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The furniture industry provides employment and livelihoods to millions of people. However, insecurity of raw material and power imbalance throughout the value chain impoverishes small-scale producers and results in an unsustainable furniture industry. In this presentation, CIFOR scientist Herry Purnomo uses a system dynamics approach to describe the long value chain of the Indonesian furniture industry, taking Jepara, Indonesia as a case study. He concludes with some recommendations for plausible actions to sustain wood-based industries and improve the livelihood of local communities. He gave this presentation at the MODSIM International Congress on Model and Simulations held on 12–16 December 2011 in Perth. The conference took the theme ‘Sustaining Our Future: understanding and living with uncertainty’.