But many valuable resources, and the unique landscape that holds them, are rapidly disappearing. Indonesia is losing 1.17 million hectares of forest per year to unsustainable logging, mining, and the spread of oil palm and paper fiber plantations. More than ever, it’s crucial that we recognize the partnerships between environmental protection, community prosperity and sustainable economic growth. Communities that tie their livelihoods to healthy natural systems are more likely to seek to conserve those resources for the long term.
Amid intense pressures from unsustainable development and deforestation, and despite a legal framework that is unclear in its protection of land rights, these villages are working collaboratively—and successfully—to protect and secure government recognition for their traditional uses of the forest.