Bamboo Has Saved The Lives of My People

Bamboo has been known as a functional plant in Asia. It can be used to make numerous kinds of human needs. In addition to its use, bamboo is also known as a plant that can produce oxygen better than a tree. Moreover, this plant has also been used as a building material for a long time ago because it is easy to plant and grow. Nowadays, Bamboo has been named one of the eco-friendly and sustainable building materials. Based on its multifunction, people frequently utilize bamboo without paying attention to the environment. Excessive use of bamboo occurred in a highland village in Tabanan Regency which caused water problems at that time.


According to Pak Made, a villager, when he was a small kid, water was really hard to find, not only water but also hard to plant rice in his village. The villagers needed to figure out what they should do to make rice, then they realized the main problem was the water. So, they investigated problems, what caused the problem, and how to overcome the problem. Days after day, night after night, Pak Made realized that there is a forest and he thought that would be the escape way for the water problem. However, it was not an easy escape, he needed to go against the people of his village. You may ask, “why does he need to argue with his villagers when what he is doing is just trying to save the forest and solve the water problem?” The answer is that it is not an ordinary forest. It is a bamboo forest. 


As stated above, bamboo is a functional plant, so the villagers are used to utilizing bamboo as fuel and building materials. The unpleasant thing was they cut bamboo as they pleased without paying attention to the growth cycle of the plant. Furthermore, not only are cut down carelessly, but bamboo saplings are also over-exploited. The bamboo forest became a barren forest as time went by. Although bamboo is a plant that reproduces quickly, excessive use will still hinder its growth. This is also a concern for Pak Made. He learned, did research, asked friends, and many more to figure out what he should do.


Several times Pak Made wanted to give up, but he was reminded again of the goals he wanted to achieve, of the positive impacts that would come if the forest returned. Thanks to his hard work, the people from the surrounding area are finally starting to realize how valuable the bamboo forest is, not only from an economic standpoint but also socially and environmentally. So, Pak Made started to share his knowledge and engaged the community to protect the bamboo forest. They decided on the name of the community as Kelompok Tani Wana Kerta Lestari. 


Pak Made and his group, Kelompok Tani Wana Kerta Lestari, are trying to save their forest by preserving the types of bamboo that have been there. Gradually they prove to the villagers and surrounding areas the importance of this forest as a place for water absorption. Furthermore, they also figured that bamboo forests may hold water better than a normal forest.  In 2004, they originally had 21 species. Presently, they have 51 species of bamboo in their bamboo forest. What they did to save the bamboo forest is paying off with the designation of this forest as a protected forest by the provincial forestry service of Bali.