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It's Not Fair, Where is Our Share? The Implication of Small-Scale Logging for Communities' Access to Forests in Indonesia

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Limberg, Godwin
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities, the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Conf. Date: August 9-13
Date: 2004
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1288
Sector: Forestry
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): IASC
logging--case studies
forest management--case studies
state and local governance
participatory management
Abstract: "Decentralization in Indonesia has provided opportunities for communities to participate in forest management. Small timber harvest permits (in Indonesian Izin Pemungutan dan Pemanfaatan Kayu or IPPK) provided the first time villages received significant benefits from commercial timber extraction. Yet the extent of those benefits has been limited. Rent-seeking local bureaucrats, entrepreneurs and community elites at the district level have used the new opportunities to further their own interests through lucrative small-scale timber harvesting. Under these arrangements, communities receive minor cash fees, development of some village infrastructure and employment opportunities. These benefits are significant enough however to cause most community members to overlook fundamental issues of rights over and long-term access to forests. Local government attitude has been ambiguous: timber harvesting licenses were issued specifically for areas claimed as customary territories, yet the local government has been reluctant to formally recognize communities, claims to forest and land. I use the example of seven small-scale timber harvesting operations in the Malinau area of East Kalimantan (from 2000 to 2003) to describe the type and quantity of benefits communities received. I then discuss the implications of this experience for future community access to forests. The wealth accrued by local entrepreneurs and local elite may strengthen their position to gain more control over natural resources in the area. The recent experience of windfall benefits from forest exploitation might divert communities attention from securing long-term rights towards direct benefits. However decentralization provides increased possibilities for communities to seek recognition of their customary rights."

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