Planet Indonesia Visits the United Nations to Receive the Equator Prize


September 14th, 2017 New York City, New York, United Nation’s Development Program.

Planet Indonesia has been named a winner of the 2017 UNDP’s Equator Initiative. 806 nominees from over 120 countries just 15 organizations have been awarded the prestigious Equator Initiative for advancing nature-based local solutions for sustainable development.

The world’s eight wealthiest people own the same amount of assets as 50% of the world’s poorest. Growing inequalities between communities and among governments are deepening at a global scale. This is only furthered by the negative impacts of climate change, growing world hunger, and lack of access to basic services that creates hardships for rural communities. Tied with this global trend is some of the highest levels of deforestation and species loss the world has ever seen. 

The Equator Initiative works with rural communities as an engine of ideas and solutions for nature-based sustainable development. They bring together governments, nations, civil society, businesses, and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance sustainable development solutions for people, nature, and create resilient communities.

At Planet Indonesia, we utilize an innovative model that provides community-based services in three sectors: business, education, and healthcare*, in exchange for protecting and restoring some of the world’s most critical ecosystems. Although a young organization, by the end of 2017 we will have nearly 3000 households enrolled in our programs, planting over 40,000 seedlings on degraded lands, and protecting thousands of hectares of rainforest and mangrove forest.

“Yayasan Planet Indonesia has been taking bold steps from the beginning. We wanted to test our model in both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. This can be seen in the launching of our coastal management program in 2016. We believe our model is both flexible and replicable, able to address a number of conservation issues in a number of ecosystems. This award represents our ability create results in a number of arenas.” – Novia Sagita, Country Director, Yayasan Planet Indonesia.

Winning the Equator Prize is a demonstration of Planet Indonesia’s innovative model and commitment to promoting human well-being through the protection of nature. Our model engages communities in sustainable resource use and provides important services that create strong resilient rural communities while saving some of the world’s most endangered species and ecosystems.

“We are so excited to be selected for this award, and feel it is a testament to our model’s ability to both catalyze conservation and promote human well-being.” – Adam Miller, Executive Director, Planet Indonesia – USA.

Planet Indonesia moves away from traditional economic incentives for conservation, rather we provide a variety of services that puts communities back in power of their own land, resources, and rights.

We believe in integrating a variety of sectors that builds strong resilient communities that exist in harmony with thriving vibrant ecosystems.


For more information about the equator prize please visit:

*healthcare services set to launch in early 2018


From Forest to Sea...





Currently, over 2.6 billion people on earth rely on fisheries as a primary source of protein and economic income. Moreover, 97% of the world’s fisheries reside in developing countries. It is imperative not only for the conservation of marine species, but also for food security and poverty alleviation that effective management strategies be implemented in coastal areas.



Shrimp harvest in the sub-district of Kubu, our focus area

Shrimp harvest in the sub-district of Kubu, our focus area




The idea is simple... big fish reproduce at larger rates, but we want the big fish, this destroys marine populations and local livelihoods!

The idea is simple... big fish reproduce at larger rates, but we want the big fish, this destroys marine populations and local livelihoods!

Big fish reproduce at higher rates, but we want the big fish, taking the most important breeders from the population. Marine populations operate on a somewhat simple population principle that a thousand fish at a small age and class size have a much lower net reproductive rate than a 100 fish at a large age and class size. As the industry targets large fish of older age/class sizes (e.g. the “big” catch), humans unequally harvest from marine populations, and, therefore, unevenly effect net reproductive rates.


This causes a waterfall effect which destroys fish populations. As we harvest the largest fish we take away the individuals contributing the most to the reproductive rate. After this population is depleted we generally move onto smaller individuals until we have unequally harvested all viable breeders in the population leaving small fish of little value both economically and biologically.

The Village of Dabung, one of the villages where we are launching our new oceans project

The Village of Dabung, one of the villages where we are launching our new oceans project




Temporary marine reserves is a simple management system. Give fish, crabs, and shrimp an area and time to reproduce and grow before harvesting!

Temporary marine reserves is a simple management system. Give fish, crabs, and shrimp an area and time to reproduce and grow before harvesting!

Fish, crabs, and shrimp are the asset class with the fastest rate of return in the world. Meaning, we just need to give them time. Area and time closures (ATCs or Temporary Marine Reserves/TMRs) is an effective management strategy for communities which relies on marine populations as a primary sustaining resource.


