Thursday, July 14, 2011
PUBLICATION: An economic case for tenure reform in Indonesia’s forests
A newly released study suggests lack of meaningful land rights play key role in conflict, increase in carbon emissions from Indonesia's forests.
This brief sets out some facts and analysis about the state of forest management in Indonesia. It does not aim to recapitulate the many existing studies of the extent of deforestation. The hard facts of the diminishing state of the forest are widely known, and the key drivers of deforestation (such as weak governance, corruption, illegal logging, economic development) have been discussed at length. Instead, this paper will attempt to explore the deeper issues that may explain the current state of the land use sector by viewing it in the context of the country’s economic trajectory. The poor state of the country’s forest, the relative decline of the forest industry and the inefficiency of the agriculture sector are consequences of a political and economic system that is informed by certain attitudes towards land, people and communities. This attitude prevents real change in the sector, and even though some progress has been made in policy terms in the recent past (most notably the recent moratorium on primary forest conversion), the likely effect of these changes on the overall system is likely to be limited because the underlying issues are not being addressed. This brief will attempt to introduce some of these issues, by explaining how the forestry sector got into the current parlous state, how this trajectory spells bad news for Indonesia, and how an alternative scenario could be envisioned and achieved.