Vale Hiras Sidabutar

22 February 2023

Dr Hiras Sidabutar speaking at regional workshop in Pontianak, Indonesia, in 2018 as part of an ITTO project. Photo: Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation, Ministry of Forestry.

Yokohama, Japan, 22 February 2023: ITTO deeply mourns former staff member Hiras Sidabutar, who died in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Tuesday 21 February 2023, aged 77. Dr Sidabutar was a valued member of the ITTO Secretariat from 2003 to 2007, and he also performed many other roles for the Organization and more generally in the service of sustainable forestry.

Dr Sidabutar devoted his career to increasing the uptake of sustainable forest management in the tropics and creating economic opportunities for forest-dependent people. His duties as ITTO Projects Officer for Asia-Pacific included monitoring tropical forest resources and activities related to their sustainable development; assessing project proposals submitted by member countries; monitoring projects under implementation; evaluating completed projects and assessing their impacts; and providing member countries with advice related to reforestation and forest management.

Dr Sidabutar was a highly regarded forester who continued to be in high demand after retiring from ITTO, and he applied his skills and experience in various roles. Among other things, he was a member of the Consultative Committee of the Common Fund for Commodities; coordinator of the ITTO project, “Promoting Biodiversity Conservation in Betung Kerihun National Park as a Transboundary Ecosystem between Indonesia and Sarawak”; and management adviser for an ITTO project to promote renewable wood-based energy in North Sumatra. He also served several terms on the ITTO Expert Panel for the Appraisal of Project Proposals. He held a doctorate from the University of Washington and a Master of Forest Resources from the University of Idaho.

With his warm personality, Hiras was very popular in the communities in which he worked, as well as among his colleagues. With his excellent singing voice and a passion for karaoke, he liked nothing better than singing with friends. He will be greatly missed by his friends in the ITTO Secretariat and by the forestry fraternity more broadly. He is survived by his wife, Betty, and five children.

Anyone wishing to send a message of condolence to the Sidabutar family can do so to with the subject “Hiras Sidabutar”, and the Secretariat will ensure it is conveyed.