Under this strategy small sections of coastal areas are temporary closed for 6-8 months, allowing for fish stocks to replenish before opening for harvest once again.


Utilizing ecological principles and the fast-rate-of-return of marine populations, our temporary closure system helps communities recognize the value of preserving coastal habitats that are necessary for marine population persistence.


Area and time closures integrate the ecology of fish reproduction into their management strategies producing a resilient system for sustained harvest. When these temporary reserves are opened, local communities experience and explosion in income through harvested stock.






True to the Planet Indonesia approach, we do not blindly implement conservation and resource management strategies. But rather, we invest and partner with communities to drive the adoption of these resource management plans. In our target area for our new oceans and coastal management program we will begin working with 200 fishermen through our communal business approach. This system provides benefits for fishermen through trainings, business development, and start-up capital to invest in the economic development of communities. As they seek these benefits, they agree to try out and join this Temporary Marine Reserve management system. 




Planet Indonesia has pioneered new innovations in community-based conservation, and this program takes it even a step further. This project focuses in the coastal District of Kubu Raya in West Borneo. This district has the highest rate of illiteracy in Indonesia as the mosaic of rivers, canals, and oceans make it difficult for transportation and access to education. Planet Indonesia in 2017, partnered with another local organization, will provide literacy training (e.g. reading and writing) to the families of all fishermen that agree to join our program. We believe that conservationists and development must move beyond the traditional boundaries of increasing cash flow to alleviate poverty and protecting forests, but also expand into education, health care, and other sectors. The new coastal management program at Planet Indonesia represents our organizations continued commitment to innovative solutions that address the root causes of environmental loss and human poverty.





We plan to implement this conservation compact on 5000 hectares of mangrove forests targeting an initial 200 fishermen. Blue carbon has become a popular term in conservation in recent years as new data has been released about the value of mangrove and coastal forests.

Blue carbon refers to carbon stored in coastal or mangrove forests. This terminology was created to differentiate between traditional carbon storage which is a blanket term referring to carbon stored in terrestrial ecosystems. Mangroves, seagrass, and tidal zones contain 50% of all blue carbon stored beneath the ocean floor.

 Hutchison et. al (2013) mapped and modeled global carbon stocks and found that mangrove forests stored more carbon in above and below ground biomass than any other ecosystem in the world. However, the distribution for this storage was not equal across all mangrove forest types. Across 242 study locations in 34 tropical countries Indonesia ranked number one in a total area of 2,986,496 hectares of mangrove forests storing 729,075,000 tons of above ground carbon. The second rank was Brazil at only 227,460,000 tons of above ground carbon.


Therefore, conservationists have now prioritized mangrove forests in Indonesia as they are some of the best carbon sinks in the world. Recent studies have revealed that mangrove forests not only store carbon above ground, but also due to their extensive root system that can reach sometimes 2-3 meters below the surface also have the ability to store carbon below ground. With a rough estimate from previous research in the above ground biomass (note this does not take into account below ground storage), mangroves in West Borneo store about 300 Megagrammes of carbon per hectare (Mg/ha).

For 5000 hectares of forests that we are protecting, this equals 1,500,000,000 kilograms of carbon per hectare(Kg/ha). This is roughly equal to the emissions 316,850 passenger vehicles driven for one year or 168,786,867 gallons of gasoline consumed (data from: EPA Carbon Sequestration Converter).




We Are Not Afriad to be Different...


In the past decade wildlife trafficking – the extraction and illegal harvesting of protected species to satisfy the wildlife trade – has soared across the globe. It is now considered a major threat to national security and the ivory trade has been linked to funding terrorism in conflict nations. It is estimated that in 2009 in the EU alone, the wildlife trade was worth 100 billion euros, a 7 billion euro increase from the previous estimate in 2005. In the past few years, as the negative impacts of the trade have been related to human rights violations, national security, and environmental degradation, many nations around the globe have made commitments to addressing this issue.


Asia is often seen as the center for wildlife trafficking with strong demand in countries such as China, Japan, Vietnam, while countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar supply the trade. Furthermore, poor law enforcement and legislation at a trans-national and national level has allowed for the trade and trafficking of wildlife to explode.

