As villagers grow coffee right under the homes of the gibbons, their actions easily impact the animals above. The challenge Arif foresaw was convincing the villagers that they could continue to grow shade coffee and benefit economically without clearing land to increase the coffee yield. This would ensure that forest canopies, which are the natural habitat of Javan gibbons, are preserved.
With this in mind, Arif and a group of friends started the Coffee and Primate Conservation Project (CPCP). It aims to build relationships with the village chiefs and farmer collectives to encourage the cultivation of shade-grown coffee.
Before the project kicked off, farmers in the region weren’t aware of how to harvest and process coffee in an efficient and economically viable manner. The team realised that if the harvesting and processing techniques were improved, the villagers would see a significant improvement in their livelihoods. All of this could be achieved without disturbing existing forests and the habitats of the local wildlife of the Dieng area. Over the course of several years, CPCP went from building trust with the farmers to roping them into broader conservation outreach. So today, the farmers are spokespersons for conserving forest habitats and protecting the Javan gibbon.
Apart from sustainable coffee farming, CPCP is also active in law enforcement and gibbon population monitoring in their project sites. Patrols are carried out to deter illegal poachers, and field research is conducted through remote cameras and sound recordings to assess the result of conservation efforts.