Webinar Series “Managing the Remaining Forests” series#18 Implications of Managing Forest Resources Post UUCK

Webinar Series “Managing the Remaining Forests” series#18 Implications of Managing Forest Resources Post UUCK

Indonesia - 26 May, 2021

After the discussions on topics related to the Job Creation Law (UUCK) No.11/2020 in the two previous webinars, the Tropenbos Indonesia webinar series “Managing the Remaining Forests” #18 again reviews the topic around the implications of UUCK on forest resource management. Present as resource persons were experts in the field of social forestry from government, academic, and practitioner. The event, which took place on Saturday, May 22, 2021, was attended by around 500 participants either via zoom or the youtube.

Bambang Hendroyono, Secretary General of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) said that talking about environment and forestry policies is also talking about their relationship with policies on various other matters. "Don't just look at a piece of Law (UU) No.41/1999, a piece of Law No.5/1990, but the environment is actually also in Law No.32/2009 and Law 23/2014," he said. Various policies within the scope of environment and forestry indeed often overlap in their implementation so far. However, according to Bambang, the presence of UUCK No.11/2020 has largely synchronized this. "The UUCK is not only de-bureaucratization and deregulation, but also ensures that natural resources and forest resources that will be developed remain environmentally sound," he said.

Bambang said that currently there has been a fundamental change in forestry governance where a number of Ministerial Regulations have strengthened the PP and UUCK. Various breakthroughs have also been made, although supervision of implementation in field still needs to be improved. "Businesses that violate will definitely be subject to sanctions and lead to administrative sanctions and criminal sanctions," he said. In accordance with Article 27 regarding Protection Forests, and Article 29 regarding Production Forests, forest management right is not only granted to the private sector or concessionaires, but also to individuals and cooperatives. In addition, the obligation for the private sector to guarantee business sustainability, production sustainability, and environmental sustainability is reaffirmed through Articles 30 and 31.

Currently, according to Bambang, the Directorate General of Sustainable Production Forest Management (PHPL) of the MoEF continues to oversee 11 policy points which include mapping the potential of forest resources for business licensing, revision of business work plans, completion of boundaries for business licensing areas, resolution of tenure conflicts in business licensing areas. through the social forestry approach and agroforestry development, productivity sustainability, optimizing forest use in business licensing areas, implementing silvicultural systems and harvesting techniques, product diversification, building new business configurations to ensure the strength of the upstream, downstream and market sectors, evaluating the performance of Business Licensing for Forest Utilization (PBPH) of multi-business forestry, and support in climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as the No Deforestation Commitment/NDC.

According to San Afri Awang, Professor of the Faculty of Forestry, Gadjah Mada University (UGM), forest utilization through the management of Social Forestry (SF) in State Forests and Customary Forests aims to realize three important things, namely forest sustainability, community welfare, and environmental balance. He saw an interesting thing in UUCK where the reason for SF implementation is now not only because of conflict area, but because it aims for the welfare of the people. "So if there is a tenure or settlement conflict, it is part of a social fact that must be resolved," he said. But, even if there is no conflict, SF can still be done.

Then, what are to do in SF activities? According to San Afri, the first step is structuring the area and preparing a plan. The certainty of this area is like a 'house' which must exist first before further arrangement can be done. The governance of the area also needs to be followed by boundary marking activities in the form of boundaries of block/plot. “It’s not a boundary demarcation because it’s located inside and not outside the forest area. When it borders APL (non-state forest areas), then there needs to be a boundary because it relates to state forest or non-state forest areas," he said. Although it can actually be done in a simple way, this boundary marking is often the most difficult thing and creates conflicts that require assistance.

Other possible activities in SF area are business development in the form of area utilization and environmental services. In addition to requiring planning, this business development also requires assistance from both local facilitators and/or those prepared by the Directorate General of PSKL. San Afri reminded that this mentoring activity should not always rely on NGOs because of their limited funds, but should be included in the APBN/APBD/BPDLH budget. Universities in each province, for example, can provide assistance with BPDLH funds. In order to achieve quality, SF management also requires institutional development, as well as technical guidance and education/training.