 "We have proven, that collaboration is possible" - Planet Indonesia

Planet Indonesia began working with this issue from the first day we opened our doors. True to our model, we focus on-the-ground, working with trappers, traders, and poachers to not only understand the motivations but also to provide incentives and cover the opportunity costs for engaging in new business and adopting sustainable resource management strategies.


"It is clear... the loss and extinction of Indonesian birds will negatively impact us all" - wildlife trader


In 2016, we sat down as a team and made a decision. We wanted to be the first Conservation Organization…to host a conservation workshop… where all the members were wildlife trappers and traders.


As with most of our ideas at Planet Indonesia, this was new, daring, and, was going to be tough. But our team believed we could do it.


Planet Indonesia’s wildlife trade work has expanded considerably in the last few years, but our work has been centered on little known species that are negatively impacted by the trade.


Generally, when one hears trade people think tigers, elephants, lions, and rhinos. But actually, most of the heavily traded species in the world are far less iconic species.


In Indonesia, estimates of the live songbird bird trade are now at well over 1 million birds a year, and this is just within the country. These estimates and figures don’t include cross-border trade to satisfy the demand or individuals that die in transit or markets.


Planet Indonesia is one of the only organizations in-country working on this issue, and the only group in West Borneo to address the wild bird trade.


On February 11&12 we successfully gathered together over 45 birds poachers, traders, and hobbyists to talk about solutions to the trade. The difficult weeks before the conference trying to reach our goal of 40 participants quickly paid off.

"We are angry our birds are being to other locations, being taken from our forests, and being sold off the island. This is our resource, not other people's." - local trapper




The workshop started off with a bird hobbyist explaining his frustrations.


It was clear, that even though everyone’s backgrounds and objectives were different, some wanted to own birds as pets, others wanted to trap wild birds to breed them, others simply liked owning birds, while others exclaimed they trapped birds just to pay the basic costs of living, there was one unanimous point of agreement.  


The loss and extinction of Indonesian birds would negatively impact us all.


It was this point that Planet Indonesia and the participants joined hands, and it was the point that caused a group that other NGOS and local government said would never come to our workshop, to sit side-by-side and talk about solutions.


As a result of the workshop Planet Indonesia will now hold similar “awareness building” workshops with the support of these participants in 9 districts targeting another 900 trappers.

These new programs were designed with the participants and will be focused on increasing awareness about which species are allowed to be traded and which are not. However, these events, throughout 9 districts, will be organized by traders, for traders, run by traders. True to the Planet Indonesia model we will be there as facilitators and helping to empower these participants to implement these community hearings.


It was clear from the workshop there was frustration. Frustration that these individuals had never been told by the government that trapping birds was illegal, frustrated the government didn’t set quotas on birds leaving Borneo to be sold on other islands, and frustrations that low-income trappers had no alternative sources of income and support.


We are motivated, and we are excited to continue working with these 45 individuals. In fact, these 45 individuals will act as our eyes and ears in their various communities and they will help us set up the additional community outreach events in the 9 districts of West Borneo.


We have proven, that collaboration is possible, celebrating our similarities is far more effective than underlining our differences, and that together, we can both empower communities and save wildlife.


6 Weeks, 3 Continents, Maju Terus Planet Indonesia!!

One of the favorite parts about my job as the Executive Director of Planet Indonesia International is that there are no two days that are ever the same. From day-to-day activities in the office, to working in the field, to promoting our work abroad.


For the greater part of the last two months I have been on the road promoting the work of Planet Indonesia to our ever growing global audience. The last six weeks have not only been a time of great personal growth and learning, but also a time of great appreciation and reverence for the work of Planet Indonesia.


It all started in mid-August with the expansion of our Friendly Forest Initiative in the Heart of Borneo. With our new partnership at the Millennium Challenge Account, we will expand our agroforestry work to reach an additional 400 households, planting over 20,000 trees, and helping hundreds to pathways out of poverty. A bottom line of Planet Indonesia is our dedication to empowering women, and over 60% of all beneficiaries for our Friendly Forest Initiative are women.

Part of our team heading into the field via speedboat at the start of our new expansion in the Heart of Borneo

Part of our team heading into the field via speedboat at the start of our new expansion in the Heart of Borneo


I was astounded at the overwhelmingly positive response of these local communities who were thirsty for new perspectives and models that would engage them in economic development and sustainable resource management. This trip was just the first of many, and I am excited to see how this program develops and continues to grow over the upcoming years!

