Product Design Consultancy for the RSPB in Harapan, Sumatran Rainforest
Emily returned to Indonesia in February 2019 to design some bird themed products which can be made by the indigenous Batin Sembilan people who live in the Hutan Harapan, Forest of Hope, the last remaining area of lowland rainforest in South Sumatra. It was the first Ecosystem Restoration Concession granted by the Indonesian government and The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has supported the initiative for 18 years. It is home to many critically endangered birds as well as Sumatran tigers and Asian Elephant. A small community of Batin Sembilan , who are indigenous to the region, also live in the forest and the aim is to utilise their traditional weaving and craft skills and use sustainable materials such as rattan and pandanus grass that can be cultivated in the forest to make baskets, nest boxes and decorations suitable for sale by the RSPB. The hope is to kick start a community craft industry and offer an alternative to working in the palm oil plantations which completely surround this forest.