Chainsaw Buyback as Stimulus for the Rainforest

Three former loggers from Pangkalan Jihing: Pak Syamsir, Pak Sariman, and Pak Asri.

As a part of Health In Harmony’s Conservation Stimulus Package to address the pandemic, we are ramping up efforts to buy back chainsaws. This package provides former loggers with financial support to create or grow their own sustainable businesses.

In Pangkalan Jihing, three loggers recently participated in our Chainsaw Buyback program: Pak Syamsir (logging since 2015), Pak Sariman (logging since 2012), and Pak Asri (logging since 2003). They had already started transitioning away from logging; however, they were still occasionally renting out their chainsaws to friends who wanted to log in Gunung Palung National Park. ASRI’s Forest Guardians and a park ranger approached them and told them about our Chainsaw Buyback program.

In the wake of COVID-19, these loggers decided to participate so they could receive additional support for their businesses: a coffee shop, animal husbandry business, and agroforestry business (fruit trees and vegetables).

A former logger from Pelerang, Pak Idris (wearing an orange batik shirt), posing with his deconstructed chainsaw.

In Pelerang, former logger Pak Idris decided to participate after a national park officer found him logging inside the park. The officer took the time to educate Idris on the impact logging could have on his health, as he is 62, as well as how detrimental it is to the forest and the communities that live around it.

After thoughtful consideration and support from his wife to give up logging, he decided to participate in our microenterprise program as the 56th participant and received 10 million rupiah in exchange for his chainsaw. With these funds, he can a start a new business. Idris has decided to open a small shop, with help from ASRI’s Chainsaw Buyback Coordinator in purchasing materials and items he would like to sell.

A former logger from Rantau Panjang: Abdulah, logging since 1995.

In Rantau Panjang, former logger Abdulah had been logging since he was 15 years old, in order to financially support his family. However, working with a chainsaw for the past 25 years has negatively impacted his health and posture: he cannot stand up straight due to constant back pain.

Abdulah was approached by ASRI’s Forest Guardians with an opportunity to give up logging and still support his family through an alternative livelihood. At first, he was unsure due to so many orders for timber from outside sources. However, Abdulah finally decided to participate in the Chainsaw Buyback program and begin working in a new industry.

We are incredibly grateful for Mahardika (Dika) Putra, ASRI’s Conservation Director, for sharing these stories from now-former loggers who live in and around Gunung Palung National Park.

We also appreciate our many donors, supporters, and followers who contributed to our COVID-19 Emergency Fund, which enabled us to continue to support healthcare and conservation programs like this one! It is thanks to you that we were able to create this Conservation Stimulus Package to support rainforest communities and the forests we all depend on.

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