Social Forestry Business Unit: strengthening people’s economy

Social Forestry Business Unit: strengthening people’s economy

Indonesia - 07 December, 2020

Villages in Indonesia that have obtained a social forestry permit are allowed to develop enterprises, called social forestry business unit (KUPS), so they can benefit from the forest while also protecting it. For further development after being established, with the village government’s decision letter the KUPS can access Bangpesona grants from the Directorate General of Social Forestry and Environmental Partnership, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

In Sungai Pelang village, the Karya Bersama KUPS raises cattle, a fishery, beekeeping, and makes organic fertilizers. For producing the fertilizer they were supposed to receive a three-wheeled vehicle, chopping machine and building materials in November 2020. However, due to Covid-19, only 30% of the subsidy for these was received, for they only received the chopping machine. Jaswadi, Tropenbos Indonesia’s social forestry facilitator in Sungai Pelang, Ketapang explained, “We’re very disappointed, but I tried to cool them down, telling that it’s due to unexpected circumstance, and all government agencies need to switch parts of their budget to handle the pandemic.” As per regulations, the village fund is also allocated to the community, with each household receiving IDR 300,000 per month from March 2020.

During the GLA programme, Tropenbos Indonesia helped seven villages to obtain social forestry permits, three in collaboration with other institutions – Laman Satong with Flora Fauna International (FFI), and Sungai Besar and Pematang Gadung with International Animal Research (IAR). Four villages successfully obtained their permits: Laman Satong, Sungai Besar, Sungai Pelang and Pangkalan Telok, but Tanjung Baik Budi and Pesaguan Kanan were rejected due to unclear land tenure and issues with a private company, and another application for Pematang Gadung village forest permit resubmitted recently after the completion of its prerequisites (Table 1).

Table 1. Permits issued in villages facilitated by Tropenbos Indonesia

Area (ha)
VF Permit
Date of issue
Laman Satong *
04 Dec 2017
Sungai Pelang
11 Dec-2017
Sungai Besar**
30 Oct 2017
Pematang Gadung**
Re-application In process
15 Feb 2016 (expired in 2018)
Tanjung Baik Budi
Pangkalan Teluk
15 Apr 2019
Pesaguan Kanan

*in collaboration with FFI
**in collaboration with IAR

Facilitating the establishment and management of KUPS is part of the assistance Tropenbos Indonesia offers to speed up implementation of the government’s social forestry programme in the region, as stated in the National Mid-term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2020-2024. The Minister of State Affairs distributed a letter to governors, district heads and regents, offering support to these efforts to reduce poverty, unemployment and unsustainable use of forests. In the letter, the minister also encouraged coordination among stakeholders including government agencies, the private sector, communities and others, to empower communities and promote community-based social forestry that will develop the rural economy through use of non-timber forest products, creating jobs and reduce pover.