Community forest


Community forest management

Community-based forest management (CBFM) involves community groups managing the forests they own, or managing state-owned forests where they share customary land tenure rights. As groups that have secure tenure are more likely to adopt long term perspectives and more sustainable practices, CBFM is known to slow deforestation and protect livelihoods. Indigenous forest management systems, food security, cultural diversity, social cohesion and markets can all benefit, and democratic practices and the more equitable distribution of wealth are encouraged.

However action is needed by both communities and governments to develop CBFM systems. A first step involves securing tenure and rights for communities, and a second involves ensuring that policies and institutional arrangements support communities, women and other marginalised people to make decisions over their land. In 2012 an important decision by Indonesia’s Constitutional Court (MK35/2012) resulted in hutan adat (customary forests) no longer being categorised as hutan negara (state forests) which means that communities have stronger rights to manage resources, reversing a situation which has persisted for decades.

SETAPAK partners are helping community groups to have their customary forest and land areas legally recognized by supporting the development of CBFM proposals for village forest (hutan desa), community forest plantations (HTR), and community forests (HKM). They are also working to support the development of relevant district regulations and the formation of adat institutions which promote indigenous land rights.

In East Kalimantan, PADI with support from HuMa, has succeeded in legalizing regulations that clarify community rights in an important water catchment threatened by nickel mining, and in North Kalimantan, PADI supported the development of a regulation legalizing the formation of a Badan Pengelolaan Urusan Masyarakat Adat (Indigenous Affairs Management Agency). In West Kalimantan, JARI has been working with communities to protect an extensive area of mangrove and peatland threatened by plantations and extractive industries.

Similarly in North Kalimantan and Aceh, SETAPAK partners have been instrumental in drafting formal regulations for community managed forest areas which have been submitted to the district heads for approval. These regulations will be used to secure land rights by clarifying the designation of the areas in the district spatial plans.

A foil for oil

Tamiang palm oil expansion

In Aceh Tamiang, a former district head had issued permits for palm oil plantations in an area of forest in the Leuser Ecosystem, violating its protected status. SETAPAK partner HAKA pushed for the area to be restored to its previous function, as conservation forest. The government agreed to HAKA’s request, and has supported a restoration initiative to remove 1071 ha of palm oil plantations in Tamiang’s forest zone. Nine ha of oil palm trees has already been cleared by the district government to be replanted with natural forest. To support a budget allocation from the district government for the restoration of the cleared area, HAKA is conducting a budget study identifying the costs and the related legal responsibilities.