In the middle of eucalyptus forests in the heart of Borneo, excavators move large rocks and orange clay ground. Wire ropes and sheaves of red-colored cranes lift and lower heavy materials, transporting them from one place to another.
Such activities have been a common daily sight in the three years since Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced a plan to relocate the nation's capital from Jakarta on Java Island to the world's third-largest island to ease the burden on the city from its chronic pollution, traffic congestion and other woes.
With a population of over 10 million, Jakarta has also been rapidly sinking, largely due to groundwater depletion that has been compounded by rising sea levels due to the effects of climate change. The city is predicted to be underwater by 2050.
The area being developed in Borneo sits on about 256,000 hectares of land. Through the ambitious project, the Indonesian government promises a sustainable, smart forest city with a goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.
The new capital to be called Nusantara, an ancient Javanese name for the Indonesian archipelago, is expected to be completed by 2045 and have a population of less than 2 million.
A new presidential palace -- designed in the shape of a garuda, a golden-winged mythical bird and Indonesia's national symbol -- and some ministers' offices have been targeted for completion next year.
Also from next year, the first batch of about 17,000 civil servants, as well as police officers and military personnel, will arrive in the new capital, with the country's Independence Day ceremony to be held there on Aug. 17 that year.
But with its natural forests depleted by palm oil plantations and coal mining, Nusantara is not just marked to be the nation's new capital but a nursery where 15 million to 20 million trees could be planted annually in a bid to return the area to one full of biodiversity.
The area still consists largely of forests that produce timber and other products, but it will be turned into tropical forests that "will act as carbon sinks, not only for Nusantara but also for the whole of Borneo, as well as for Indonesia," said Bambang Susantono, chief of the Nusantara authority.
With the area also being transformed into a "city for 2045," the planned completion date of the new capital, Bambang said it is important to "think beyond what is happening today" and work on things that are "still futuristic."
The local authority also wants to ensure a habitat for endangered animals.
According to Bambang's deputy Myrna Safitri, the local authority has contacted a nongovernmental foundation that transformed a grassland into a natural forest 20 years later, creating a home for orangutans and sun bears.
"This is something we want to copy" in the future for Nusantara, Myrna said, adding that a wildlife corridor under a highway is also in the works.
Jamartin Sihite, CEO of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, is confident that a similar forestation project can be replicated in the new capital. "Some people say it is impossible to create forests, but I say it is possible."
The capital relocation project is facing opposition from indigenous people.
For members of the Balik tribe, who have lived for generations in Sepaku Lama Village -- an area designated as part of Nusantara -- their way of life is on the line.
"The government never asked us whether we agreed to get relocated or not," said tribal chief Sibukdin, who, like many Indonesians goes by a single name.
"Our land has been marked here and there without consulting with us, without negotiating with us. They steal our land," the 49-year-old said.
The tribe has refused to accept compensation.
It is not a matter of compensation, the father of six said. "If we get relocated, our tribe will be eliminated from the Earth."
The Nusantara authority's Bambang said the government has offered the tribe a couple of options, including shared ownership of stores or shopping malls built on their land.
"We'll try to persuade them...and hopefully, they will understand that this is for the sake of everybody," he said.
Economic challenges also loom as the authority advances the new capital project, particularly with regard to attracting investors.
Construction of the new capital is set to cost around $30 billion, with 80 percent financed by private investment and the remaining 20 percent coming out of the state budget.
Foreign investors are not rushing in, however, mindful that Indonesia will choose a new president next year who may not proceed with the relocation plan.
Bambang said that if the next president rescinds the new capital project, "he or she must change the law first, and to change the law, they must go through a political process."
Hopefully, the next president will not go through such a process, Bambang said before adding, "We'd love to see this city become not only livable but also lovable."