“Green Gold”, as part of Elements exhibition, Mois de la Photo Yogyakarta 2010

I am taking part in a group exhibition by Cephas Photo Forum we call Elements, during Mois de la Photo Yogyakarta 2010. Mois de la Photo Yogyakarta is an annual event held every November by the Centre Culturel Français (CCF) Yogyakarta. This year, we co-organize the event with them.

For the exhibition, I present a series of photographs I took recently when I visited a state-owned teak forest in Blora, during a trip across Central and East Java. I titled this series “Green Gold”, a term popularly used in Java to describe how valuable teak wood is.

Brief statement about the work:

Indonesia doesn’t have many good stories about its forests. In the contrary, we had already earned a bad name instead. Some neighbouring countries had issued protests because our burning forests caused their sky―our sky―hazy. We couldn’t even determine whether or not it was caused by wild fires, or act immediately to control the fires.

Besides the fires, there are also issues of massive deforestation, palm oil plantations, local inhabitants or indigenous tribes being ousted from the forests by government agents, villagers get arrested because they go into the forest bringing machete, among others. The agents suspect the locals of “stealing” woods from their own backyards.

I found a shed of light when I visited a government-owned teak forest in Cepu district, Blora, Central Java few months ago. The administrator of the forest, Perum Perhutani or the State Owned Forest Enterprise, has recently implemented a new approach on how to manage and protect the forest, which is called Pengelolaan Hutan Bersama Masyarakat (P.H.B.M.) or Community Participatory Forest Management.

It is impossible to guard the forest with barbwire fences, or for the limited Polisi Hutan (forest rangers) to patrol the vast forest that span 37,000 hectares. The community needs to be involved to protect the pricey woods and they must earn something from the forests they’ve been living in.

“The ‘fence’ of the forests is togetherness. Locals directly involved in guarding and fostering the forest, because it belongs to them.” said Andiriana, the Head Administrator of Cepu Forest Block.

Cepu, Blora, Central Java, Indonesia. Budi N.D. Dharmawan © 2010

Teak seed farm. Cepu, Blora, Central Java, Indonesia. Budi N.D. Dharmawan © 2010

Forest ranger. Cepu, Blora, Central Java, Indonesia. Budi N.D. Dharmawan © 2010

Cepu, Blora, Central Java, Indonesia. Budi N.D. Dharmawan © 2010

Local woman collecting branches. Cepu, Blora, Central Java, Indonesia. Budi N.D. Dharmawan © 2010

Local man collecting branches for fire wood. Cepu, Blora, Central Java, Indonesia. Budi N.D. Dharmawan © 2010

Locals burn garbage near dry teak trees. Cepu, Blora, Central Java, Indonesia. Budi N.D. Dharmawan © 2010

Cepu, Blora, Central Java, Indonesia. Budi N.D. Dharmawan © 2010

Cepu, Blora, Central Java, Indonesia. Budi N.D. Dharmawan © 2010

Wood stockpiling depot. Cepu, Blora, Central Java, Indonesia. Budi N.D. Dharmawan © 2010

Men work together to carry and transport teak logs. Cepu, Blora, Central Java, Indonesia. Budi N.D. Dharmawan © 2010

Old steam locomotive still being used to transport teak logs. Cepu, Blora, Central Java, Indonesia. Budi N.D. Dharmawan © 2010

Teak logs being transported using old steam locomotive. Cepu, Blora, Central Java, Indonesia. Budi N.D. Dharmawan © 2010

Cepu, Blora, Central Java, Indonesia. Budi N.D. Dharmawan © 2010

“Green Gold” — Photography exhibition by Budi N.D. Dharmawan
A part of ELEMENTS by Cephas Photo Forum | Mois de la Photo Yogyakarta 2010
Galerie Centre Culturel Français (CCF) Yogyakarta, 3–19 November 2010
Jalan Sagan 3, Yogyakarta | Monday to Friday | 10.00–20.00

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