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Research Report

The Dynamics of Decentralization in the Forestry Sector in South Sulawesi: The History, Realities and Challenges of Decentralized Governance

Putu Oka Ngakan
Amran Achmad
Dede Wiliam
Kahar Lahae
Ahmad Tako
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2005
Pages: 86
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-2)

    The intention behind regional autonomy (Otonomi Daerah), or decentralization, was to bring decision-making processes closer to the public, to make public policy more acceptable and productive, and to fulfil demands for justice at the grassroots level (Resosudarmo 2004). Through the decentralized system of government, districts have been given greater opportunities to develop their own policies according to local social and cultural characteristics, economies and needs. As it has brought decision-making processes closer to the grassroots, the new system can be considered far more democratic than the centralized system of government in place under Soeharto’s New Order regime.

    Since the collapse...

  2. (pp. 3-4)

    As the different phases of this study had different focuses and emphases, different methodologies were used for each.

    The first phase of the study focused on district forestry sector decentralization mechanisms and implementation processes, and used a more conventional extractive methodology, mainly via open or structured interviews. Interviews involved district and provincial stakeholders from institutions in Luwu Utara and South Sulawesi working in the forestry sector⁴, non-governmental organizations, forestry entrepreneurs, and local people from the three villages of Sepakat, Cendana and Seko living in or around the forest⁵.

    The second phase of the study was aimed at observing the district...

  3. (pp. 5-9)

    Sulawesi’s unique biodiversity was first recorded when the British explorer and naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace travelled throughout the Indonesian archipelago in the 1850s. Due to their bio-geographical isolation in the ancient past, Sulawesi’s forests have a very high number of endemic species (i.e., species found nowhere else in the world). Sulawesi’s unique biodiversity has been the subject of great concern among world scientists keen to promote the conservation and sustainable use of the island’s biodiversity (Whitmore et al. 1989).

    Luwu Utara is the largest district in South Sulawesi, covering almost a quarter of the landmass of the province10. Most of...

  4. (pp. 10-16)

    Throughout the New Order era, pre-decentralization forestry policies in Indonesia were founded on Basic Forestry Law No. 5/1967 (BFL 1967). A year after this law was passed, the central government issued Regulation (PP) No. 6/196816, withdrawing control from district governments and granting control over forestry instead to provincial governments in the former Eastern Indonesian Nation (Negara Indonesia Timur (NIT)17. Prior to the New Order regime, forest sector management in these regions was fully decentralized, managed at the district level in the former NIT and delegated to the provincial level in other parts of Indonesia18.

    Between the introduction of BFL 1967...

  5. (pp. 17-27)

    With the rapid transfer of authority to autonomous district Forestry and Estate Crops Offices, many commentators (politicians, scientists, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) etc.) raised concerns that decentralization would make it easier to convert forests for non-forestry purposes such as commercial plantations, farming land etc. (see Casson 2001; Potter and Badcock 2001). Prior to the official implementation of decentralization in 2001, Luwu Utara District Government had already established its own District Forestry and Estate Crops Office.

    However, in Luwu Utara the reality was quite different. Any change of status in a forest area (state forest classification) should be authorized by the Minister...

  6. (pp. 28-36)

    This section outlines the decision-making processes used for district policy-making during the decentralization era. It covers vertical coordination between district, provincial and central governments, horizontal coordination between government institutions in the district, and the involvement of local stakeholders in decision-making processes.

    Decentralization Law No. 22/199965 explains that autonomous regions (provinces, districts and municipalities) are independent and have no hierarchical relationships. Nevertheless, it also states, in the explanatory section, that provincial governments have the role of facilitating and monitoring districts. Findings from the first phase of this research in 2001 showed that the district and provincial governments’ interpretations of autonomy are...

  7. (pp. 37-40)

    In some aspects, decentralization provides district governments with greater authority for managing their forests. However, many important policies with a major impact on forestry development, such as forest area designation, zoning, forestland conversion and granting permits for large commercial concessions, are still in the hands of central government. District government authority is limited to issuing small-scale concessions and commercial permits such as Timber Utilization Permits for Privately-owned Land (Ijin Pemanfaatan Kayu Tanah Milik, IPKTM), Timber Utilization Permits for Community Forest (Ijin Pemanfaatan Kayu Rakyat, IPKR) and permits for harvesting non-timber forest products (NTFPs).

    Under District Regulation No. 5/2001 concerning permits...

  8. (pp. 41-51)

    Sulawesi supplies about 89% of the rattan produced by Indonesia. Business owners (investors) feel that decentralization has made it much easier to obtain rattan collection permits (IHPHH Rattan)75. Instead of having to travel to the provincial capital, they can now submit applications at the district level. As was the case in the past, business owners must start cooperatives of rattan gatherers located in the area where the licence will be used. This requirement is aimed at ensuring rattan gatherers benefit more fully from the forests surrounding their villages.

    Rattan licences cover areas of 500 ha and are valid for 6...

  9. (pp. 52-60)

    Among traditional communities in Luwu Utara, owning large areas of land is a matter of great pride. Even if the land produces very little, it is considered preferable to owning a relatively small but more productive piece of land. The size of the land a person owns symbolizes his or her social status: the bigger the area, the more respect he/she commands. This mindset encourages people to obtain as much land as possible – usually much more than they can manage productively. Consequently, many farms and paddy fields are unused. The local term for these fields is tanah ongko –...

  10. (pp. 61-63)

    In the early years of decentralization, the Forestry and Estate Crops Office in Luwu Utara District faced difficulties because of the lack of qualified and professional staff in the district. To overcome the problem, the District Forestry Office hired consultants from the Watershed Management Bureau (BPDAS) and the Forest Mapping Agency (Balai Pemantapan Kawasan Hutan, BPKH)85, both based in Makassar, a 12-hour drive away. The consultant from BPDAS helped the Forestry Office to measure and map locations for reforestation. Meanwhile, the BKPH official helped develop forest area designations and utilization plans. These consultancies stopped in August 2002, when the Forestry...

  11. (pp. 64-65)

    In many countries that have moved to decentralize their governance system, forests are always subject to the most scrutiny and dispute of all natural resources (Kaimowitz et al. 1998). This is possibly because forest resources can be exploited quickly and cheaply, and with relatively little investment.

    Following decentralization, many districts in Indonesia now count very heavily on their forests for income. Unfortunately, the central Ministry of Forestry in Jakarta still expects large returns from forest resources in the districts. This has led to clashes of interest. Inconsistent and contradictory laws and regulations from central and district governments have confused the...