We were usually called the man named Effendy A. Sumardja as “Pak Eff”. Appearing in a picture dated back on 15th July 2002, standing next to the declarators of Birdlife Indonesia Association, he was the shortest one wearing suit and tie. On Friday 17th March 2017, Pak Eff slept with a calm face as he usually was. The solemn Holy Quran’s recital was heard. At 2.40 PM he breathed his last breath. Pak Eff had rested in peace.
Pak Eff’s life was full of adventure. He was born in the city of Langsa on 21th February 1942. Almost half of his life was dedicated to biodiversity conservation in Indonesia. As one of the founders of Burung Indonesia, he fought hard to make his dream of saving the last dry lowland forest on the island of Sumatra come true. Now, the fruit of his persistent struggle has come to a realization. We call it the Hutan Harapan (Forest of Hope), the first ecosystem restoration in Indonesia.
During his lifetime, Pak Eff had held prestigious positions in the field of conservation at the national and international levels. He previously served as Director of Nature Conservation, Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation at the Department of Forestry (now Ministry of Environment and Forestry). Pak Eff has also held the position of director at a number of nature conservation institutions, conceptualizing many ideas about national park areas, and even being a lecturer.
He always generously shared his knowledge that he had nurtured all his life. In his old age, his mind was still very bright. In fact, Pak Eff was also happy to be active on social media following the latest generation. So, it's not surprising that many young people always surround him to absorb the essence of knowledge, or just to get wise advice. As a conservationist, Pak Eff's brilliance was a combination of his knowledge of the environment and his rich life experience. He understood the decision-making process at the national level and personally knew the decision-makers well.
In addition, Pak Eff also understood the challenges he faced in the field when implementing and developing good and effective conservation practices. He was a person who’s always ready to provide input from various aspects. From May 2008 until his last breath, Pak Eff had been actively leading the management of PT Restorasi Ekosistem Indonesia (REKI) as the manager of Hutan Harapan.
It is hard for us to let him go, not only for his great service, but also his fatherly warmth. He spent 15 years assisting Burung Indonesia from limping to standing up straight. However, his enthusiasm and commitment to the world of conservation in the country will never be extinguished. Establishing Burung Indonesia and building Hutan Harapan were just a few concrete examples. We will continue to protect and maintain the fire of his spirit. Farewell, Pak Eff ….