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#15thnBurungIndonesia*: Mbeliling Landscape Management, a Strategic Plan from the Grassroots

The West Manggarai district is mostly known as the only spot to observe the primordial lizard Komodo Dragon, while insteresting features of the western part of Flores Island are scattered: the attractive Caci Dance, the biggest volcano lake, beautiful waterfalls, and spider web-like paddy field system are a few among them.

Aside from its diverse tourism objects, West Manggarai reserves excellent biodiversity richness. There are—at least—five species of endemic birds, namely Flores Monarch (Symposiachrus sacerdotum), Flores Scops-owl (Otus alfredi), Flores Hanging-parrot (Loriculus flosculus), Flores Crow (Corvus florensis), and Flores Lorikeet (Trichoglossus weberi). While hosting most of the biodiversity richness, the Mbeliling Landscape also provides water source for West Manggarai communities.

Based on the hydrological conditions, the forest area in Mbeliling is the upstream for the rivers that flow to the west and south in West Manggarai. People in Labuan Bajo depend on their drinking water needs from this area. Thus, the Mbeliling ecosystem is not only significant for Biodiversity conservation actions, but also an important water catchment area.

One of the main commodities cultivated by Mbeliling farmers: candlenut (Photo: Burung Indonesia/Barend van Gemerden)

Based on these, Burung Indonesia has encouraged sustainable landscape management activities in Mbeliling by strengthening community participation in natural resource management since 2007. This program collaborates with West Manggarai Regency, the Center of Natural Resources Conservation in East Nusa Tenggara, and community groups in 27 villages in the Mbeliling landscape area.

Started from village groups that joined the Forum Peduli Kawasan Mbeliling/FPKM (Mbeliling Area Care Forum), Burung Indonesia Flores Program continuously organized a series of training and discussion on environmental issues, socio-economy, and government’s development programs. This forum also encouraged the establishment of the Cooperation which has successfully marketed more profitable and sustainable agroforestry products, like candlenut.

The West Manggarai Regency Government responded to the initiative to establish an FPKM and brought together its group members in the Mbeliling Committee, which consisted of representatives from the government and community groups. This committee has reached an excellent achievement. Through a lengthy process, the Mbeliling Committee succeeded in compiling the Mbeliling Landscape Management Strategic Plan (MLM-SP) document in 2014 to realize a productive landscape.

To disseminate the plan, Burung Indonesia and the Mbeliling Committee introduced a landscape management approach as a manifestation of the concept of sustainable development in accordance with the development vision of West Manggarai Regency. The Mbeliling Committee then proposed a draft Regent's Regulation on the Integration of the Mbeliling Landscape Strategic Plan into local government planning.

With the forest farmers in Poco Golo Kempo Village, Mbeliling Sub-district (Photo: Burung Indonesia)

In 2015, the West Manggarai Regency Government realized the plan in the West Manggarai Regent's Regulation No. 12 of 2015 concerning the Integration of the Mbeliling Landscape Strategic Plan. This regulation becomes the basis for the parties to establish policies and implement various programs in the region Mbeliling Landscape.

Basically, MLM-SP refers to three management principles, namely the participatory principle which ensures involvement and accommodates the aspirations and interests of the parties; the principle of ecological harmony for the preservation of biodiversity and the sustainability of environmental services; and the principle of sustainable livelihoods to ensure an increase in the welfare and independence of the community.


The publication of this article is part of a series of publications celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Burung Indonesia. On every 15th of every month in 2017, we will publish various articles about the best achievements that Burung Indonesia has achieved during 15 years of working at the home for 1769 bird species: Indonesia.