In films recently released in Jakarta and London” Indonesian villagersin Papua helped expose illegal logging and forest devastation by usingdigital and video cameras to record logging companies' activities inthe region. The regionis closed to journalists and visitors” so the films helped capture thedaily life of native groups” while highlighting the impacts the logginghas on their quality of life.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) provided villagers in the Papua province of Indonesia with secret filming equipment” a recent article from The Telegraph

reports. The EIA has been working on exposing illegal logging inIndonesia since the early 1990s” and the two films released as part ofthis project provided important insight and first-hand evidence of thedevastation.

Villagers and communities rely on forests as aprimary source of food and shelter” and when logging moves in andstrips the forests” wildlife such as deer” pigs and birds are drivenout” making it harder for these communities to find food. A group ofMooi women in one film state that deforestation makes it more difficultfor them to get the necessary materials for weaving and other crafts”which are important for their livelihoods.

A film on the Arfakshows how local peoples lost their rights to the land when palm oilplantations moved in” with the promise that palm oil would help sustainthem economically. The palm oil plantations fall into neglect” however”when they become unprofitable” leading the communities to regret theirinvolvement in the industry” and lacking in the economic benefits theywere promised.

Rivers are now heavily polluted” and locals arehaving to travel greater distances to find food and other necessities”demonstrating that the palm oil plantations have not only broughtenvironmental degradation” but economic hardship to natives in forestedregions. EIA hopes the films will prompt investigation into illegallogging and increase overall awareness on the issue.