A peak inside one of the new villages we are working in

A peak inside one of the new villages we are working in


From there I made a quick stop for a Monitoring and Evaluation training with the Millennium Challenge Corporation in Bogor, Indonesia to help gain new perspectives and insights on how we can better measure our impact and achieve our organizational goals.

Monitoring and Evaluation Training in Bogor with Yayasan Kehati and MCA- Indonesia

Monitoring and Evaluation Training in Bogor with Yayasan Kehati and MCA- Indonesia


Then the real travel began! I hopped on a plane and was off to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress in Hawaii, a gathering of over 8000 delegates that happens only once every 4 years, often called the Olympics of conservation.

The Opening Ceremony of the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii

The Opening Ceremony of the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii


As a winner of the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge I had the privilege to promote our work on the wildlife trade in Indonesia with support from USAID.

Presenting on the Wildbird Trade in Indonesia and our Tech Solution

Presenting on the Wildbird Trade in Indonesia and our Tech Solution


One of the most shocking and exciting experiences of this Congress was the overwhelming support for our work. I sensed a real thirst among participants and donors for an innovative model that underlined the importance of a commitment to human well-being AND nature conservation.


The IUCN Congress was both exhausting and energizing. I would be lying if I said it was anything but the busiest 8 days of my life. From early morning workshops at sunrise to late night receptions and meetings with donors, there was not time to do anything but promote Planet Indonesia and our work. I want to say thank you to the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge and USAID for sponsoring me to attend the conference, without their financial support it would have not been possible.


But it wasn’t time to stop there! From the sunny shores of Hawaii it was now off to the (surprisingly cold) Savannah of South Africa. I am privileged to have been selected as one of the 34 Youth Delegates from over 1000 applicants for the Youth Forum for People and Wildlife hosted by the International Federation for Animal Welfare(IFAW).


The 34 delegates selected for the Youth Forum for People and Wildlife hosted by IFAW in South Africa

The 34 delegates selected for the Youth Forum for People and Wildlife hosted by IFAW in South Africa

The reality of working in the field of conservation is dealing with the overwhelming wave of negative facts and realizations. Nature is disappearing, species are going extinct, and world poverty levels are spiking. We are losing our planet, and losing it faster than we ever have before.


As a young conservationists living abroad, well…. it can be isolating at times. Far from the culture and home I grew up in, and dealing with the dark realities of what is happening in the world can take its toll on even the toughest and most driven of individuals.


The Youth Forum for People and Wildlife was a breath of fresh air. To meet 34 other young individuals, all under the age of 25, who have given up so much for their passions, who deal with the dark realities we face in Borneo every day, was revitalizing. It will forever remain one of the most life-changing and memorable experiences of my life.


Similar to that of the IUCN Congress, I was also astounded at the overwhelming interest and support in the work of Planet Indonesia. Across the board delegates and IFAW staff were enthusiastic about our model, and how we are pairing human development with nature conservation.


After that I made a quick stop over at the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Convention of Parties (CoP17). A gathering of over 188 nations and thousands of NGOs to make global decisions about the trade of flora and fauna.


Looking back at the past 6 weeks, despite the long days and countless number of pitches and presentations, across 3 continents, I feel energized. Energized to see a global community, from experts and scientists I met in Hawaii to the world’s leading young conservationists in South Africa, rally and support our work.


As this memorable period of 2016 comes to a close, I am ultimately motivated by one sobering fact. Wherever I go, whomever I meet, and whatever stage I must take, there is a team of individuals working around the clock in West Borneo to make our dreams, goals, and aspirations of Planet Indonesia a reality.

We, as an organization, will not stop to reverse this global trend in species loss and human poverty, the trend that I spent much of the last 6 weeks discussing. We are losing species, forests are disappearing, and people are poorer than ever before.

But where the hand of Planet Indonesia reaches, where our model and work are taking hold, things are brightening…

Meet the Staff!

Planet Indonesia has undergone some massive growth in 2016, and we realize there are a lot of staff and team members that we haven't introduced yet. This post is about our amazing team of folks working hard around the clock in Western Borneo to empower communities, conserve natural resources, and promote strong cultural identity. Meet the teams!

