Course:FRST270/Wiki Projects/Community forestry in East Java Indonesia

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The Community Forest Management in East Java, Indonesia

Indonesia, with 1,904,569 square kilometers territory, is the world's 15th largest country which situated in the southeast of Asia where is the junction of Indian and Pacific Oceans[1]. Based on the statics from The Harmonized System of the World Customs Organization in 2012, it ranked 9th among all the exporting countries of wood products. We can know that the timber export plays a critical role in Indonesia’s economic structure. So the sustainable management of forests is a vital issue for Indonesia. And according to the data of 2012 in Global Forest Watch, the rate of reforestation in Indonesia was 866.74 kha/year[2]. There was a long history of Indonesia being a colonial area ruled by Dutch and the first law of Forest in Indonesia was produced at that period. As the time past by, the laws of forests changed many times and it seemed to seek an appropriate way which fit the situation of Indonesia. However, rare laws can implement well in the area before 21 century. In the article, it mainly takes the East Java as the instance to illustrate the shifting of forest laws, the challenge of community forests, issues about tenures and interested and affected stakeholders during the period from the colonial era to the early 21 century. Besides, it will refer to a bit of the administrative management and background of East Java.


The first forestry law for Java was announced in 1865 during the period of under Dutch control, after that, more and more forest was managed by the government[3]. The early 1970s was considered to be the beginning of thriving timber commercial industry in Indonesia. Because, at that time, the country was influenced by the strong domestic factors, such as the unstable politic situation which made the government nearly bankrupt and foreign debts. The Indonesia government was forced to lend expansive lands to foreign and some domestic enterprises for logging with the purpose of making profits as much as possible. The situation caused the 152 million hectares of forest lands became only 95 million hectares in the early 90s[4]. more and more indigenous, government officers and NGOs already perceived the urgent for having a solution of managing deforestation and social conflicts, so in 1978, the Congress forbade the commercial extraction of forests in order to preserve the forest resources and protect residents' rights. In the 80s, the government noticed the positive function of the cooperation with local communities in forest management. The state forest corporation launched 13 programs about social forests in Java's public areas. The plan involved farmers in planting commercial trees such as teak and permitted them planting fruit trees and agricultural trees. The project was noted as the Integrated Forest Village Development Program (PMDHT)[5]. The peasants were required to offer their timber obtains but those non-timber products were given to them as rewards. However, it was disappointed that the program didn't help a lot in improving the coverage of forest. In the period of that time, more attention was put on forest management, but there were no differences on the ground because most plans with the purpose of increasing the forest cover and improving the communities' welfares were unsuccessful. Although the community continued to have negotiations with the government about the rights of utilization of forest land and resources, some villagers deemed that the peaceful pursuits of cooperation with the government were easily ignored and intended to take aggressive actions. Before the reform era, there are some major movements which are needed to notice. The first is that the Forest Management systems were appealed to be acknowledged by researchers, NGOs, and communities in 1994. Besides, another movement is that Consortium for Agrarian Reform which initiated in 1996, doubted whether the state played a positive role in managing forest lands. Lastly, A special forest use classification produced by the former Minister of Forestry, which gives the rights of communities to control, maintain and develop forests (Kusumanto, 2002). The reform era began with the downfall of Suharto in May 1998, which was considered to be a milestone of Indonesia's forest management started to be fair and scientific[6].

In general, by the 21 century, due to the development of the forest product industry and growing population in Indonesia, the demand for timbers and some forest-related products were increasing, which caused the rapidly increasing deforestation. There was an official report released by Ministry of Forest of Indonesia (MoF) in 2002, which indicated that approximately, the rate of degradation of natural forest had come to 1.6 million hectares per year (Directorate General RLPS, MoF, 2002). In the early1970s, the concerning situation was realized by the government. In order to solve the problem, a reforestation project called forest plantation for industrial purpose or timber estate (HTI) was launched by the government in 1990. The program included indigenous and communities as much as possible to implement various silvicultural practices in those degraded lands[7]. But it seemed that the program didn't mitigate the deforestation either.

