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indonesia :: living with the forest


Living with the forest, off the forest, for the forest.

Communities in Halimun Salak, Indonesia, are surrounded by tropical mountain forests, three hours of bumpy road away from the main village. Having lived there for generations, when the national park was created they were *allowed* to keep living off the land (mainly subsistence farming, paddy fields and small fish ponds). At the same time they were encouraged not to encroach the forest, and rather conserve it for non-timber forest products extraction and eco-tourism projects run by communities themselves.

This is a short story about a small community, the kind beings I’ve met, the magic environment they live in and help protect, and the challenges they face. The day we’ll understand it’s our collective duty to take care of the common and irreplaceable home we share, the world will be a better place. Until then, let’s cherish and reward the role communities like this one play for us all.
the undergrowth is dotted with sweet-scented stars, flowers traditionally collected by women to wash their hair. Medicinal plants, fibers, resine, all gifts the forest abounds with. Expecting nothing in exchange for.
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the undergrowth is dotted with sweet-scented stars, flowers traditionally collected by women to wash their hair. Medicinal plants, fibers, resine, all gifts the forest abounds with. Expecting nothing in exchange for.
the national park hosts a research centre and several students undertake research on local fauna, flora and ecosystem services. Scientific observations, however, are often disturbed by the army, who uses the same deep forest as military training ground.
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the national park hosts a research centre and several students undertake research on local fauna, flora and ecosystem services. Scientific observations, however, are often disturbed by the army, who uses the same deep forest as military training ground.
indonesia :: living with the forest
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many community members still work in private tea plantations created centuries ago under Dutch colonisation. Despite the idyllic landscape they seemingly shape, conditions and remunerations are far from romantic. A 30 Kg bag I barely managed to lift is worth 50 cents. Still, sadly, a valuable source of income for historically neglected rural economies.
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many community members still work in private tea plantations created centuries ago under Dutch colonisation. Despite the idyllic landscape they seemingly shape, conditions and remunerations are far from romantic. A 30 Kg bag I barely managed to lift is worth 50 cents. Still, sadly, a valuable source of income for historically neglected rural economies.
indonesia :: living with the forest
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indonesia :: living with the forest
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indonesia :: living with the forest
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the community mainly sources its food from the backyard and the forest, and seldom relies on external goods. Something striking nowadays in the eyes of the rural social researcher I pretend to be.
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the community mainly sources its food from the backyard and the forest, and seldom relies on external goods. Something striking nowadays in the eyes of the rural social researcher I pretend to be.
indonesia :: living with the forest
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indonesia :: living with the forest
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indonesia :: living with the forest
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indonesia :: living with the forest
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indonesia :: living with the forest
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indonesia :: living with the forest
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indonesia :: living with the forest
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tourists visiting the forest leave traces behind, for whatever impulse far from my understanding. And the community cleans after them.
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tourists visiting the forest leave traces behind, for whatever impulse far from my understanding. And the community cleans after them.
indonesia :: living with the forest
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indonesia :: living with the forest
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indonesia :: living with the forest
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When asked about the future they wished for their kids, fathers were inclined to say they’d love their children to move to main towns and become professionals. Mothers, instead, wished their kids had a good education but wouldn’t leave the community - and help improve the way land and forests are taken care of, for the good of all. That’s why - let me add - we call it Mother Nature.
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When asked about the future they wished for their kids, fathers were inclined to say they’d love their children to move to main towns and become professionals. Mothers, instead, wished their kids had a good education but wouldn’t leave the community - and help improve the way land and forests are taken care of, for the good of all. That’s why - let me add - we call it Mother Nature.
indonesia :: living with the forest
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indonesia :: living with the forest
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