insects that are attracted to those plants are the main food source of several bird species, such as the hummingbirds.*