Course:CONS200/2021/Indonesia’s One Map policy: What is it and what are its socio-environmental implications?

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The One-Map policy was created under the REDD or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, which is an international framework policy produced by a climate change convention at the United Nations[1]. It was meant to help with conservation as well as mend land conflict issues produced by prior acts such as the Forestry act Number 21 [1]. Indonesia’s One Map Policy was created to form a single map that shows a standardized and transparent view of all geographical information for the purpose of resolving conflicts of land-use [1]. This policy has not however been without its faults, as it caused more problems with land-use and control than before. There have been many problems with the land of Indigenous peoples, mainly being that their land was not included on the map [2]. As they were trying to create a full comprehensive map, it isn’t clear why they wouldn’t have added their land, however it is even more confusing when they decided to add land that is currently being used for palm oil plantations.

One Map policy in Indonesia

Indonesia’s One Map policy was created to form a single map that shows a standardized and transparent view of all geographical information within the land [1]. This standardized map was created under the REDD or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, to help with conservation as well as mend land conflict issues produced by prior acts such as the Forestry act Number 21. This policy has not however been without its faults as there have been many problems to do with the land of Indigenous peoples, mainly being that their land was not included on the map[2].


Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation is an international framework policy for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. This framework deals mainly with “putting forests at the heart of a green economy”[1]. Policies within the framework address “forest emissions by creating financial incentives for improved forest management”[1]. Given that the REDD+ framework is applied in differing contexts within countries. Its implementation “differs considerably across scale and space” [1]. Socio-ecological factors and economic interests being a major concern for forest stakeholders. REDD+ is "constructed as a necessary political–economic intervention required to address the global ecological problem of climate change" [3]. The REDD+ Framework acts as guidelines for policy makers to address anthropogenically caused climate change within their region of influence, bringing together stakeholders of the common good in question.

REDD+ in Indonesia

Within the context of Indonesia, forest governance complicates the implementation of REDD+ policies. “REDD+ architects based their rationale on the assumption that deforestation was being driven by insufficient pricing of the carbon services of forests and provided a solution that incentivized forest protection” [1]. Criticism has been levelled at the REDD+ program in Indonesia because of a simplistic approach to implementation. The program has been accused as being an “extension of capitalism’s interests, in which social and environmental justice concerns are translated into technocratic prescriptions” [1].  It has been viewed as a tool to further disadvantage indigenous groups. However activists in Indonesia have also viewed the program as an opportunity to change historically unjust forest management strategies [1]. The forests of Indonesia are full of vital flora, fauna, and other natural resources, so it is vital for the REDD+ to reach their conservation goals. One major natural resource in these forests in Carbon, and the task force has started to map Carbon within the forests as a way to be able to conserve it better [3]. This is when a map is created to visualize where carbon is in the forest, and it helps to steer certain policy decisions to help and make the REDD+ reach their goals [3]. Carbon maps are often used to help create economic hand-offs where there is a high carbon density between the REDD+ and mining companies, as this is where they predominantly want to be in [3]. It is difficult to see, and calculate how much of resources like carbon there is in areas of the forest, which is why making comprehensive maps is helpful to demonstrate it [3].

Indigenous Peoples

The one-map had goals of resolving land conflicts through creating a complete comprehensive map of all land and resources. Many of these land conflicts were due to the Forestry act Number 41 of 1999, and included the land of Indigenous people. This act encompassed that all customary forests on Indigenous land were surrounded by state land, and therefore they did not have autonomy over them [4]. Even Though a lot of the land conflicts included the land of Indigenous people, the one-map did not include Indigenous land on it [2]. These Maps of Indigenous land have been recognized by the governments for years, but now since the beginning of surveying for the one-map, these maps no longer stand up to the standards necessary [2]. If these maps are not included in the one map then the entire point of the policy will be missed as there will not be proper regulation of the land, and many of [2]. The one-map was supposed to correct a lot of the conflict issues that were created from prior forest acts, however a lot more conflict was started as Indonesia’s government chose to not include their land or abide by the maps created by Indigenous peoples. Creating a stronger green economy is the ultimate goal of the one map policy, however in the process of research and implementation it has created many social issues within the traditional inhabitants of Indonesian land [1]. As a government body implementing policy which will affect many parties conflict will understandably arise. The Indonesian government must receive the criticisms expressed by indigenous stakeholders and adapt future policy with their concerns in mind.

Land use conflicts

The implementation of a one map policy has produced many land use conflicts in Indonesia. The principle of the one map policy is simple, “it seeks to eliminate duplicate licenses on the same land site. The policy also proposes to digitize the relevant data and information related to primary and secondary forests (including peatlands) on a single public portal, which would include synchronized data about the licenses attached to particular land areas” [5]. However, overlapping land claims by indigenous peoples, state agencies and private companies have created disagreements. Four distinct socio-political phases have been identified to be resolved in order to address these conflicts.

