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Abson Lumban Batu, Aek Lung, North Sumatra, Indonesia

“We are ready to defend our land to our very last breath, because this land is our life.”

Answer

For generations, Indigenous Batak communities have planted benzoin trees in the forests on their traditionally-owned lands and have sustainably harvested the tree’s resin for an incense similar to frankincense. For many this is a significant cultural practice and the primary source of cash income. Pulp giant Toba Pulp Lestari (TPL) has taken over many of the benzoin forests clearing them for eucalyptus pulp plantations, directly threatening the livelihoods of many communities.    

Photo of Op Grace Boru Siregar, in the benzoin tree forest on her traditionally-owned land in Onan Harbangan Nagasaribu. Op Grace is one of the few women who harvest benzoin resin, traditionally harvested only by men.

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