Despite a moratorium by the Indonesian
government rejecting new logging concessions
since May 2011, Indonesia saw 840,000 hectares
of forests cleared in 2012 and deforestation levels
continue to increase at an alarming rate every year.
International experiences have shown that chances
of sustainable long-term forest management
improve when the ownership and management of
forest resources remain with local communities.
Once they have secured long-term access to
resources through property rights they become
confident enough to widen their time horizon and
to invest in sustainable forestry practices.
However, Indonesian forests are owned by the
national government, which then delegates
management rights to local levels of government.
The ensuing struggle over control of forest
resources between all levels of government caused
weak legal and regulatory frameworks and a major
barrier for sustainable forest management.
Considering these complexities of forest governance,
there is no simple way towards sustainable forest
management and to the prevention of further
deforestation. Nevertheless, several case studies
from Indonesia and abroad can serve to inspire the
following policy recommendations in Indonesia.
They are based on the existing Indonesian system
of forest classification and allowable land uses.
For-profit businesses should be allowed to build
and manage eco-tourism facilities in conservation
forests (hutan konservasi). These activities will
support the preservation of ecosystems and
Protection forests (hutan lindung) are meant to
prevent floods, control erosion, and maintain
soil fertility. For their sustainable management,
usufructuary rights should be granted to local communities allowing them to manage these
forests and giving them limited rights to access
Finally, production forests (hutan produksi), where
timber and non-timber products can be extracted,
should either be handed over to local communities
or be privatized. The national government should
move away from approaching those forest areas
as a source of national state revenues. Instead,
it should allow these resources to support local
income generation and growth.