Forest Restoration Following Merapi Mountain Eruption

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NUSADAILY.COM -SLEMAN- The Mount Merapi National Park Center (BTNGM) pegged that the process of restoring the forest destroyed by the eruption of Mount Merapi would take tens of years to return to a secondary forest.

“Restoration of the forest destroyed by the eruption of Mount Merapi will be conducted in stages according to the extent of damage. This will take a long time, up to tens of years,” Head of BTNGM Pujiati stated here on Wednesday.

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A major eruption of Mount Merapi in 2010 caused serious damage to a vast area of forest located on the slope of Merapi, she remarked.

“During the 2010 Merapi eruption, the area affected was quite extensive, and the forest area of Cangkringan Sub-district, Sleman District, bore the maximum impact,” Pujiati noted.

The restoration process will take a long time, spanning even decades, right from growing shrubs to returning it back to a secondary forest, she explained.

“From one to two years after the eruption, shrub and pioneer species begin to grow, and then three to five years after the eruption, the growth of pioneer species begins to cover the open areas. From six to 10 years, shrubs and pioneer species’ vegetation start to grow to become a secondary forest,” she stated.

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Furthermore, it takes a long process to turn a secondary forest into old secondary forest until the stage that it is finally classified as a primary forest.

“This growth process will take about 25 years until it becomes an old secondary forest and is gradually replaced by sub-climax and climax types and then into a primary forest. This process takes a long time, even hundreds of years, provided there is no other disturbance or another eruption,” she remarked.

As part of the efforts to restore the Merapi forest, BTNGM has been planting in areas acutely affected by the erupted since 2011.

“Currently, the status of Mount Merapi is still at level III, or alert, as the volcanic activities are high. Later, when the Merapi activities slow down, we will monitor the damage in the affected forests by using drones,” she stated. (sak/ant)