Online discussion by Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat on deforestation, wild animal trading and the COVID-19 pandemic

Courtesy of Sonya Dyah Kusumadewi and Dyah Puspitaloka, August 2020

Professor Herry Purnomo, coordinator of Trade Hub in Indonesia, was invited as a speaker in an online discussion held by Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat, an Indonesian NGO focusing on indigenous community rights. The discussion, held on 6 May 2020, was streamed online through Zoom and Facebook. More than 50 people joined the discussion focusing on the ‘relevance of deforestation and wild animal trading as drivers of the COVID-19 pandemic and socioeconomic problems in Papua’. Participants also discussed forest rehabilitation and restoration of community rights.

Amelia Puhili from Yayasan Pusaka Bentala Rakyat served as discussion moderator. The discussion began with a presentation by Agustinus Veth, a community representative from West Papua. He revealed various socioeconomic and environmental impacts resulting from development, particularly industrial plantation expansion by the timber and oil palm industries. The discussion continued with a presentation from Pastor Anselmus Anto on a spiritual approach to conserving forests, the environment and biodiversity. Dr. Agus Setiyono PhD from the Faculty of Veterinary Science at IPB University explained zoonosis, or diseases transmissible from wild vertebrates to humans, and outbreak events. Professor Herry Purnomo talked about the links between deforestation and disease outbreaks, with a specific focus on COVID-19. He also explained preliminary findings from scoping studies in Trade Hub, such as online bird trading, as well as findings on wild species trading from other CIFOR studies. Discussion participants seemed to be interested in the topics and discussed many issues, most of them relating to Indonesian and global regulations on wild species trading, the monetary value of the illegal wildlife trade, and the drivers of deforestation in Indonesia.

Material presented by Professor Herry Purnomo is available here.

For any inquiries regarding Trade Hub Indonesia, please contact Sonya Dyah (

Visit the Trade Hub global website here.