AGROFORESTY AND ETHNOBOTANY
In a world where conservation and development are always seen as being at odds with one another, we want our project at Bukit Tigapuluh to work towards showing that they can co-exist, or even thrive together. We want to work towards the goal of growth and harvest of crops from ecologically rich forests with minimal, or even positive impacts on the surrounding forests. Some ideas that are on the table include the harvest of non-timber forest products like honey, rattan, camphor, and dammar resin using traditional methods as practiced by the indigenous peoples of the region. We are also considering growing shade-grown Sumatra coffee in our Princeton rainforest, or growing interspersed sago palms for the production of sugar and sago starch for the local market. We want our forest to be productive for local people as well as wildlife, and we hope this is a small step towards mitigating the massive human-wildlife tensions in Sumatra today.
Furthermore, the various ethnic groups of the region, from the Orang Rimba, the Talang Mamak (both hunter-gatherer groups intimately tied to the forest), and the Sundanese and other Sumatran peoples, all practice highly developed forms of traditional herbal medicine. We would hope to devote part of our forest to be a living repository of indigenous knowledge - a biobank. We hope to collect and grow medicinal plants in a nursery, along with documenting and collecting information on the traditional uses of plants to make the value of the forest to humans even more apparent.