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Research Report

Decentralisation, Local Communities and Forest Management in Barito Selatan District, Central Kalimantan

John F. McCarthy
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2001
Pages: 47
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. iv-vii)
    Christopher Barr and Ida Aju Pradnja Resosudarmo
  2. (pp. 1-6)

    The giant Barito River dominates Barito Selatan (or as it is locally known, Barsel), a district arranged around its banks north of Banjarmasin, the capital of South Kalimantan. At present Barito Selatan is the smallest district (12,664 km²) in Central Kalimantan with a population of only 177,516 people (Badan Pusat Statistik Kabupaten Daerah Barito Selatan 1998).¹

    Barito Selatan consists of three geographical areas: the flood prone lowlands, the river plains, and the hilly highlands alongside the Barito River. Here, the failed one million-hectare peat lands project (Proyek Lahan Gambut or PLG) extends to the west bank of the Barito River...

  3. (pp. 7-17)

    According to Indonesia’s main decentralisation laws (Undang-undang No 22/1999 and Undangundang No 25/1999), the autonomous districts and municipalities must necessarily take responsibilities for a much larger range of government functions. However, as in other areas of Indonesia in the context of implementing the two decentralisation laws, a primary concern amongst district government decision-makers is the capacity of the district to support itself as an autonomous region. In other words, district government planners have to find the revenue to support these expanded functions. Clearly forestry related issues need to be discussed in this context. Therefore, before proceeding further, it is important...

  4. (pp. 19-24)

    As far as decentralisation enables local communities to have a greater say in how resources are managed, delegating decision-making powers to district government could enable forest dependent people to gain greater control over and enjoy more of the benefits from local forest resources. However, if regional autonomy occurs without the emergence of democratic controls at the district level, it is also possible that regional autonomy will enable local elites to extend their control over local forest resources. In other words, regional autonomy could improve the situation of local communities and/or lead to greater control of resources by regional elites.


  5. (pp. 25-28)

    After the end of Suharto’s New Order regime, previously existing national government controls over access to and use of the state-defined ‘Forest Estate’ (Kawasan Hutan), such as they were, have lapsed. With the withdrawal of government security support for timber concessions, the bargaining position of logging concessions has declined. Timber concession-holders now have to make concessions to local communities. In most areas – with the exception of active RKT cutting blocks –HPH-holders are unable to control access to and use of timber in their concession areas. This is associated with an upsurge in logging outside the official forestry regime.