Apply Knowledge Globally

Supporting sustainable forest management worldwide


Indonesian forestry technician doing forest restoration in a peat bog ecosystem, Central Kalimantan, Island of Borneo, Indonesia. Forest Service photo by Hank Kashdan.

INDONESIA — Forest Service International Programs is making a big difference in Indonesia. These efforts involve many current Forest Service employees and retirees who bring back new ideas and gain a more global perspective on natural resource management.

Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation in the world and also has one of the largest forestry estates. It is clear that the United States and Indonesia have strong reasons to work as partners in solving worldwide challenges, especially those in natural resources. It is also clear that the Forest Service can have a huge role in making that partnership work. 

Like many countries in Asia, Indonesian forests are threatened by deforestation due to growing populations and unsustainable land conversion. Periodic wildfires, often intentionally started to clear land, effect air quality throughout southeast Asia and have significant health effects on people in the region. Indonesian forests are also home to some of the world’s most iconic species, including orangutans, tigers, rhinoceros, and elephants. Forest conservation efforts are essential to preserve this globally significant wildlife and provide natural resources for the millions of forest dependent people throughout the country.

To help address some of these challenges, a team of United States Agency for International Development and Forest Service staff, including Cibola National Forest Supervisor Elaine Kohrman and Hank Kashdan, former Associate Deputy Chief, recently travelled to Indonesia to visit with forest managers and decision-makers. The team was tasked with recommending ways to improve the country’s forestry governing structure, program development and budget process.

The team identified two Indonesian forests to be part of a technical exchange between the Forest Service and the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Forest Service staff visited the two Indonesian forests provide technical assistance on a range of issues. Additionally, they delivered a workshop in Jakarta about the forestry program and budget planning process used by the Forest Service. 

As a part of the knowledge exchange, Indonesian foresters recently visited Cibola National Forest to experience the National Forest System first-hand and see how our forests are managed for multiple uses.

International Programs and USAID-Indonesia continue to support our Indonesian partners by developing a series of tool kits to address forest planning and management for multiple uses, workforce management and development.

The employees on the Indonesian forest management units and at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry want to make a difference in their country and want to be part of improving natural resource conditions internationally. Forest Service efforts in Indonesia are funded by, and in partnership with, USAID.


Hank Kashdan with high school students on World Wildlife Day, 2017, Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo credit: Harityas Wiyoga, Forest Service photo.