With orchids in his hand and a bamboo ladder on his shoulder, farmer Mosimin surveys the forest at the foot of Indonesia’s most active volcano and points to the indigenous flower clusters he’s been saving for years.
The 56-year-old, who has one name, like many Indonesians, is a self-taught environmentalist who has no formal background in botany, AFP reported.
Musimin has dedicated his career to planting plants that he compares to gemstones, and has delved into a solo mission to save the unique flowers of this region on the outskirts of Yogyakarta on the island of Java.
He started his work after lava flowed and ash emitted in the area as a result of several strong eruptions of Mount Merapi, the last of which was in 2010. “I remember that orchids were abundant in the forest,” he said, adding, “Local people from nearby villages could pick the quantity that They want them from orchids and they sell them in the nearby tourist areas.”
But many of them were destroyed by clouds of ash that fell to the ground under the volcano.
So he decided to save this fading wealth, and over the years, he built two bamboo greenhouses where he could keep the most remarkable species of orchids.
An eruption of the volcano killed 60 people in 1994 and destroyed thousands of hectares of forest, while another eruption in 2010 killed more than 300 people and also caused destruction.
“The forest near my house was burnt down,” Mosimin said of the 1994 tragedy, “and the orchids I could find easily disappeared. I regret not keeping one or two of them.”
However, this encouraged him to join the local government’s efforts to find the remaining orchids while he and his neighbors explored what was left.
They have revived at least 90 species of orchids that survived the 2010 eruption.
Mosmine is now working on his own and wants those in the forest to let the orchids bloom instead of trying to profit from them.
Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Mount Merapi National Park, added that other orchid centers run by local residents who learned about conservation methods from Musimin, have appeared in the forest around the volcano. He continued, “He is the pioneer of orchid conservation on Mount Merapi. His work has become a model for other groups we work with that emulate and develop his programs.”
Mosimin, a father of two, wants to continue his legacy of saving orchids by passing on his botanical knowledge to his grandson, who often takes him to the woods with him. “I show him the orchids as early as possible,” he continued. who knows? He might one day become my successor.”
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