Team Community Business Services

Our Communal Business Group Team (from left to right): Pak Adrian, Pak Hasbi (Not Pictured: Pak Rusli, Pak Arie, Kak Indah)  

Our Communal Business Group Team (from left to right): Pak Adrian, Pak Hasbi (Not Pictured: Pak Rusli, Pak Arie, Kak Indah)


Team Biodiversity Monitoring and Evaluation

Biodiversity Monitoring and Evaluation (left to right): Satriyo, Rodransyah, Eva, Dela, Marsel, Chairunas, Desy

Biodiversity Monitoring and Evaluation (left to right): Satriyo, Rodransyah, Eva, Dela, Marsel, Chairunas, Desy

Executive Leadership Team

Leadership Team: Adam Miller, Executive Director International Branch, Novia Sagita, Executive Director Indonesian Branch

Leadership Team: Adam Miller, Executive Director International Branch, Novia Sagita, Executive Director Indonesian Branch

Team Wildlife Trafficking and Outreach

Wildlife Trafficking and Outreach Team: Bento (left), Radius Welly (middle), Juhar (right)

Wildlife Trafficking and Outreach Team: Bento (left), Radius Welly (middle), Juhar (right)

Team Environmental Youth Leadership

Our Environmental Leadership Team: Desnawaty Deccy

Our Environmental Leadership Team: Desnawaty Deccy

Team Communications and Administration

Our Administration and Communications Team: Kak Yenny (left), Kak Devya

Our Administration and Communications Team: Kak Yenny (left), Kak Devya

International Interns (2016)

Last but not least, our international interns for 2016: Chelsea Call (left), Rachel Tan (middle), Saman Amir (right)

Last but not least, our international interns for 2016: Chelsea Call (left), Rachel Tan (middle), Saman Amir (right)

A Voice From The Field: Gunung Niut

The sun greeted me early on a Friday morning as I woke up in the city of Pontianak.  The affects of jet lag still lingered in my body as I struggled to adjust to the humidity after departing from the high alpine desert in my home of Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.  While this was not my first trip across the Pacific to Indonesia, I felt slightly debilitated in my efforts to adapt.

After a refreshing mandi, the traditional bathing method of Indonesia, I excitedly packed my bags for the next seven days.  With my field necessities: mosquito repellent, camera, various lenses, SPF, notepad, and a good book; I embarked on the short walk two blocks over to the Planet Indonesia headquarters, known to the staff as “the office”.  The energy was high as people shuffled in and out of the front door in last minute preparation for seven days in the field.  I took this as an opportunity to sit down in front of a fan and check-in with loved ones at home before being disconnected from Wifi.

Once the two rental cars were packed up, the team of eight, including myself, set off on our journey towards Gunung Niut Nature Reserve.  Amongst us were Planet Indonesia directors Adam and Novia, conservation intern Marsel, biodiversity graduate students Nchay and Desy, and orangutan experts Sabri and Agitoa from International Animal Rescue.  After six pothole-filled hours of weaving through breathtaking landscapes filled with bright green rice fields we arrived at our place of rest, a hospitable homestay within the buffer zone of the nature reserve.

Over the next four days I documented the team participating in a wide array of activities. From meetings with village heads over late night coffee, to establishing orangutan nest survey transect base camps within the reserve, I was present to witness with my camera. Unable to speak or understand Bahasa, I often found myself attuning to the body language of the circumstances I was in.  Characteristic of Indonesians, I was received with some of the largest and most genuine smiles I have ever encountered.

As the team aimed to establish transects within a variety of locations in the reserve we had the opportunity to experience several different villages.  Through observation I gained the felt sense that Planet Indonesia was welcomed within each community.  While each village encompassed commonalities, such as being distinguishably rural and situated outside of the inactive volcanic tree covered mountains of Gunung Niut, every community was unique in its own way.  The first village had the most dramatic mountain backdrop, while the last was the most remote due to the audacious road, which required an off-roading vehicle to navigate.

A typical hike to the interior of Gunung Niut involved walking a few miles through village farmlands, also known as gardens. For our daily expeditions we would set off early in the day to race against the heat.  On our approach to the forest we walked alongside woman and their dog companions as they made their way towards their rice fields, supplies for the day ahead contained within hand woven baskets suspended by their foreheads.