However, things changed after the implementation of Company-Community Forestry Paternership program. At the end of 20 century, influenced by the financial crisis in Asia, the behaviors of illegal logging on state forest lands were booming. PHBM ( the Pengeloloan Sumberdaya Hutan Bersama Masyarakat), the Company-Community Partnerships system was launched by Perhutani in 2001 which aimed to restrict the illegal extraction. Under the PHBM system, indigenous are not only recognized as labors but also shareholders of the company and get part of profits. The duty of management has been distributed to 57 forest districts offices (Kesatuan Pemangkuan Hutan or KPH). Each KPH which related to its local environment plays an important role in the execution of PHHM system[8].

Tenure and Administrative arrangements

In East Java and other regions in Indonesia, all the forest lands in principle are under the management of the government. Those indigenous, communities and companies only have the right of utilizing and controlling those areas rather than have the ownership[9].

There are some administrative laws related to land tenures.

  • Basic Agrarian Law (BAL) was released in 1960, which gave the basic kinds of rights which indigenous and companies can have.
  • The Basic Forestry Law (BFL): After the announcement of the Basic Forest Law in 1967, near 74% of forest lands in Indonesia were managed by the state forest and in order to make profits by extracting and selling timbers, lots of permits were issued to those international companies and individuals[10].
  • The new Basic Forestry Law was announced in late 1999, which offers adat community to control and utilize the customary forest lands as long as they can be recognized for their existence in the area.

Affected Stakeholder

Those Madiun villagers who participated the plantation program are the affected stakeholders. They are highly affected by the implementation of PHBM. Before PHBM, they were not allowed to enter the forest legally except labors in forests and they got no benefit sharing from enterprises. After the implementation of PHBM, they are permitted to access forests and collect and sell NTFPs. Besides, villagers are able to have maximum a quarter of profits from the trade of timber extracted from their contract forest. As for the forest conservation aspect, in the past, the KPH and field staff asked villagers to have cooperation with them in protesting local forest. Whether villager accepts or refuse, it was out of their own wills. However, after they participating the program, they have the obligation to do forest conservation and they also have the responsibility of joining the patrols for preventing illegal logging. Besides, they have to report the current status of the surrounding forests. The last aspect changed for the stakeholder is the support for local people participating in forest management. Before the performance of PHBM, the local people only get educational support from field staff depending on the circumstances and got budget financial help for the area’s development and community activities. But things changed after the process of PHBM, the KPH are responsible for all the funds of villagers activities and infrastructures.[11]

Interested Outside Stakeholders

The Ministry of Forestry, which has the ownership of forest lands and obtains plenty of profits by the trade of selling timbers, is an interested stakeholder. It has promulgated many laws about the land tenure of forest which influenced the participation of individuals, communities, and companies to forest management.

The NGOs, which do not have many authorized rights, try to protect local ecosystem with villagers and provide indigenous with scientific management.

The Konsorsium Pendukung Sistim Hutan Kerakyatan (KPSHK), a network of researchers, whose interests would not be strongly affected if the forest lands were ruined. It appealed for the acknowledgment of the people’s forest management system with some NGOs and communities in 1994[12].

Perum Perhutani, the State Forest Corporate of Indonesia, which gets profits from selling those timbers in East Java, hires the locals working for the company, cooperates with communities and shares their interests with villagers. It has a high power in forest management and a high authority in the decision making and implementation of PHBM program.

Gadjah Mada University is an interested stakeholder, which gives suggestions to forest management groups and trains the wage labors being a standard field facilitators.


Although, PHBM does contribute to improving people’s income and their life quality and it provides the thousands of jobs for the locals, there are still some limitations in East Java. There are statistics show that the income that the engaged villages get benefits from PHBM, was modest and was not able to result in the gap between them and those didn’t participate in PHBM[13], which means that they can’t count on PHBM solely for maintaining their life. The distribution of profits highly relies on the quality, quantity, and communities. So for some of the engaged villagers, they have to seek more pathways for earning money and supporting their consumptions. Besides, there are numerous PHBM members who have large burden from forest protection activities. PHBM has positive benefits on then for some aspects, but the rule that every villager has the obligation for protesting forests which makes the situation of some families even worse.

In PHBM, compared to villagers in East Java, Perum Perhutani has very high powers in making decisions and manages the are of forests. The indigenous are considered to be the participants of the program and they do get shares. but they only take part in as wage labors or shareholders, they rarely have crucial words in decision-making. In another word, the relationship of the company and communities are not a kind of cooperation. It’s more like a way of employers and employees. So it’s hard for some people to pursuit equal benefits.

