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Implementation of Social Forestry in West Kalimantan, Indonesia

The current Indonesian regulation on land use classification has made it more difficult for indigenous communities living in and around forests to improve their livelihoods. National regulations have deprived people of their primary source of income, and even of access to forests that have been declared state owned. Obtaining permits for access to these forests and to carry out activities is a complex and time consuming process, while planning alternative livelihood options for these communities is also often difficult. The people traditionally depend on forest resources and have limited skills in the agricultural sector. Moreover, the remaining available land is increasingly being occupied by large-scale plantations and the extractive industries.

In response to growing concern about indigenous communities’ customary rights, the National Government of Indonesia launched a social forestry initiative and committed itself to target 4.38 million hectares by the end of 2019. Social forestry allows local communities to manage land and forest resources in state-owned forest areas, as long as the activities do not alter the original function served by the forest land.

Aidenvironment supports local communities in obtaining social forestry status as one step toward sustainable social economic development. Earlier this year we invited 16 engaged local communities from Ketapang and Sambas District (West Kalimantan) on a social forestry excursion to Jakarta and Bogor. Community representatives learned about the economic potential of forest products which their villages could exploit. Meetings between the communities’ representatives and central government policymakers have resulted in faster approval of social forestry areas in Ketapang and Sambas districts. Participating communities received technical support from the Ministry of Forestry and Environment to help them prepare their social forestry proposal. If the communities manage to pass the multiple verification steps, they will have the right to access and manage a total of 20,000 ha of forest land under the social forestry scheme by the end of June 2018. To ensure real and effective progress, Aidenvironment plans to engage with local NGOs in both districts to support the implementation of social forestry management plans on the ground.

For more information, please contact Fenneke Brascamp.