Arriving at the edge of the rainforest was easy to distinguish due to the dramatic change of landscape, tree line rose high towards the sky and the space between floras significantly decreased. As the path beneath our feet thickened with forest floor coverage I found myself grateful for our local village guides and their navigation abilities.  The temperature dropped as the tall trees created a spacious container for a variety of tropically diverse residents.  The sounds of cicadas and foreign birds filled my ears.  I took photos as the team diligently worked together to determine the park’s boundaries and the best location for orangutan nest survey transects.  To reenergize via our packed lunch of rice, noodles, and eggs we often stopped by fresh streams or rivers.  I looked forward to these brief breaks because it meant filling up our bottles with cool mountain water.

I would be lying if I said my time in the field was not physically and mentally challenging. Yet, I emerged with a newfound sense of respect for Planet Indonesia and anyone who is on the frontlines of conservation in the rainforests of Borneo. In my experience, change within the spectrum of reforestation is slow, but vital to the livelihood of the world we are inhabitants of. While the rainforest of Gunung Niut Nature Reserve is seemingly disconnected many miles from the comfort of my home in Santa Fe, NM I now feel an intrinsic tie to this place due to my first hand experience in the field.

Post by

Chelsea Call, a childhood friend of Adam Miller, cofounder of Planet Indonesia, Chelsea is a photographer and graduate student of Art Therapy/Counseling in Santa Fe, NM, USA.

Empowering Women: From Community to Couch

March 28, 2016

What if you could empower women, just by purchasing a cushion for your couch? Today Planet Indonesia, JMM Weaving Cooperative and The People’s Fabric signed a Memorandum of Understanding to launch a new partnership to expand the reach of our gender inclusion programs.

Planet Indonesia, JMM, and The People's Fabric official signing

Planet Indonesia, JMM, and The People's Fabric official signing

Planet Indonesia works with over 1,500 women in Sintang to revitalize traditional art work as a form of empowering indigenous women. But it’s much more than just increasing income…

We build local credit stocks and capital that help communities stabilize and increase their self-reliance. When each member sells a product, they must return a small amount to a revolving fund that is used to bring financial stability and resilience to local communities. Members can take out loans from their local communal business not only to further develop their products and cover damages, but also to pay their children’s education and family healthcare bills.

Additionally, our model mobilizes communities to control their own future by building self-reliance through sustainable development and governance over natural resources. Together our team has over 20 years of experience of using communal businesses and cooperatives as an organizational structure to activate community-engagement around economic, cultural and conservation issues. Our innovative model is unique in its combination of finance with capital and capacity building through sustainable business.

The People’s Fabric, founded by Ali Capp, is a social enterprise designed to take this impact to the next level. This partnership will give these women access to an international market and provide new innovations in product diversification.

We’re all so excited to formalize this partnership – it will not only ensure that we can create additional pathways for women seeking financial independence and an alternative livelihood to the destructive palm oil trade, but it will also support Planet Indonesia and the JMM Weaving Cooperative to continue working with these communities to culturally preserve the local weaving traditions
— Ali Capp, Founder The People's Fabric

This strategic partnership utilizes the skills of each organization to support the indigenous women of Borneo. The weaving cooperative works directly with the women and helps distribute funds and manage product quality, whilst working with over 40 villages to revitalize art and mobilize crafters. Planet Indonesia focuses on fundraising, grant writing and measuring the impact of the program in order to provide resources and access to the cooperative to facilitate programs and expand their member base. The People’s Fabric further supports the women by directly purchasing products and linking local livelihoods and development with an international demand for unique homeware products.

This is exactly the type of partnership we need to continue expanding our gender inclusion work. We are excited to partner with Ali and help scale-up the impact of our work. Partnering with social enterprises is an innovative way for not-for-profits, like Planet Indonesia, to build steady sources of financial income to support our day-to-day activities. Through buying products from the People’s Fabric, individuals are not only directly supporting over 1,500 indigenous women but also helping to support our not-for-profit and the continued expansion of our community empowerment programs.
— Adam Miller, Executive Director

Next time you want to redecorate your living room, buy a present for a friend or purchase a nice Mother’s Day present, why not make your purchase one that can change the lives of others? With just a simple purchase you are contributing to the empowerment of some of the world’s most marginalized communities and bringing some community to your couch.

Visit The People's Fabric

Innovate. Fight Crime. Save Wildlife.

On one of the most biologically diverse islands of the world, Borneo, the forests are being emptied of birds at an alarming rate. Last September data from a 3 day survey conducted by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, found nearly 19,000 birds for sale in Jakarta, the nation’s capital. Last November Indonesian officials arrested smugglers in East Java who were bringing over 2500 individuals into Surabaya to sell.

New data by Planet Indonesia, a conservation organization based in West Kalimantan (Borneo), found 4892 birds for sale in 75 different markets throughout the Western province alone. The team also found agents along the Indonesian - Malaysian border who smuggled as many as 6000 individuals per month into Indonesia to sell.

The size and scale of the wild bird trade in Indonesia warrants concern and immediate action. The difficulties organizations and researchers face in monitoring markets and collecting data on species including many rare and endangered birds has caused conservationists to be almost always two steps behind the trade. Once we have information, it is usually too late.
— Adam Miller, Executive Director and Founder

Monitoring wildlife markets in Indonesia enables researchers to track the wildlife trade and identify species that are declining in the wild, but data collection is both difficult and dangerous. Field staff has just minutes to collect data on hundreds of species. Typically this has required staff to have extensive training on bird identification and market monitoring techniques. Our solution will overcome many of these problems. Planet Indonesia, in partnership with Oceanwise Australia and The Wildlife Crime Unit of the Wildlife Conservation Society, will be creating smart phone technology to increase the effectiveness of bird market monitoring in Indonesia.

This project was one of 16 prize winners selected from over 300 innovations from over 50 countries entered into the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge. The purpose of the challenge is to facilitate and develop technologies to fight wildlife crime across the globe and was launched by the U.S. Agency for International Development, in partnership with the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution, and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring organization.

Our innovation will utilize a mobile app that enables users to easily and inconspicuously collect data in Indonesian bird markets. While pretending to send a text, users can collect standardized data on species, price, and origin, and even view images to identify bird species. Collected data will be stored in a central database for access by appropriate parties.

Once the app is fully operational, the team will scale its impact by working with partners, local government, and by distributing smart phones through citizen science programs to low-income villagers in exchange for collecting data. This application will not only overcome the issues organizations and individuals face while monitoring markets (e.g. species ID, data mining, safety), but will enable mass data collection across the archipelago.

A popular saying on the island of Java in Indonesia goes “a man is considered to be a real man if he has a house, a wife, a horse, a keris (dagger) and a bird.” But new data by Planet Indonesia has revealed the trade is extensive on other islands throughout the archipelago. And this problem is not just isolated to birds and encompasses a wide range of wildlife. From birds in Southeast Asia, to elephants in Africa, to sharks and rays in the coral triangle, the global wildlife trade is estimated to be worth nearly USD $10 billion dollars a year. The overexploitation of species across the globe has ties with world hunger, religious practices, human poverty and organized crime.

Eventually it is hoped that this approach can be expanded to address this globally significant conservation issue.

World Wildlife Day


March 3rd, 2016 is World Wildlife Day. A day to celebrate the wonderful creatures we share our planet with. Our organization is dedicated to a holistic approach, empowering low-income communities nested in critical ecosystems who often rely on the harvest of wildlife and forest resources, just to survive.


In 2016, we are working with a lot of important species...


1) The Critically Endangered Abbotti's Cockatoo

Planet Indonesia has partnered with the Indonesian Parrot Project to help conserve this critically endangered species. Currently, it is estimated only ~20 are left in the wild. We are working to conserve this species's habitat, reforest important coastal areas, and work with communities to build new livelihoods to decrease the illegal trade of this species. 



In 2016, Planet Indonesia, with funding from the ARCUS foundation, will begin working with the Bornean Gibbons (subspecies abbotti) in Gunung Niut Nature Reserve. This endangered species has shown a 50% decrease in population size over the past 45 years from habitat loss and poaching.



Photo: Chelsea Call

Photo: Chelsea Call

One of the most iconic species in the world, the Bornean Orangutan is an highly threatened and in decline. Over the past 60 years the population has shown a 50% decrease in size, mainly attributed to poaching, illegal logging, and habitat loss. It is currently estimated between 45,000-69,000 are left in the wild, and disappearing at an alarming rate. Planet Indonesia is focusing on the most endangered subspecies (pygmaeus) which no more than 8,000 still exist in the wild.

