The People, the State and the Forest – Java

Who should manage the forest, the people or the forest corporation? In Indonesia, State Forest Corporation (SFC) has been granted by the authority to manage the teak forest in Java Island. There is currently an emerging conflict about the usage of teak forest between the corporation and the villagers. Over 30 years, the teak forest in Java has been controlled by the SFC and the only way that the community can have access is through the Collaborative Forest Management Program (CFMP). “The general impression is nothing really changed in Java” - Wiene Andriyana told the audience during the parallel plenary sessions on natural resources management. Tropentag_2014_Day2_Presentation1jpg013 One of the key objectives presented by Wiene was to determine if there were any changes of the CFMP after the reformation era (1998 – 2000). She used the Policy Arrangement Approach (actor, rules, power and discourses) to explore the CFMP. In contradiction to the general impression that there was no change in management practices, there were actually informal changes to power and actors rather than formal ones. What does that mean? Wiene explained that people still have access to the forest through informal negotiation with the corporation. For instance, people can apply agroforestry principles but with certain limits, such as the parcel of land allowed. Moreover, in the case of non-timber forest products (NTFP), the corporation offers twenty-five percent maximum benefit sharing with the farmers. However, the money will not go directly to individual farmer but to the community through infrastructure development. Furthermore, each farmer who wants to have access the teak forest should be a member of the community organization. Hence, the SFC will encourage the community to create such organization. I find that this management scheme sounds good, but leaves some basic questions unanswered. How secure are the farmers/community in their ability to use the forest? Is twenty-five percent benefit sharing really enough and fair? Who should really manage the forest, the people or the corporation? You answer.


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