Webinar series "Managing the Remaining Forest" Series#5 Governance and smart practice in Protection Forest

Webinar series "Managing the Remaining Forest" Series#5 Governance and smart practice in Protection Forest

Indonesia - 22 September, 2020

According to Law No.41/1999, protection Forest has the main function of protecting life support systems to regulate water management, prevent flooding, control erosion, prevent sea water intrusion and maintain soil fertility. Its use is limited to area utilization, environmental services (hydrological function) and utilization of NTFPs (PP 34/2002). But the problem is, many of the protection forests, which cover an area of nearly 30 million ha, are now in critical condition and have become open access. In fact, the area with HL status that is no longer forested has also reached 20% or even more. This was explained by the Director of Tropenbos Indonesia Edi Purwanto in the 5th Tropenbos Indonesia (TI) webinar series on Saturday, 12 September 2020, which was attended by around 170 participants with Dr. Ir. Titiek Setyawati, M.Sc as a moderator.

To optimize protection forest as a life support system, Edi said, it is necessary to have tenure resilience and strong community institution and this will be reflected in the integrity of its forest cover. To see the condition of a number of protection forests in Indonesia, Edi invited the webinar participants to examine the conditions of Sungai Lesan Protection Forest in Berau, East Kalimantan, Gunung Lumut Protection Forest in Paser, East Kalimantan, Gunung Tarak and Gunung Juring Protection Forests in Ketapang, West Kalimantan, and Gunung Tanggamus Protection Forest in Lampung. , Sumatra, and Kali Biru Protection Forest in Jogjakarta, Central Java.

Sungai Lesan Protection Forest, which covers an area of about 10,240 ha, is located in Kelay District, Berau Regency, East Kalimantan. There are 4 villages around this area: Lesan Dayak, Muara Lesan, Merapun and Sidobangen. Through the facilitation of a number of NGOs, the area which was originally a concession area (HPH) was later changed to protection forest (HL) after the discovery of many orangutan nests, and thanks to the facilitation of Yayasan Operasi Wallacea Terpadu (OWT), it became an ecotourism area which became a study tour destination for groups of foreign students. The biggest threat to this area is oil palm expansion which affects the viability of orangutans and causes their population to continue to decline. This area is also a watershed restoration area even though the forest cover is still above 60% which left a trail as the result to carry seedlings. Tenure security in this area is low due to the absence of social forestry permits and the threat of oil palm expansion is high, however with strong local institutions the optimization of the function is still good.

Gunung Lumut Protection Forest, which covers an area of about 42,000 ha and is filled with various types of moss, is located in Paser Regency, East Kalimantan. Two indigenous people living in and around this area are Muluy (the native of Dayak Paser) and Rantau Layung (a mixture of Dayak Paser and migrants). Before 2000, the community planted rice in a shifting cultivation system with regular rotation which was no problem, but after 2000 the community started to plant oil palm and rubber and intensive deforestation began to occur since the community started to encroach the protection forest area. The needs of the community also shifted from subsistence to consumptive. Apart from low tenure security, local institutions are actually still good, but the value of local wisdom has been eroded by external influences so that the optimization of the forest function is not optimal.

Gunung Tarak Protection Forest covering an area of about 24,000 ha is located in Ketapang Regency, West Kalimantan and is a buffer zone for Gunung Palung National Park. There are two hamlets in nearby area, i.e. Cali, an old sub-village that has existed before its designation as protection forest area and Pangkalan Jihing, a relatively new sub-village. Although the tenure security and local institutions in this area are still low, the optimization function is moderate since less population reduces the pressure on the forest.

Gunung Juring Protection Forest covers an area of about 9,828 ha with 4 villages that consider this forest as their customary area, i.e. Mekar Raya, Kemora, Batu Daya, and Gema Villages. Of the four villages, Gema has obtained a Village Forest permit covering an area of 2,400 ha which is also managed as ecotourism. The majority of the population in this area are of the Dayak tribe, who use the forest as a source of their livelihoods, as a place to hunt, farm and get honey. Most of the plants in this area are tembawang (rubber and fruit / durian). Although the threat of oil palm entry is quite big, the people here are mostly against oil palm and with a strong customary institution, the people still manage the forest according to local wisdom. The forest is still functioning well and is a source of clean water and has the potential for waterfall tourism. Although from the perspective of tenure security it is still lacking because only one village has obtained a Village Forest permit, the good customary institution has optimized the function of this area.

Gunung Tanggamus Protection Forest, which covers an area of approximately 12,000 ha in Lampung, Sumatra, has obtained a Social Forestry license as Community Forest (HKM) since 2009. However, this protection forest has also experienced a significant reduction in forest cover with a high rate of deforestation. Although the level of tenure security is high because they have obtained HKM permit and have good local institutions, production activities that are too active in this area have led the optimization function of this forest somehow being neglected for the sake of the production.

