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IFCAE Project:

Jepara Forest Conservancy

Timeframe:  2007-2011
Project Lead:    Greg Hill, Tim O'Brian
Collaborators: Jiway Tung (The Learning Farm, Bogor, Indonesia), Stephanie Vasquez, Louise A. Johnston
Administration: Institute for Culture and Ecology
Funding: Tropical Salvage, Global Giving.  Additional private donations and grant funds are being sought.
Donating: You can donate to this project through Global Giving.

In partnership with Tropical Salvage (a sustainable business based in Portland and in Jepara, Indonesia) and in collaboration with the Jepara community, the Institute for Culture and Ecology is developing the Jepara Forest Conservancy, a botanical park and environmental education center. In a community experiencing rapid loss of environmental services, the botanical park will demonstrate the feasibility and benefit of restoring those services while hosting educational programs for the local community to educate school children and others as to the role of local ecosystems in their lives. As ecosystem services decline, so do associated cultural traditions and practices. The education center will host education and cultural events helping to restore and preserve traditional local forest knowledge and practice. In a community experiencing the results of overdependence on unsustainably harvested teak forests, the Jepara Forest Conservancy will demonstrate the potential economic benefit of mixed-species biologically diverse forest restoration providing economic opportunity through non-timber forest product development.

  Jepara Indonesia   Jepara Forest Conservancy

The central aim of the project is to integrate benefits to environmental conditions with benefits to cultural, social and economic conditions. The project aims to enhance environmental conditions through its educational mission and by modeling sustainable practices. Beginning with local school children our educational programs will establish an appreciation for the vital benefits, now severely endangered, of a healthy local ecosystem. Through our partnership with a successful business founded on environmentally sound practices we can show that such concern can be an economic advantage. The botanical garden, while focusing on biodiversity conservation will simultaneously highlight species with important traditional cultural value as well as contemporary economic value. Intergenerational transmission of cultural knowledge will be facilitated at the educational facility as local elders pass on vital cultural practices about forest foods, medicines and wisdom. In an area with very few parks, the Jepara Forest Conservancy will provide much needed recreation in a safe and restorative environment. The park itself will provide some immediate employment, but the education center will also prepare local people for a wide range of environmental work in the area, potentially in partnership with Universities, research centers, government, NGOs, etc. Local smallholders will gain from workshops on NTFP use as well as from the availability of such plants from the nursery.

At the end of this project, the Jepara Forest Conservancy will be fully functional, providing a botanical park for the Jepara community, educational facilities for school children and community members and a model for alternative land uses for local smallholders. Educational programs will be in place in collaboration with local schools and village elders, providing education on ecosystem function and benefit as well as traditional cultural forest uses. The project will provide a model for alternative economic uses for smallholders and workshops on NTFP use will be conducted using the educational facility to assist smallholders in implementing those alternatives.

The long-term sustainability of the project will be funded through usage charged for the facilities (workshops and conferences) and a variety of Payment for Environmental Services mechanisms. As mentioned above, we are planning implementation of reforestation projects on Mt. Muria. These projects are planned to be eligible for Clean Development Mechanism funding through the Kyoto Protocol. Funds obtained through the CDM will be used for continuing expenses at JFC. In addition, sales of Tropical Salvage product throughout North America will be accompanied by information about the JFC project. Donations will be accepted at point-of-sale as well as through the project website. We plan that JFC will serve as a model for other similar projects. As Tropical Salvage expands its production operations to other sites in Indonesia, projects modelled on JFC will be implemented, adapting the educational programs and collaborations to local communities, environmental conditions and cultural context. Beyond the IFCAE-Tropical Salvage partnership, we hope the JFC project will provide an innovative and effective model of a cross-sector partnership of an NGO with a sustainability-oriented business that will be replicated beyond Indonesia.

Jepara Forest Conservancy   Jepara Forest Conservancy

Specific Objectives:

     Land Purchase and Tree and Plant Cultivation:
To expand land purchases for the environmental park and add interpretive trails and facilities. Then, to plant the land with species approximating the areas indigenous primary forests.

     Building Infrastructure:
Building many of the park's structures with salvaged wood and artisan labor contributed by Tropical Salvage in order to demonstrate the useful and beautiful results that can come from artfully applying salvaged and recycled materials and to emphasize principles of eliminating waste from and increasing responsibility for consequences of natural resource exploitation.

     Local Leadership:
Facilitating the creation of a local steering committee which includes leaders representing the community's businesses, schools, civil servants, military personnel and political power. Their interactive advocacy of common community action and education goals might elicit conversations among the group of leaders that enables more awareness of and sensitivity to the range of issues involving stakeholders in the area's natural environment.

     Establish Partnerships:
Build solid relationships and partnerships with conservation advocates on the local, Indonesian national and international levels. Local partners will include local schools and community organizations as well as individuals with knowledge of traditional forest practices.

     Environmental Education:
To conduct environmental education field trips in collaboration with Jepara area schools, linking these programs with similar programs in Portland.  Further environmental education plans will be guided by research conducted by IFCAE based on experiences gained during the first phase. Possibilities include building a facility for forest immersion multi-day education programs and establishing a full-curriculum educational facility in which the curriculum is organized around environmental themes.

     Establish a Model:
Creating an innovative model of cooperation between business, socio-cultural and conservation interests.

     Building Environmental Awareness:
Using the park's creation to expand awareness of environmental and socio-cultural matters and challenges which affect Indonesia today.

     Expanding the Project:
Using the park's creation to generate additional grant-funding to expand its profile and, possibly, replicate it in other areas of Indonesia or elsewhere.

