Forest Landscape Audit: A Proposed New Mechanism for Auditing Forest Governance

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"Techniques do not yet exist for auditing multi-sectoral forest governance, since the magnitude and scope of multi-sectoral auditing, along with the ever-changing interests of government, business, NGO, and local community on reaching agreed standards, have hindered the development of suitable auditing metrics. I propose forest landscape auditing (FLA) as a mechanism to monitor and assess the economic performance, efficiency, and effectiveness of forest governance. I focus on formulating auditing mechanism for individual forest landscape, instead of all forests. Indicators and criteria for auditing are derived exclusively for each landscape which may or may not applied to other landscapes. I standardise the mechanism for auditing to enable consolidation and comparability between landscapes. Simulation and analytical tools will be used to provide evidence for assessing the economy, efficiency, and the effectiveness of a landscape governance. This pilot effectiveness audit was conducted in Sendang landscape Southern Sumatera Indonesia. Sendang (Sembilang Lalan Dangku) is a landscape in which conservation endeavors in Sembilang – a shelter for thousands of migrating birds from Siberia every year- and Dangku -a sanctuary for the endangered Sumatran tigers- need to be reconciled with the development arrangements in Lalan -the construction of modern feeder port in Tanjung Api-api, the concession of coal mining neighboring to Dangku conservation area, and the expansion of palm oil companies. This audit aimed at identifying non-synergistic regulations throughout the multi sector landscape using Ostrom’s principles as general criteria. I found that regulations within Sendang’s multi sector landscape are non-synergistic. The regulation settings regarding government, business, NGO and local community, in either local, central, or international level, within forestry, agriculture, and mining, are mostly overlapped, conflicting to each other, and unclear. This poor setting leads to equally depriving implementations. Government authorities and influence are not as prescribed in the regulations; companies bypass the regulations; and local communities are in constant conflict with either the government or companies. Improvements on the existing regulation setting is novel. I propose three audit recommendations for more synergistic regulations. First, significant investment in additional resources such as human, capital, infrastructure, and technology to upgrade the coordination and performance of institutions implementing the existing regulations. Second option is restructuring current regulations to balance controls and authority and account for power differentials. Third scenario is to combine investment and restructuring regulation. Some investments are made to support more effective implementation but amendments to regulations are needed to support change. Determining which of the three options is most suitable for Sendang requires further audits of efficiency and economic performance. My next stage of this project will undertake those audits, which will then help guide changes that will be proposed to improve effectiveness."



governance, forests