  • Forest governance at a national level was compromised by autocratic rule. Indigenous peoples were not recognized in tenurial planning.
  • Regional Physical Planning Project for Transmigration mapping program detailed maps were created to “identify suitable locations for the transmigration of people to sparsely populated regions of Indonesia… Despite ongoing inaccuracies, the resulting "consensus TGHK" maps have become the country's standard and most-used base maps” [5].
  • Phase three required the decentralization of land use management as “the spread of crony capitalism at local levels, with little protection being provided for natural resources” further compromised forest governance” [5].
  • Adoption of the REDD+ programme was key in the fourth phase. A key component of the REDD+ program was “a moratorium over the conversion of primary forest into other uses, with the intention of conserving 62.4 million hectares of primary natural forest and peatland.” [5].

Socio-economic remedies

Indonesia's history of forest governance is largely dependent upon historical institutionalism which suggests “strong path-dependency and state institutions that further strengthen the power of already powerful groups” [6] further exacerbating the feeling of disregard expressed by indigenous groups. Policy opponents raise concerns of  “re-equilibrium to the old institutions practices” [6] . Expressing also that creating a “political imperative to decentralize key competencies in forest governance” [6] is essential in the success of several NGO lead conservation initiatives. The concern of state institutional control is typical of government lead conservation policy changes. One region which has had success in managing that has been Latin America in which a prominent “characteristic of neoliberal reforms throughout… has been… to transfer and locate critical state functions from a centrist form of governance to more localized governance” [7] . A case study promoting decentralized environmental governance in the state of Sierra Occidental de Jalisco, Mexico found that “economic marginalization of the municipalities in the Sierra Occidental de Jalisco, the absence of civil society participation within the organization and the power of the political parties; combine to undermine decentralization and consequently the democratization of environmental governance in Mexico” [7] . Underpinning the pressure on citizen actors to represent their agency with regards to the process of managing the areas in question. Projects such as the JISOC (Inter-municipal Junta of the Sierra Occidental) and the One Map Policy in Indonesia rely on the input and actions of its citizens for fair and corruption free governance.


The REDD+ or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation created the one-map initiative. This initiative is in Indonesia and is a policy that is working to merge every map of the land masses and resources into one comprehensive map. As there is a lot of land, and forests in Indonesia, it was hard to make proper decisions for conservation when there was not a single map to work from. The goal was to create fair and sustainable land use, solve land-conflict issues, as well as conserve the resources within the forests. The REDD+ uses many different strategies to conserve resources and land, commonly using task forces. One main resource trying to be protected in the forests in Indonesia is carbon, and they are achieving their conservation goals through using mapping of the resource. As well as conserving resources, the policy attempts to fix land-use conflicts, many of which include the land of Indigenous people due to past unfair acts created [1]. Even though there are already land-use conflicts like this, the one-map policy made them significantly worse by not including the land maps created by Indigenous peoples of their land [1]. Addressing the socio-economic concerns will take great effort and collaborations between the parties involved. Promoting citizen engagement is paramount in establishing a fair and legal process. Citizen engagement will hold the government and powerful stakeholders with political influence accountable. This accountability will promote transparency of the process and encourage again more citizen involvement. Trust between the parties involved will be the key to success of REDD+ projects and the one map policy in Indonesia.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Astuti, R., & McGregor, A. (2015). Responding to the green economy: how REDD+ and the One Map Initiative are transforming forest governance in Indonesia. Third World Quartlery, 36(12), 2272-2293.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Jong, H. N. (2018). Indonesia’s ‘one-map’ database blasted for excluding indigenous lands. Menlo Park: Newstex. Retrieved from
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Astuti, Rini; McGregor, Andrew (2015). "Governing carbon, transforming forest politics: A case study of Indonesia's REDD+ Task Force". Asia Pacific Viewpoint. 56(1): 21–36. line feed character in |title= at position 55 (help)
  4. Sari, D.A.A; Mayastuti, A; Rianto, A; Lutfiyah, Z (2018). "Indigenous people's forest management to support REDD program and Indonesia one map policy". International Conference on Climate Change.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Nuhidayah, L., Davies, P. J., & Alam, S. (2020). Resolving Land-Use Conflicts over Indonesia's Customary Forests: One Map, Power Contestations and Social Justice. ProQuest, 42(3), 372-397.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Mulyani, M., & Jepson, P. (2017). Does the 'one map initiative' represent a new path for forest mapping in indonesia? assessing the contribution of the REDD+ initiative in effecting forest governance reform. Forests, 8(1), 14.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Bee, B. (2019). Recentralising political power through decentralised environmental governance: A case from mexico's early REDD+ program. Conservation and Society, 17(1), 96.