Kali Biru Protection Forest was previously a critical area but has now developed into an ecotourism area famous for Indonesians as a beautiful place to take pictures (selfie). This HL is an example of success where tenure security, local institutions and optimization of HL functions are all running well. Apart from having good community institutions, Kali Biru also has economic instruments that support regional development and has good market incentives. However, HL conditions in other areas are not necessarily as good as in Kali Biru. "If community institutions are high but the economic instruments are lacking, maybe social forestry will still be able to run with project incentives, but if both are low, both community institutions and economic instruments, it will become abandoned land, and if the economic instruments are high but the community institutions are lacking, then what will happen is open access, "said Edi.

Comparing conditions in Kalimantan and in Sumatra, Edi explained that population pressure in Kalimantan is low, land carrying capacity (fertility) is low, agroecosystem is extensive and rice or oil palm cultivation is carried out with low input and the output is also insufficient, and consequently larger area is required resulting in a transfer of land tenure and a decrease in the optimization of the function of the protection forests. Local knowledge exists, but local wisdom that is actually high is currently being eroded by the increasing needs and effect of information flows. Tenure security is generally low where there are not many areas that have received Social Forestry permits, and local institutions vary. Meanwhile, population pressure in Lampung is high, carrying capacity is high, the agroecosystem is intensive, local wisdom is moderate and tends to decline, but tenure security is high due to Social Forestry that has been very active and local institutions are also high.

“Tenure security and local institution are conditions that enable the optimization of HL functions, although their effectiveness is determined by the carrying capacity of the land, agro-ecosystem characteristics, creativity and local wisdom of the community,” Edi said. For this reason, he continued, intensive assistance is needed in increasing carrying capacity through improved input, mastery of technology and market access, utilization of communication facilities, agroforestry development, harmonization and socialization of HL boundaries, management by multi-parties, tenure security through social forestry, especially areas that have been managed for a long time by the community, providing local institutional incentives to conserve HL, and supporting policies to cover the management of HL and Essential Ecosystem Areas (KEE).

Edi closed his presentation with a smart practice film in the Sungai Lesan Protection Forest, which now has become an ecotourism area while maintaining good forest management. Llink to the movie: http://bit.ly/2RMQ3rd

Another speaker of this webinar Ir. Idi Bantara, S.Hut.T, M.Sc, IPU, Head of BPDASHL Way Seputih Way Sekampung, Lampung, gave a presentation on governance and smart practices take place in Gunung Tanggamus Protection Forest, Lampung, where agarwood oil from this area has been exported to a number of countries including Saudi Arabia. However, this area is complicated with tenure conflicts and illegal logging crimes. Among the various efforts made to embrace the community according to Idi is through increasing community income and to continue communication with the people to increase their understanding and their willingness to participate in activities, and to continue on capacity improvement.

Next, Marius Marcelius, former Head of the West Kalimantan Provincial Forestry Agency and an advocate who is now an individual consultant for natural resource management, gave an explanation on forest condition in West Kalimantan which covers an area of 8.4 million ha or 58% of the total area of West Kalimantan. However, only 3.3% out of this area has been allocated for the community through the Social Forestry program, even though currently there are 718 villages located in the forest areas. In addition, this province has the potential of peatlands which cover 11.8% of the total area of West Kalimantan (1.72 million ha). However, this large area of peat has also made West Kalimantan very vulnerable to land fires, which according to the data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the fires hit 127,462 ha of land in October 2019.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ir. Soeryo Adiwibowo, MS, a lecturer at the Faculty of Human Ecology IPB who is also a senior advisor to the Minister of Environment and Forestry, gave a presentation on remaining forest management from the perspective of political ecology. Changes in natural resource abundance and environmental quality occur as the results of political decisions either from individuals, households, groups, communities, NGOs, companies, countries, or multi-lateral/global organizations. Even the decision to litter is an example of an individual political decision even though he may already have the knowledge not to do so. Likewise various ecological crises in Indonesia were in fact the result of various political issues including political economy orientation and motives in accessing natural resources, institutional problems such as exploitative economic policies, sectoral, or inequality of power relations between local, national, regional and international actors in accessing natural resources and environment.

As the last speaker, Untad Dharmofawan, Deputy Head of the West Kalimantan Environment and Forestry Agency, told that protection forests in West Kalimantan cover an area of 2.8 million ha but so far have not received much attention. The protection forests have not provided much benefit to the community and have a number of problems such as unclear boundaries, the presence of settlements, markets, or oil palm plantations in the protection forests, community use of the forest with no permit, and so on. The Social Forestry permit in West Kalimantan has not been clearly useful, no database of the forest potential for further management, and some political decisions are not quite supportive, despite the big potentials of the protection forests such as mangrove tourism, waterfalls, honey producer, rattan, bamboo, etc. All of these require strengthening of assistants at the site level (KPH) who are also still facing various challenges.

Watch the recording of webinar: