Forest tenure reform in Indonesia

All lands in Indonesia fall into one of the two groups. The first group is forest zone (kawasan hutan), covering around 70 % of the land mass, under the administration of the Ministry of Forestry. However, many parts of this statutory forest zone are, in fact, inhabited areas since generations. Around 31,957 villages located within and around this forest zone. This number counts for 36.17 % of total villages in Indonesia (MoF 2007, 2009). As the Ministry of Forestry made functional allocations of this forest zone, from production forests managed by extractive industries to conservation forests managed by the national parks, inhabitants of those villages face problematic situations and a variety of socio-ecological and gender injustices.

The second group of land in Indonesia is non-forest area also known as the area for other purposes (Areal Penggunaan Lain, APL), under the administration of the National Land Agency. This area covers state lands and private lands. Around 30 % of this non-forest area is formally titled (as privately owned lands). Similar to the forest zone, state lands under the APL are also not empty lands. Villages located within the boundaries of state lands under the APL have also been facing socio-ecological problems that have strong gender dimension. This document will specifically addresses gender dimension of land and forest tenure in Indonesia at the third section of it.

Above categories of land administration explains that land in Indonesia is administered under a dual system through two different government agencies. As stated above, those two different agencies are responsible for forestry and non-forestry lands, respectively. The administration and management of land is also developed based on the colonial legacies including legal framework and institutional arrangement (Bell et al 2013, Rachman 2013, Toha 2007).

Based on Indonesia’s Forestry Law No. 41 of 1999, the forests in Indonesia are divided into state forest and private forest. Through this law, the government of Indonesia declares that all forest lands in Indonesia that have no private entitlement are considered as state forest lands. Adopting RRI’s categories of forest tenure (RRI, 2014), state control over forest lands and resources is in line with RRI’s first two categories of forest tenure, i.e. forest land administered by governments, and forest land designated by governments for indigenous peoples and local communities. In addition, Ministry of Forestry established integrated forest land use zoning to serve the production, protection, and conservation functions. The Ministry of Forestry issues forestry concessionaire licenses for private companies and state-owned companies within the production forest zone of state forest lands. Likewise, the state forest lands defined to serve the conservation purpose are managed by the National Parks authorities within the Ministry of Forestry. Meanwhile, state forest lands allocated for protection purposes are managed by the local governments.

In Indonesia, very small fraction of forest lands is under private ownership. The owners of private lands range from an individual, cooperative, or firm. The forest, which is established in the privately owned land is known as people’s forest (hutan rakyat in Indonesian term). Following RRI’s category of forest tenure, private ownership of forest land is in line with the fourth category, i.e. the forest land owned by individuals and firms that have the most extensive rights of exclusion, management and alienation (RRI, 2014). RRI (2014) emphasizes that concessionaires are not included in this category.

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