Meanwhile, Purwadi Soeprihanto, Executive Director of APHI (Indonesian Forest Entrepreneurs Association) said that in the business world nowadays, there is a paradigm shift from timber management to forest management. The Minister of Environment and Forestry also conveyed the message at the APHI National Working Meeting in October 2018. In that context, according to Purwadi, a new business configuration is needed in the forestry industry, building plantation forests and managing natural forests, from upstream to downstream, including developing and conducting scaling up of non-timber forest products and environmental services industries. Purwadi sees that this directive has been reflected in the UUCK, PP and a number of their derivative regulations.

Based on the APHI roadmap (2016-2045), APHI still considers wood as a core business that must be strengthened, but at the same time APHI realizes to also strengthens other forest product businesses, including bioprospecting, agroforestry to support food security, environmental services such as ecotourism and carbon, biomass and renewable energy. "All of these will become important pillars when APHI tries to realize 95% of the potential of forest products that have not yet been optimized," he said.

According to Purwadi, the issuance of UUCK provides a stronger foundation on how the configuration of forestry business which is actualized in the form of multi-business forestry now gets a policy umbrella. Purwadi gave an example of several helpful substances, including simplifying the bureaucracy, such as in governing the boundaries of the work area where there are simplification of stages and the application of virtual technology. Another example is the transformation of business licensing so that there are no more complicated processes and there are guarantees for the period and size of the business area, as well as strengthening upstream and downstream in the form of facilitating the establishment of processing industries in the PBPH area.

Purwadi reminded that now the urgency has arrived to push the Indonesian forestry industry into a modern forest industry ecosystem. “The forestry business configuration through multi-business has been echoed and has been covered by policies. With forest potential of more than 120 million ha, or 64 million ha, production forest is actually a very valuable modality, which can place the forestry sector as a priority sector,” he said. This new forest industry ecosystem rests on 5 pillars: production, processing, marketing, financing, and institutional systems. The integration of these five pillars, according to him, will encourage the forestry industry to become a modern, independent sector, and make a big contribution among other sectors that are also superior.

To mainstream the modern forestry industry, Purwadi provides a number of recommendations including strengthening the agro-forest industry-based lecture curriculum, determining priority sectors by the government, determining sectors that fall into the category of sustainable financing, coordination across ministries or agencies for jurisdictional arrangements or management authority, granting tax incentives and non-tax revenues for multi-business partnership-based communities, providing incentives for low-carbon industries, and mobilizing resources to strengthen export markets.

Suwito from the TP2-PS institution, Kemitraan Partnership, which together with the government push for the acceleration of SF, explained that currently, from the target PIAPS (Indicative Map and Social Forestry Area) of ​​13.9 million ha set by the Minister of Environment and Forestry based on SK 2111/2020 (although in RPJMN the target is 12.7 ha), the achievement is only around 4.5 million ha (35%) until May 2021. Based on the data from the Directorate General of PSKL, after obtaining the permit, from 4 categories of SF groups, which are blue, silver, gold, and platinum, the biggest numbers are still in blue and silver. It means that even though the SK has been issued, the follow-up may still be limited; the preparation of the work plan has been carried out, but has not yet reached the operational stage, or the assistant staff has probably run out of energy.

SF still faces a number of challenges until now, including the problem of understanding or perception which often accuses it as legalization of deforestation. "In fact, this is not true, we do not serve the people to destroy nature, but to create balance," said Suwito. Through SF, there has been a change in people's behavior to become more concerned with forest sustainability, as evidenced by a study of UGM which states that 99.5% of respondents in Yogyakarta and Lampung confirmed the change in behavior. The HKM area in Nagari Indudur, Sumatra that used to be barren and dry, for example, has now turned green thanks to the HKm permit granted. People who used to buy water from outside the region can now actually build mineral water business which market reaches outside the region. "The allegation or perception that SF is the legalization of deforestation is not true," he stated. On the other hand, the community feels more ownership, so they want to take care of the forest that they have benefited from and have a harmonious relationship with forest resources.

Another challenge, according to Suwito, is the assumption that SF is still a sectoral forestry program, especially at the district government level after the issuance of Law 23/2014 which withdraws the authority of the district government for forest area affairs. In fact, SF is a cross-sectoral synergy that is not only about forest areas, but also community empowerment, poverty alleviation, development of SMEs and cooperatives, and economic independence. At the grass-root level, there are also facilitation challenges by FMUs related to the transformation of the role of FMUs where an increase in budget and improvement in human resources are still needed, so that there is integration between FMUs and SF development in Indonesia.

The presentations available for download HERE.

Check out more in-depth presentations and discussions in the webinar via the following link: