Indonesia: protection and sustainable use of forests

** This page is not updated anymore. Siemenpuu's regional programmes were in use until the end of 2017. Projects in Indonesia are now under the forest and coastal ecosystems funding cluster **

Indonesia has the world's third largest area of rainforests. The Indonesian forest area is however diminishing at a high rate and tropical peatland forests are the last remaining contiguous tropical forests in the country. Due to rapid deforestation, Indonesia is one of the leading carbon dioxide emitters in the world.

More than 20 million Indonesians, many of them indigenous people, live in forest regions. For local communities, forests make up the source of sustenance and livelihood, and home. They are the foundation of life. Forests are significant sources of traditional beliefs, knowledge and health. They guarantee livelihoods even on difficult times. For locals, the forest is manifold, sacred, and the source of livelihood. It signifies the secure continuity of culture and economy.

The development policy of Indonesia has often favoured big business and global trade, disregarding the fact that forest lands constitute irreplaceable ecosystems and habitats. Nearly all of the Indonesian land and forest area is owned by the state. Ministries and local government officials have leased concessions on these areas to companies, who have then set up oil palm or pulpwood plantations or mines. On the other hand, diverse conflicts have arisen between the corporate giants and local communities, as the land rights of the communities have often been left unrecognised. Village communities may also divide into those who oppose logging and those who benefit from it in the short term and therefore support it. Having lost their land, people lose their traditional culture and connection to nature - and may fall into poverty.

It is crucial to protect rainforests both to secure the livelihoods and cultures of people and to fight climate change. The Siemenpuu Foundation and its partner organisations maintain that forest areas must be protected by locals on their own terms. Plantation forests are not a sustainable solution to climate change or environmental destruction. Siemenpuu advocates comprehensive protection of forests and genuine participation of local groups.

The organisations supported by the Siemenpuu Foundation promote socially and ecologically equitable ways of using land and help local communities to protect their environments. Main thematic areas are community-based conservation and sustainable use of peatland and mangrove forests, networking and capacity building. Siemenpuu directs its support mainly to small Indonesian NGOs that are closely tied to local forest-dependent communities. These organisations operate on the islands of Sumatra, Borneo, Java and Sulawesi. Main focus has been in Riau where Siemenpuu has funded Jikalahari network in promoting community based forest administration and law enforcement. Mangrove protection is supported in Southern Sumatra (Hutan Kita Institute), Northern Sulawesi (Japesda), Western Kalimantan (Sampan) and through a national network coordinated by Forest Watch Indonesia.


Publications from the supported projects

A 14 min Gekko Studio video on the importance of the peatlands in Riau, Sumatra, where Siemenpuu's Indonesian partner organization JMGR works




A 12 min Gekko Studio documentary on gold mining project and villagers campaign from Bantaya's working area in Central Sulawesi




A 15 min Gekko Studio documentary on forest and traditional custom protection by young generation from Hakiki's working area in Riau, Sumatra




A 17 min Gekko Studio documentary from YPD's working area in Central Kalimantan





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