How the chainsaw and rifle buyback will fit into our program

Currently, one of the major drivers of environmental loss comes from the local communities who live within or near Indonesia’s forests.

Since the 1980’s, the wellbeing of these local communities have been marred by poor policy decisions and the encroachment of capitalism.

The government’s theft of their land forced them to rely on cash to trade for goods such as clean water and food, necessities that they previously relied on the land for. But while the government took plenty away, they provided few to zero pathways to financial stability, forcing these communities into poverty.

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Recently, the land was returned but the ugly legacy of the mismanagement of Indonesia’s resources and people live on.

The communities are still in poverty and have resorted to dangerous jobs within the illegal hunting and logging industries to survive. The poverty also leaves them vulnerable to signing away their land rights to outside interests. Many are after their valuable and fertile land; the conditions found in Indonesia’s rich tropics are rare but perfect for plantations such as palm oil.

It’s a catch 22. These illegal and environmentally unsustainable practices only provide short-term relief to deeply entrenched socioeconomic issues that will only worsen after the forests have been dilapidated.

The forest and its people are mutually reliant on each other for survival.

There is also little hope for the successful conservation of these environments unless these systemic issues are resolved. The local people hold the greatest power in protecting these ecosystems.

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We aim to empower them so they can use that power for good.

Our Conservation Cooperatives (CCs) help these communities overcome poverty by providing them with services in health, education and business. The solution must be a self-sustaining one if it is to be long-lasting, so while we support and advise, the programs are village-led.

The rifle and chainsaw buy-back program will be the newest addition to our current set of available services that villages may choose to benefit from. We need your help in raising the final $10,000US to launch the program.

Each village usually owns 4-5 chainsaws for logging. Most individual community members own rifles used for hunting.

For every 30$ we receive we can buy back a locally made rifle

For $100 we can buyback the most commonly owned air rifle

And for every $400 we can buyback a chainsaw.

To receive the services our CCs provide, villages must promise to halt illegal activities conducted inside the forest. Many of these chainsaws and rifles therefore should lose their usefulness, but we’ll buy them back, destroy them and inject some much needed resources into their economy.

In exchange for surrendering rifles and chainsaws communities receive training to start alternative livelihoods and access to services like healthcare and education. That money will also help communities and individuals build communal infrastructure and allow loggers and poachers to build pathways out of poverty and into sustainable livelihoods.

Furthermore, these are villages that we’ve already built a strong working relationship with, who have already developed new systems of their own with the help of our Conservation Cooperatives and have expressed a desire to continue partnering with us.

These programs are there to help the communities develop their own systems – we’re just there to give them a helping hand where they need it.

We’re already seeing incredible change in the areas we work in, for example households enrolled in our programs were 70% less likely to own wildlife and 78% of households enrolled reported they felt more secure and economically safe as a member of our conservation cooperatives.


In the years after we began our programs we have also seen tree cover loss in the area decrease - a direct result of our programs focus on community empowerment as seen in the infographic.

We can’t wait to see how these new initiatives help the people and the wildlife that depend on these ecosystems. Please consider donating this holiday season and we’ll be sure to update you on how all our programs are coming along.

You can donate here and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to asks us via Follow us on our social media which you can find here and here to get timely updates on our activities, an insiders look into the lives of front-line conservationists and ongoing programs.

Adam MillerComment