SEAMEO BIOTROP signed a 5- year Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) with the Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) and PT Bukit Asam Tbk on 7 January 2014 at IPB Rectorate Building, Dramaga, Bogor. The MOU was signed by SEAMEO BIOTROP Director Dr. Bambang Purwantara, IPB Rector Prof. Dr. Herry Suhardiyanto M.Sc., and PT Bukit Asam TBk Deputy Director Manager Mr. H. Harun Al Rasyid Lubis.
The MOU aims to promote cooperation in establishing a Research Center for Ex-Mine Site Reclamation for Southeast Asia which will be based in Indonesia. PT Bukit Asam Tbk as committed to provide the research site as well as supporting facilities to encourage the study and development of ex-mine reclamation technology. IPB, as one of the universities in Indonesia that has long been active in mine reclamation study, will provide the experts and design the activities at the national level. On the other hand, SEAMEO BIOTROP will provide expertise and allocate research and training funds at regional level.
In his speech, Prof. Dr. Herry hoped that this MOU will promote the importance of linkage between and among universities, research institutions, and the business sector for environmental sustainability. He said that through this MOU, ex-mine areas located at PT Bukit Asam Tbk could be reclaimed using appropriate technology, planting of suitable forestry crops, and application of integrated farming system. He added that the partnership shall encourage innovation and the development of activities leading to the integration of upstream and downstream efforts in reclamation to ensure sustainability and community involvement thus increasing their income.
Dr. Bambang, on the other hand, emphasized that the MOU is in line with the two program thrusts within SEAMEO BIOTROP’s 9th FYDP (2012 – 2017) namely (1) Tropical Biology for Environmental Integrity; and (2) Tropical Biology for Community Welfare. He further said that the Centre’s research outputs and technologies such as the tissue culture protocols for forest tree species can be useful for ex-mine land reclamation activities. Research outputs from this collaboration could be promoted through training courses and publication in refereed journals for wider application and benefit to other ex-mine sites in Southeast Asia.
For PT Bukit Asam Tbk, Mr. H. Harun said that the realization of this MOU will directly enhance the participation and benefits to the communities around PT Bukit Asam Tbk through their Community Forest and Education Forest programs to conserve indigenous tree species. He hoped that the establishment of the research center could enable IPB and SEAMEO BIOTROP to identify the plant species and commodities suitable to be planted in ex-mined areas and produce effective and efficient ex-mine site reclamation technology to promote community welfare.
Also during the signing ceremony, SEAMEO BIOTROP Deputy Director for Resources Management Dr. Irdika Mansur presented his research findings on “Development of Ex-Mine Site Reclamation for Environmental Sustainability and Social Welfare.” The presentation provided in the inputs for discussion on the scope and research potentials of the MOU.