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.
Emily Readett Bayley’s first visit to Hutan Harapan RSPB Forest of Hope in Sumatra was to research the craft heritage of the indigenous Batin Sembilan community and quantify what sustainable natural materials can be cultivated or sourced from within the ecosystem restoration area that makes up the forest concession. The aim is to provide livelihood opportunities for these semi nomadic people who like the tigers they share the forest with are finding it harder and harder to subsist as hunters or gatherers. She has been asked by the RSPB and partners to develop a variety of handcrafted products including baskets, brushes, plant pots and bird boxes suitable for sale in European Garden Centres.
Emily’s working with the RSPB in their rainforest ERC, Hutan Harapan in Sumatra – home of the critically endangered Sumatran Tiger
Hutan Harapan is an ecosystem restoration concession in South Sumatra where the RSPB and partners are working alongside the indigenous forest communities to protect and maintain an area of virgin rainforest threatened by rapidly expanding palm oil plantations.The forest is home to many endangered birds and rare animals including the critically endangered Sumatran Tiger which is increasingly being forced out into plantations with tragic consequences. See this article today in The Jakarta Post