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Migration and Property in Mangrove Forest: The Formation and Adaptation of Property Arrangements of the Buginese in an Open Delta in Mahakam, East Kalimantan, Indonesia

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Safitri, Myrna A.
Conference: Commoners and the Changing Commons: Livelihoods, Environmental Security, and Shared Knowledge, the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Mt. Fuji, Japan
Conf. Date: June 3-7
Date: 2013
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8963
Sector: Forestry
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): property rights
Abstract: "By defining local property arrangement as internal rules of the games used by people whose no property rights to protect their land claims and resource utilization, this paper discusses how migrants have invented and adapted their property arrangement in a de facto open access tropical delta in Mahakam, East Kalimantan. Unique due to its diversity of mangrove species and specific geological formation, the Mahakam Delta has been facing devastating mangrove destruction. The Delta land is designated as state forest areas; however, it is open access since pre-colonial times. In such a situation, migrants, mainly the Buginese, have occupied the land. This paper aims to explore the relationship between migration and the formation of property arrangement and semi-formal property rights. Migrants are more vulnerable than indigenous people in the sense that they have not been able to establish their community property rights and the state does not grant them with legal rights. As such, they have to bargain with street-level officials to seek for semiformal rights by accepting any written documents provided by these officials to confirm their land claims. The case study of the Mahakam Delta migrants conceptualizes that property rights evolve from property arrangement. Migration and de facto open access regime are the formative elements of such property arrangement. This paper describes types of local property arrangements related to land, sea and river in the Mahakam Delta; how these arrangements have emerged; how migration and state regulations related to these arrangements; what the main conflicts of interests between stakeholders are, how these conflicts related to the property arrangements crafted by the migrants and how the changes of livelihood have influenced these arrangements."

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