Photo: Chelsea Call  

Photo: Chelsea Call



The Helmeted Hornbill is the symbol of Western Borneo. Planet Indonesia is on an IUCN working group to conserve this critically endangered species. We worked together with a number of partners to up-list this species to Critically Endangered. The total population size for this species is unknown, but the rich ivory bill has caused this species to explode on the global wildlife market






Planet Indonesia is the sole organization working in West Kalimantan to fight the illegal bird trade. In our most recent survey, we found over 4500 birds for sale in 75 different markets throughout the region. There were over 80 different species for sale. Planet Indonesia is a active member in a Songbird Crisis Working Group, a coalition of organization's working to fight the wild bird trade in Southeast Asia.




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Agents of Change



On October 21st-25th we gathered with 50 selected high school and University students for the first Climate Change Youth Camp. A packed schedule featured international and local experts teaching on issues such as climate change mitigation and adaptation, visual communications as an awareness tool, the importance of climate change leadership, among other capacity building exercises.

Our staff focused on a variety of interactive activities to build student capacity and confidence in climate change problem-solving. At the end of the camp students spent the last day designing their own project in which Planet Indonesia will provide seed funding for each group (5-7 students) to implement their ideas in their local communities.

A few sample projects:

-Creating a low-cost water filter to recycle "wash-water" from Mosques

- "My Green School" planting fruit trees on high school open-space

-Identifying and surveying for mangroves to build local reforestation programs

-Organic Compost: Starting composting programs in local high schools



We were honored to have visitors from the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, the donor for this project, to join the camp.

This was a fantastic opportunity for 50 bright, energetic, young Indonesians to get the motivation and skills needed to do something about climate change. Planet Indonesia delivered a top-notch curriculum that included science-based nuts and bolts as well as in-depth communications exercises, and plenty of fun. Perhaps the most motivating aspect was that it was held in the middle of a Kalimantan forest enveloped in smoke from slash and burn practices that are releasing carbon into the environment at an alarming rate. It was the perfect teachable moment.
— Holly Zardus, U.S. State Department


At Planet Indonesia, we are dedicated to evaluation and monitoring. Therefore, we wanted to see our impact level using a student evaluation pre-post test.

-81% increase in participants' ability to describe the green house gas effect and how it drives climate change (13% Pre Camp ; 94% Post Camp)

-43% increase in ability to describe and differentiate between Climate Change Mitigation and Climate Change Adaptation (2% Pre Camp; 45% Post Camp)

-77% increase in ability to give real-life examples of mitigation strategies and adaptation strategies used by agencies and governments (17% Pre Camp ; 94% Post Camp)

-98% of students could give a specific example of a climate change mitigation or adaptation strategy in their local community (74% Pre Camp; 98% Post Camp)

-78% increase in participants who could identify which sector contributes the most to green house gas emissions (6% Pre Camp ; 81% Post Camp)

-96% of students post-camp could accurately describe why reforestation and restoration was an essential climate change mitigation AND adaptation strategy (43% Pre Camp ; 96% Post Camp)

-60% increase in ability to describe how daily food choices (e.g. vegetarianism, meat consumption) are related to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change mitigation (34% Pre Camp ; 94% Post Camp)


When asked to identify 5 general global impacts of climate change (e.g. drought, floods, etc) on average, pre-camp, a student could identify 2 global impacts and after the camp that number jumped to 4.7 per student. When asked to identify 3 local impacts (e.g. examples from their community) on average, pre-camp, students could identify 1 local impact and post-camp that number jumped to a perfect 3! 100% of students could identify local impacts in their community.

These fantastic results are a direct representation of the Planet Indonesia's staffs hard work and careful planning of the curriculum. We saw improvements across all categories that we evaluated with the students.


Erica Pohnan (Yayasan ASRI) teaching about Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

Erica Pohnan (Yayasan ASRI) teaching about Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

The Climate Change Youth Camp is far from over! All the activities at the camp were to help the students design their own mitigation and adaptation projects. For the next 5 months students will implement their projects with careful monitoring from our team! We will gather again next March and each group will present about their projects! Go get 'em kids! We are so proud of you already!