The homeland of the Kasepuhan community of south-west Java was designated Gunung Halimun National Park in 1992 and today struggles to maintain their society amidst illegal logging and other threats to their way of life.
They are located in the western part of southern Java island in Indonesia, and are bound between two provinces, Banten and West Java, which encompass the three districts of Bogor, Sukabumi and Lebak. This area, covering 40.000 ha, became a conservation area because it represents the original habitat of a diverse number of endemic flora and fauna of the tropical rain forest.
There are a huge variety of flora which grow in this area. They include 258 orchid species, 12 bamboo species and 13 rattan species. There is also the flower of Rafflesia rochrusseniis and a mysterious mushroom that glitters in darkness that is still unidentified. Other disappearing threatened endemic fauna include: Elang Jawa (Spizaetus bartelsi), Ciung-mungkal Jawa (Cochoa azuera), Celepuk Jawa (Otus angeliane), Owa Jawa (Hylobates moloch), Macan Tutul Jawa (Panthera pardus melas), Anjing hutan (Cuon alpinus javanicus), Lutung (Trachyoithecus auratus) and Sigung (Mydaus javanesis).
Inside and around Gunung Halimun National Park also live ethnic Sudanese who are integrated into the customs of societies called Kesatuan Masyarakat Adat Kasepuhan Banten Kidul. They live a life with an agricultural slash and burn pattern known as “semi-permanent.” This way of life comes from their ancestral beliefs called tatali paranti karuhun (ancestor’s manner). This belief influences all aspects of the Kasepuhan community. The cyclical pattern is called semi-permanent because it is not defined pursuant of the crop season, but rather emphasizes at rule wahyu (divine inspiration) from their ancestors.
The philosophy of the ancestor’s is continually cyclical. The cosmovision of the Kasepuhan believe that in the universe physical elements and social systems are intimately connected. The universe will continue to exist as long as its laws of regularity and equilibrium, controlled by its cosmic center can maintain all its elements in balance. They believe that every violation of the ancestors’ law will cause disaster, not only to those who violate it, but also to the whole community. That belief becomes the basis for their perception of hutan titipan.