Piece of a Story about Reforestation and The Teak Wood Tree of Prince Charles
Updated on 15 September 2018
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Wanagama covers four villages in Kecamatan Patuk and Playen, Gunung Kidul, which takes us one hour drive from Yogyakarta to get there. Along the trip, we can see the beautiful scenery of Yogyakarta city from the height. Arriving at the traffic light after Bunder Rest Area, there is a sign board with WANAGAMA written on it and an arrow directing to the right. YogYES turns right to take a narrowing but asphalted road. The gate written with HUTAN WANAGAMA seems to tell visitors that they have arrived at the forest that was established since 1964.
Reforestating critical land
Exploring Wanagama at present, we will think of the past condition of this area as a infertile and barn land. It was due to illegal logging.
The concern about the critical and barn condition of the location moved some academists from Forestry Department of Gadjah Mada University to reforestate the are. Then, the big project of reforestrating the area with reddish brown mediteranian soil began.
The reforestation project was pioneered by Prof. Oemi Hani'in Suseno and it began to be done since 1964. Using her personal finance, the professor who got Kalpataru Award (highest award in Indonesia for environment issues) planted Wanagama of which width was 10 hectares by that time.
The persistence of Prof. Oemi and her colleagues to plan the critical land attracted my parties such as the government and environment lovers. They cooperate to realize Wanagama to become 600 hectares of green area as seen today.
Forest miniature with various plants
In fact, forest offers strong sensation to return to nature. That is one of the things you will get when you make a tour to Wanagama. It seems like we are in the miniature of a forest with different plants from different areas when we are in Wanagama.
There are lines of trees accompanying our trip exploring the green Wanagama, started with acacia trees, which produce pulp as the primadona of many Industrial Plant Forest companies in Indonesia. Then, it is contined with eucalypti, which is famous for its eucalyptus oil to warm our body.
Besides, there is a line of pine trees (Pinus merkusii). This line of the trees that many of them are found in Central Sumatra is quite shadowy when the sun shines brightly.
Wanagama still has many other plants such as ebony (Diospyros celebica) the black wood from Sulawesi, sandal wood (Santalum album) the fragrant wood, murbei (Morus Alba) and teak wood (Tectona grandis).
In addition to plants, Wanagama also has another beauty namely three streams of water including Oya River, Sendang Ayu, and Banyu Tibo. All of these three offer freshness and coolness when you are weary after exploring Wanagama.
What Prince Charles left in Gunung Kidul
Wanagama has one tree that makes this tourism object known worldwide.
It is the teak wood tree (Tectona grandis) known as Jati Londo planted by Prince Charles when he paid a visit to Wanagama in 1989. It was told that there is a unique relationship between the famous tree and the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. When it was 1 meter high, this tree dried at the same time with the announcement of the separation of the English Royal couple. Did the teak wood mourn over the separation of the planter?
In addition to Jati Londo, Prince Charles also left a favorite route usually taken by visitors of Wanagama. The route starts from Wisma Cendana and ends at Hell Hill. The road is 50 meters long with many sandal woods along both sides.
Teak wood is one of the trees found most in Wanagama. This plant is famous for its durability and strength. The superiority of teak wood is so famous that English Marine takes special precaution with regards to this. The manual of English Marine suggested that they avoid China ships made from this kind of wood since they can destroy the steel of English Marine ships when they crash (Wikipedia).
Wanagama and the surrounding society
Wanagama does not only serve as a place for various plants to grow, but it is also a place for the surrounding society to make their living. Wanagama and the society cooperate closely to benefit both parties.
Raising cows is the livelihood lived by most of the people in the community around Wanagama. It is allowed for the society to plant kalanjana grass in between the vacant land in Wanagama. The grass serves as food for the cows owned by the society. In return, Wanagama gets organic fertilizer from the waste of the cows.
Besides, there are people from the surrounding area who sell honey. The honey is harvested from the bee farm to the north-east of Wanagama. Just like the plantation of the grass, the bee farm is also located among the thickness of Wanagama forest. Ussualy, during rainy season, stock of honey is abundant because at this time, flowers are blooming.
Exploring Wanagama compares to the satisfaction that we obtain. We will be astonished by this reforestation masterpiece.
Text & Photos: R. Syah
Artistic & Photos: Sutrisno
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