Alam Sehat Lestari : an innovative non-profit organization that dovetails environmental & human health in rural Indonesia

  • Formed in 2010, Forest Guardians is an ASRI program which aims to involved the village communities directly adjacent to the Gulung Palung National Park in ASRI’s preservation activities. ASRI recruits community representatives from each of the villages by the park to assist with the ASRI conservation programs. Forest Guardians participate and monitor community reforestation efforts […]

    Forest Guardian Field Trip
  • We partner with local communities to train farmers in organic farming techniques to reduce the use of slash and burn agriculture.

    Photo by Nikki See of Undertold Stories
  • We work to sever the links between poverty, ill-health and ecological damage by letting poor communities “pay” for healthcare by becoming guardians of the forests where gibbons and orangutans live.

    Medical exam in progress | Photo by ASRI staff
  • The reforestation program educates local communities about the value of the rain forest and provides them opportunities to participate in restoring damaged areas.

    Photo by Kari Malen
  • ASRI has provided 67 goats to 35 widows and their families to help improve the livelihoods of the area’s most disadvantaged households.

    A widower'a kids befriend their new goat | Photo by ASRI staff
  • ASRI places an enormous emphasis on partnering with villagers in local communities. It’s a two-way exchange of information.

    Photo by Kari Malen

Saving the Rain Forest with a Stethoscope

Human health and environmental health are tightly linked. The key to global health is to protect the connections between human health and environmental health – at the local level.

The Alam Sehat Lestari program is doing just that in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. ASRI works to protect Gunung Palung National Park and the communities of about 60,000 people on its border. Gunung Palung is a stunning biodiversity treasure of 90,000 hectares featuring two small mountains swathed in tall dipterocarp forest in the lowlands and montane cloud forest on the peaks. This is home to approximately 2,500 wild orangutans, or about a tenth of the world’s surviving population.

Here’s the problem. Local people are poor, with an average income of $13 a month. Government health care is hard to reach, medical emergencies put local people into debt, and illegal logging is one of the few local means of earning a cash income. Logging is dangerous work, and it destroys the local watershed. It causes flooding, bringing devastation to agricultural areas and waterborne illnesses to people and animals.

ASRI is working to stop the poverty-poor health-deforestation cycle, turning local loggers into forest guardians.