Conservation, Livelihoods, and Agrifood Systems in Papua and Jambi, Indonesia: A Case for Diverse Economies

Angga Dwiartama, Zulfikar Ali Akbar, Rhino Ariefiansyah, Hendra Kurniawan Maury, Sari Ramadhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Community-based conservation in Indonesia is seamlessly intertwined with rural livelihoods and agriculture and food (agrifood) systems. In bridging conservation and livelihood, the state often imposes market-based mechanisms and value chain linkages onto smallholder farmers, which disparages other forms of livelihood strategies and modes of production. This paper, therefore, aims to document the diverse economies within forest-dependent communities that enable them to autonomously build a sustainable livelihood and contribute to conservation. We used Gibson-Graham’s diverse economies approach as a framework to understand the ways in which the diversity of economic means (subsistence, market-based, alternative) goes beyond a mere livelihood strategy, but also acts as a basis for a more democratic and inclusive conservation practice. To capture these livelihood stories, we employed participatory rural appraisal (PRA), in-depth semi-structured interviews with 89 key informants (including smallholder farmers, household members, community leaders, village officials, elders, and youths), and visual ethnographic approaches in six villages adjacent to forest areas in two provinces in Indonesia (Jambi and Papua). We conclude by emphasizing how the diverse economies approach helps in understanding the ways in which the local communities seamlessly move beyond various agrifood systems and modes of economies, while making the case that what emerges from this space of possibilities is an ethics, and politics, of care toward forest conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1996
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • conservation
  • diverse economies
  • livelihood
  • neoliberal environmentality
  • non-capitalistic food systems
  • politics of care
  • visual stories


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