Discussion and Recommendations

Many programs and laws are made for protesting forest and some of them do help a lot on environment protection and improving the local people's life quality. But the situation of the conservation of Indonesia’s natural forests is still very severe. It can be improved from the government, companies, villagers, and researchers aspects.

The government: Indonesia’s government should enact more laws on forest conservation and the locals’ benefits. These laws are supposed to restrict the big companies’ rights and power and allocate more power to the indigenous, which have the influence on encouraging people to participate the management of surrounding forests. And it offers aboriginals with power and awareness of pursuing their own rights and profits. For East Java administrations, they are supposed to well implement these laws released by the Indonesia Government. Besides, developing programs which concern about the situation of the local environment is also a vital obligation they should take.

The enterprise: It’s reasonable for a company existing for earning. However, they should make profits without doing damage to the local environment. And it would be better and good for their corporate image if they are able to earn meanwhile have the positive influence on the locals and their surroundings. So when the things related to the local forests, it would be better that they do surveys in that area and get feedback from locals. Having a good corporate image means your productions are more popular with consumers and it helps companies make more profits.

The villagers: Awaking the consciousness of protesting forest and how to assert rights in a legal way are important for people at East Java.

Researchers: Researchers like professors in Gadjah Mada University and NGO staffs should give governments and locals with professional instructions on sustainable forestry management and joint community forestry management. Introduction advanced technology which produces fewer greenhouse gases and is good for forest conservations, to enterprises is also helpful.


  1. Jeffrey Hays. 2015. Land and Geography of Indonesia. Restricted from
  2. Global Forest Watch. Restricted from
  3. Galudra, G., & Sirait, M. (2006, June). The Unfinished debate: Socio-legal and science discourses on forest land-use and tenure policy in 20th century Indonesia. In 11th Biennial Congress of the International Association for the Study of Common Property, Bali, Indonesia (pp. 19-23).
  4. Kusumanto, Y., & Sirait, M. T. (2002). Community participation in forest resource management in Indonesia: Policies, practices, constraints and opportunities. Southeast Asia Policy Research Working Paper, 28, 1-28.
  5. Suryanata, K. (1994). Fruit trees under contract: tenure and land use change in upland Java, Indonesia. World Development, 22(10), 1567-1578.
  6. Kusumanto, Y., & Sirait, M. T. (2002). Community participation in forest resource management in Indonesia: Policies, practices, constraints and opportunities. Southeast Asia Policy Research Working Paper, 28, 1-28.
  7. Siregar, U. J., Rachmi, A., Massijaya, M. Y., Ishibashi, N., & Ando, K. (2007). Economic analysis of sengon (Paraserianthes falcataria) community forest plantation, a fast growing species in East Java, Indonesia. Forest Policy and Economics, 9(7), 822-829.
  8. Yokota, Y., Harada, K., SILVI, N. O., TANAKA, M., & INOUE, M. (2014). Contributions of Company-Community Forestry Partnerships (PHBM) to the Livelihoods of Participants in Java, Indonesia: A Case Study in Madiun, East Java. Japan Agricultural Research Quarterly: JARQ, 48(3), 363-377.
  9. Fadzilah Majid Cooke. (2006). State, Communities and Forests in Contemporary Borneo. Land Tenure and Natural Resource Conflict in Indonesia. Chapter 5. Community Mapping, Tenurial Rights and Conflict Resolution in Kalimantan. Restricted from
  10. Dahal, G. R., & Adhikari, K. P. (2008). Trends and impact of forest tenure reforms in Asia: cases from India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal and the Philippines. Journal of Forest and Livelihood, 7(1), 19-26.
  11. Yasuhiro YOKOTA, 2014. Contributions of Company-Community Forestry Partnerships (PHBM) to the Livelihood of Participants in Java, Indonesia: A Case Study in Madiun, East Java
  12. Kusumanto, Y., & Sirait, M. T. (2002). Community participation in forest resource management in Indonesia: Policies, practices, constraints and opportunities. Southeast Asia Policy Research Working Paper, 28, 1-28.
  13. Yokota, Y., Harada, K., SILVI, N. O., TANAKA, M., & INOUE, M. (2014). Contributions of Company-Community Forestry Partnerships (PHBM) to the Livelihoods of Participants in Java, Indonesia: A Case Study in Madiun, East Java. Japan Agricultural Research Quarterly: JARQ, 48(3), 363-377.

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