Andini Desita Ekaputri


“Connectedness and concern are remedies against ignorance. Learn about the issue, research, be a human, and you will help the next generation to live in a world they deserve to be in.”


Andini Desita Ekaputri (Sita) is a PhD student from Indonesia who in 2017 joined the Carlson Lab at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Sita attended Bogor Agricultural University and received her bachelor’s degree in statistics. She then worked at ICRAF (World Agroforestry Center) under the RUPES program (Rewarding Upland Poor for Environmental Services they provide). She returned to school at the University of Indonesia while working for the ASEAN Center for Energy, and earned a Master’s degree in economics from the Department of Economics and Business. For more than four years, Sita has worked at CIFOR, where she was part of the Global Comparative Study on REDD+ team examining the socioeconomic impacts of REDD+ initiatives. She continued her passion as a social-environmental researcher and joined the Indonesian Institute of Sciences under the Research Center for Population, before leaving to pursue her PhD. Sita is a Graduate Degree Fellow at the East-West Center and a member of the SESYNC Graduate Pursuits project. In her spare time, Sita enjoys photography, karaoke with friends and practicing yoga.


Sita’s research mainly focuses on the social dynamics of environmental governance, particularly in rural areas. Tropical countries now account for the largest forested areas in the world but have also become hot spots of land-based development such as oil palm expansion. This has affected not only the land but also rural communities who live in and around those areas. Various governance initiatives to address these issues have proliferated, yet the impact of those initiatives on communities remains unclear. Understanding the interrelationships between environmental governance and people as well as assessing the effects of such governance is critical.

Sita’s dissertation will investigate the socioeconomic impacts of RSPO certification in Indonesia. RSPO or the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is a multi-stakeholder organization that aims to promote sustainable production of palm oil by developing a set of environmental and social criteria that must be complied with by oil palm producers in order to produce a certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO). Using a counterfactual approach, she will compare certified and non-certified oil palm producers and assess for changes, if any, on communities and on plantation laborers. She will focus her research in Kalimantan, Indonesia.

In addition, as part of the Global Comparative Study on REDD+ team, Sita will investigate the socioeconomic effects of a jurisdictional REDD+ program in Kalimantan. She will assess whether REDD+ interventions have affected forest cover and rural community livelihoods.