Protecting the Forests

Farwiza Farhan grew up in Aceh, Indonesia, surrounded by the lush forests and diverse wildlife of the Leuser Ecosystem. As a child, she would often spend hours exploring the patch of forests near her home, fascinated by the natural world around her. But as she grew older, Farwiza began to notice the devastating impact of human activity on the environment. She saw forests being destroyed for monoculture and mining, and wildlife being pushed to the brink of extinction. Farwiza realized that although conservation is important for local development, it is often in direct conflict with the goals of corporations who exploit nature.

Having fallen in love with nature as a teenager, Farwiza is determined to make a difference. She decided to dedicate her life to protecting the environment. She studied marine biology and environmental management and then returned to Aceh, where she began working with local communities to strengthen their role in conservation and forest protection.
Farwiza and her peers founded Forest, Nature and Environment Aceh Foundation (Yayasan HAkA), a local organization with a mission to strengthen protection and conservation as well as accelerate restoration of the Leuser Ecosystem – the last place on earth where critically endangered megafauna, tiger, elephant, rhino and orangutan still co-exist together in the wild. Together with community, government, other NGOs and private sector partners, they worked tirelessly to protect the ecosystem through advocacy and campaign, as well as community empowerment.
Despite facing numerous challenges, including sexism and discrimination, Farwiza and her colleague remained steadfast in their commitment to conservation. They worked closely with local grassroots communities, supporting them to strengthen their role in forest protection, and protect their land and livelihood from environmental destruction. She also collaborated with government officials to push for stronger protections for the Leuser Ecosystem.

Their hard work paid off. In 2013, a joint lawsuits and campaign against a palm oil company that was burning forest in the Tripa peat swamp was won. The court decided that the company is fined millions of dollars for burning forest and destroying the environment.

This was a landmark case that set a precedent for forest burning cases across the country. Additional lawsuits opened up space for the community to participate in policy decisions that affected their lives and livelihoods and gave local communities the tools and confidence to protect and manage their forests.

Farwiza’s dedication and hard work have made a significant impact in the fight for environmental conservation in Indonesia. Their collective efforts helped shift perception over the role that grassroots communities could play in the protection of forest, and build a broad coalition of forest guardians.

For Farwiza, the most important thing is knowing that the forests and wildlife of the Leuser Ecosystem are being protected for future generations. As Farwiza once said, “Conservation is not a luxury. It is a necessity for our survival.” Her words are a powerful reminder that we all have a role to play in protecting the natural world around us, and that we must work together to ensure that it is preserved for generations to come.

Why Is This Important?

Ending deforestation is crucial for a number of reasons. Forests are one of the Earth’s most important natural resources, providing vital functions such as oxygen production, carbon sequestration, and habitat for millions of plant and animal species. Deforestation, however, releases vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing significantly to climate change. 

Deforestation also destroys the habitats of many species, leading to the loss of biodiversity and threatening the health and well-being of ecosystems. Additionally, deforestation often leads to soil erosion and decreased water quality, which can have negative impacts on local communities and economies. By ending deforestation and promoting sustainable land use practices, it is possible to mitigate the impacts of climate change, protect biodiversity, and support the health and well-being of ecosystems and communities around the world.

What Can You Do?

There is no one-size-fits-all way to take action, but here are a few ideas for you:


Examine your consumption of palm oil in products you use everyday and explore alternatives. Products like lipstick, shampoo, detergent, soap, and a variety of food items may contain palm oil. Take a look at the labels and look for alternatives where possible!


Take it a step further by talking to your family and friends about the impacts of deforestation for palm oil plantations, and encourage them to make mindful consumption decisions.

Share Your Ideas

Have you or someone you know done something in your community to address deforestation and limit palm oil consumption? We would love to hear from you! Please send your story to You can support all Daughters by donating below.


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