Many people need to realize that among the many benefits of forests, one of the most essential is as a supplier of clean, renewable energy for life on earth. Forest preservation is another way to gain renewable energy.
Renewable energy is energy from natural resources that will never run out and can be replenished through biological processes.
The period it takes is short, even shorter than the human lifespan.
Renewable Energy and the Importance of Forest Conservation
Several renewable energy sources can be developed in Indonesia, including solar, hydro, wind, geothermal, biomass, and ocean or marine energy.
Most of these energy sources are directly related to the existence of forest preservation.
As an area rich in natural resources, Woods provide and store almost all the energy humans need.
Forest vegetation cover dominated by trees is important in maintaining energy sustainability, from retaining groundwater and to preventing global warming.
Forests also stabilize temperatures, provide stocks of resources such as geothermal heat, water, and biomass, and even produce oxygen that we breathe all the time to survive.
The Important Role of Forests
Beyond providing and storing energy sources, forest preservation play an important role in ecosystem management.
This role is related to the forest’s function as an antidote to the adverse effects of climate change.
From an economic perspective, protecting forests is the cheapest mitigation effort against the climate change for the world.
For example, by not allowing forest land to degrade or even burn, we reduce the huge costs incurred in handling the impact of disasters in the future.
If forests catch fire, for example, in addition to the high cost of mitigation, we are at risk of respiratory problems requiring considerable medical expenses.
Unfortunately, these huge benefits, which are not directly visible to our eyes, are often overlooked.
So far, we are used to receiving the benefits of forests in the form of finished products that we use daily, such as tables, chairs, paper, perfume, soap, and tissues.
So, the important role of forest preservation as a provider of clean energy and all these needs is forgotten.
Unlike urban residents who do not directly receive natural benefits from forests, residents in villages around forests are the ones who most directly benefit from forests as the main source of energy in their daily lives.
1. Household Needs
In simple terms, so far, residents around the forest have utilized renewable energy from the forest, even on a small scale.
This activity also makes them the most vulnerable to the impact of forest destruction. Regarding renewable energy, there are still many people who think that renewable energy is only alternative energy.
This understanding is dangerous because it means that renewable energy will only be utilize when the fossil energy, has run out.
Renewable energy is the solution to replace fossil energy and answer the threat of the world energy crisis that threatens the future.
It means that the utilization of renewable energy should be implement immediately before the energy crisis occurs. One of them will happen by the forest preservation.
2. Power Plant
Another utilization of the forest includes using the flow of water discharge as a Mini-Micro Hydro Power Plant. Water sources contained in forest areas are great energy potential. T
he water flowing in the rivers comes from springs that depend on preserving the forest.
These rivers are utilize for energy with hydroelectric power plants (micro-hydro).
The flow of river water will be collect and rotated by the turbine in the generator so that kinetic energy can be convert into electricity.
More than 75 households are now electrified through the small-scale micro-hydro power plant, which has a capacity of 40 kilowatts.
Residents’ quality of life has also improved through the economy, education, health, environment, and socio-culture.
The availability of electricity is expect to encourage economic growth in the community. Therefore the forest preservation is urgently need to realize.
Another renewable energy source available in the forest is biomass. Biomass is a bioenergy producer that comes from plant parts in the woods.
Some plants commonly used as biomass energy sources are eucalyptus, Gamal, Acacia, elephant grass, calliandra, and candlenut.
Geothermal energy, the largest energy potential in Indonesia, is also interdependent with forests.
The Geothermal is generally located in mountainous volcanic areas and forest areas. The process of converting geothermal energy into electricity also requires water.
However, the utilization of the natural resources available in our forests must be done in an environmentally friendly manner,
As it is often the case that efforts to utilize this natural energy end up causing deforestation.
Remember that using renewable energy sourced from forests is to replace the energy sourced from fossils that harm the environment.
So, environmental considerations should be prioritize so that renewable energy can be a promising future energy guarantee for a better human life.
Thus, forest preservation means maintaining the sustainability of the energy supply now and in the future.
Renewable Energy Potential in Indonesia
So far, the potential for renewable energy in forest areas has yet to be optimally utilize. Over 90% of Indonesia’s energy sources are still fossils, such as coal, oil, and natural gas.
Forests also provide shade to reduce energy consumption. One way is to make forests a source of green economy for the community, aka managing and utilizing non-timber forest products.
When people depend on the forest for their livelihoods, they automatically protect the forest.
Encouraging the continuous planting of wood in urban areas is also important. Planting trees can reduce temperatures by about two to eight degrees Celsius.
The more trees planted, the cooler the air becomes, reducing the use of air conditioning.
Fossil energy reduction is an important part of the target of fulfilling Indonesia’s commitments within the framework of the climate change convention.
So, forest conservation is very important for energy sovereignty.
The younger generation must also be creative and innovative in forest preservation and the environment.
As a life support system, such as maintaining the hydrological cycle, forests are important for living things.