    Research and Evaluation:
Through the park's education facility and grant or other funding it might generate, create positions for graduate school researchers which can provide valuable experience and information toward realizing their degree aims and, in the process, enable them to contribute to refining the park's effectiveness at pursuing its organizational and education goals.


Jepara is located on the Muria peninsula in north central Java, a peninsula dominated by the extinct volcano Mt. Muria (approximately 10,000 years since most recent eruption). Very little of the primary forest is left on Mt. Muria as the area has experienced intensive logging, both legally and illegally. The overall consequence of damage to the Muria ecosystem has been a multi-factored decline in ecosystem services.

     Regulating Services:
Flood and landslide mitigation. Villages on the slopes of Mt. Muria are extremely vulnerable to natural disaster, chiefly in the form of landslide. Regeneration by mixed-species forests would add to community resilience to natural disaster as such forests help prevent erosion.

     Carbon sequestration:
Although the climate change mitigation potential of temperate and boreal reforestation is debatable, tropical forest regeneration has a well-established and measurable benefit. As part of our plan for long-term financial sustainability of the JFC, we are pursuing Clean Development Mechanism funding for carbon offset work resulting from reforestation on Mt. Muria.

     Provisioning Services:
Restoration of spring-fed stream flows. Local anecdotal evidence indicates that many of the spring-fed streams originating on Mt. Muria have gone dry in the aftermath of deforestation. Recent studies indicate that reforestation has the potential to restore such stream flows, providing a critical benefit to downstream communities.

     Food sources (non-timber forest products):
Non-timber forest products (NTFP’s) are traditional food sources to communities surrounding Mt. Muria as well as sources of traditional medicines. The availability of these foods has declined rapidly in the wake of deforestation. Restoration of this ecosystem service would add to the food security of surrounding communities as well as introduce potential income through non-timber forest product markets. An added cultural benefit follows from the strengthening of local identity that comes from such practices.

     Cultural Services
Tradition forest medicine (Jamu) uses. Jamu is the traditional medicine of Indonesia. With loss of habitat has come the loss of this rich cultural tradition. Awareness in the local population of the vital role the Mt. Muria ecosystem is generally quite low, although there is rising awareness of the impacts of the decline in these ecosystem services arising from damage to that ecosystem. We believe that it is of critical importance to address this educational gap if attempts to address the degradation of local ecosystems are to enjoy community support and long-term sustainability.

Our project is a coordinated multi-faceted approach to address the loss of these ecosystem services while providing immediate social, cultural, educational and economic benefits to the community.  By providing a botanical park the Jepara community will gain the much-needed social benefit of a community recreation facility while being exposed to environmental education in the form of park signage.  Local school children will benefit through environmental education programs conducted at a facility built from sustainably harvested wood. The facility itself will be of educational benefit as children (and family members) can learn how the wood is harvested and processed in contrast to less sustainable practices. These environmental programs will be focused on the local ecosystem and will closely integrate traditional cultural knowledge and forest practices.

The botanical park will be a model of the regeneration of a “cultural forest” in which mixed-species reforestation re-establishes local biodiversity while allowing traditional cultural uses of the forest through non-timber forest products. It is planned that lessons learned from developing the park will be transferable to other local smallholders who wish to diversify their holdings away from over-dependence on teak production.

Critical to this project is our partnership with the Jepara-based business Tropical Salvage. Tropical Salvage (TS) has worked in Indonesia since 2000. The first two years focused on surveying salvage wood sources, identifying salvage wood species, creating connections with artisans, craftsmen and production managers, and applying salvage woods to experimental furniture construction. Having determined from these first years that sourcing for applicable salvage woods is deep, that products can be built cost-effectively and that products built from such woods might be received with enthusiasm in U.S. and Canadian markets, TS began to ship containers to the U.S. and distribute to storefronts. Tropical Salvage directly employs about ninety people full-time in Jepara. The staff includes wood salvagers, kiln operators, dimensional cut sawyers, furniture builders, wood carvers, product sanders and product finishers. Tropical Salvage practices fair trade principles and as profitability grows, benefits for employees track growth. The growth potential for the business is large with expanding demand for TS products in North America and with identified sources for salvage wood in several regions of Indonesia. It is planned that projects similar to the Jepara Forest Conservancy will accompany all expansion facilities of Tropical Salvage.

Salvage wood sourcing has expanded steadily. Currently, TS apples five principal wood salvage strategies. Wood is reclaimed from old buildings, houses or bridges that have been razed or deconstructed. Old, wild-growth trees are salvaged from rivers and lakes. Salvage trees felled by floods and landslides during Indonesia’s intense rainy season are also salvaged as well as culled trees from orchards and plantations including cacau and coffee wood. And, unique to Tropical Salvage, trees from beneath the ground are extracted, where for centuries caches of trees from former species diverse primary forests have laid buried by the consequences of volcanic eruptions. Years of surveying have shown that rich, diverse and deep source of salvage wood exists in Indonesia. It can supply a long-term business model. Tropical Salvage is somewhat unique in that, from the beginning, social and environmental mission objectives have been integrated with its business model. They are core values of Tropical Salvage and the Jepara Forest Conservancy is a core part of the business plan.

Local representatives of the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry have indicated that substantial areas on the slopes of Mt. Muria could be made available to the IFCAE - Tropical Salvage partnership for restoration work. We see this as an opportunity to craft a Payment for Environmental Services package to include restoration projects on Mt. Muria coordinated with the educational mission of the Jepara Forest Conservancy. Our aim in reforestation work on Mt. Muria is to collaborate with local communities to realize a culturally informed, economically viable and scientifically sound set of activities to restore ecosystem services once provided by the forests of Mt. Muria. Payments realized through reforestation activities would be used for continuing expenses at the Jepara Forest