in Indonesia

“Nobody cares about the poor people”: new film about the Harapan Rainforest project


The Harapan Rainforest project in Sumatra, Indonesia is becoming increasingly controversial. A new film documents how local people are excluded from the project and how their livelihoods are threatened by the project. The Harapan project is run by PT Restorasi Ekosistem Indonesia (PT REKI), which consists of a local group Burung Indonesia, the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and BirdLife International.

REDD-Monitor has repeatedly asked John Lanchbery at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds for a response to the critiques of the project from local people in Indonesia. He has so far failed to provide a public response.

Part I of the film with English subtitles:

Part II with English subtitles will be posted when it is available. Meanwhile, here is the entire film in Bahasa Indonesian with Spanish subtitles:

Leave a Reply

  1. Insightful videos and glad to see local stories of the impacts of REDD are emerging. Am also keen to hear PT REKI’s side of the story. Are there any other reports of local communities being sidelined by REDD projects in other parts of Indonesia?

  2. Thanks for showing this film on your website. Can you please tell us who made it? It looks like it has been made by a local NGO. It would also be useful to know who the people in the film are: i.e. village heads, farmers, representatives from local NGOs and so on. Maybe some of them wanted to be anynomous, but probably not all.

  3. This seems a very partial version of the story.

    It’s easy to recognize the Javanese accent of some of these people, who are therefore transmigrants, not local indigenous groups. Many of these transmigrants expect an easy life but Government transmigration programs in Indonesia have always been a disaster. As in many cases, these people usually settle on lands and start to clear it, often illegally. The film shows well the area is ravaged. Asialog has its responsibility, but the land has degraded since Asia log concession expired as a result of these transmigrant settlers.

    My point is not to blame these poor people, but presenting them as victims of PT REKI is not very serious in my opinion.

    The story would be more credible if we knew who produced this movie, who are the interviewees etc…

  4. I watched these videos. Even without knowing anything about the project (but speaking fluent Indonesian and English) I got very suspicious of the first video. The English subtitles are rather dramatic and exaggerates what the people are saying in Indonesian. Something about this documentary is not right.

    We should all be concerned REDD is harming the poor. But I wouldn’t take this film at face value.

  5. Having worked with poor communities and forest conservation in Indonesia for 15 years (I am married to an Indonesian and speak the language fluently) – I agree entirely with Thyas. These people are immigrants from Java and are not locals.

    Obviously the problem is poverty and hardship and they do require assistance, but these people have no legal claims (Adat) to this land.