By: Pramono DS (Retired Forester)
Meven though it is no longer included in the national strategic project (PSN) in accordance with Presidential Regulation (Perpres) No. 109/2020 dated November 17, 2020, however, Social Forestry activities that are part of the Agrarian Reform program are increasingly showing their important and strategic figures for the life and future of the Indonesian nation. The proof is that the government is getting serious about providing access to forest areas for the community through this social forestry policy.
On Thursday (7/1/2021), President Joko Widodo again handed over 2,929 social forestry decrees (SK), 35 customary forest decrees and 58 agrarian reform object land (TORA) decrees in a number of areas in the country.
In her report, Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya said that until December 2020, a Social Forestry Decree covering an area of 4,417,937.72 hectares had been issued, with a total of 6,798 SK Permits/Rights for the community as many as 895,769 families. Meanwhile, the provision of forest areas for Agrarian Reform Objects (TORA) is approximately 2,768,362 hectares. The release of forest areas through changes to boundaries for TORA sources has been completed by 68 decrees in 19 provinces covering an area of 89,961.36 hectares with 39,584 recipients. Specifically for customary forest which is part of social forestry, currently 56,903 hectares have been designated with 75 units of decree for the community, 39,371 families and an indicative customary forest area of 1,090,754 hectares.
It must be admitted that the realization of social forestry is an extraordinary achievement and hard work for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the ranks related to social forestry activities and this gives optimistic hope that the president’s target at the end of his administration for social forestry activities covering an area of 12.7 million hectares can be well realized. . Thus, it was noted that at the beginning of 2021, the forest area used for social forestry was 7,855,437.72 hectares, with a total of 9,785 SK permits, of which 133 SKs were customary forests.
Why is social forestry considered important and strategic for Indonesian society in the future? Is it enough for the government to just distribute a decree (SK) What are the other benefits and the following questions.
Some Important Values and Benefits
first, fulfill the mandate of the 1945 Constitution in the preamble which reads based on justice for all Indonesian people and article 33 paragraph (1) which reads that the economy is structured as a joint effort based on the principle of kinship. In Law 41/1999 on forestry, Article 23 also mandates that forests as national resources must be utilized as much as possible for the community so that they cannot be concentrated on a particular group or group. Therefore, forest utilization must be distributed equitably through the legacy of community participation, so that the community becomes more empowered and develops its potential. Optimal benefits can be realized if forest management activities can produce high quality and sustainable forests.
In fact, for more than three decades during the New Order era, nearly 64 million hectares of Indonesia’s natural forests were controlled by nearly 600 corporations in the form of forest concessions (HPH), although until the end of 2019, natural forests were controlled by corporations in the form of business permits for the utilization of forest products. There are 255 units of natural forest forest (IUPHHK-HA) with an area of 18.7 million hectares and business permits for the utilization of timber forest products (IUPHHK-HT) are 293 units with an area of 11.3 million hectares.
Second, provide economic opportunities for the community. In a speech delivered at the State Palace, Jakarta (7/1/2021), President Joko Widodo reiterated that the government pays special attention to the redistribution of assets to improve the welfare of people in rural areas and forest areas. This is related to poverty and economic inequality, especially those that occur in rural areas and the environment around forests. Therefore, land provided for social forestry activities is not expected to be abandoned, let alone transferred to other parties. The land received by the community should be utilized and managed for productive economic activities that are environmentally friendly. Not only using land to grow productive crops of economic value, the community can also develop land for agro-tourism, bioenergy and other businesses.
The government also provides easy access to capital from banking, for example KUR (people’s business credit) because it involves a very large land area. Especially for social forestry lands located in rural areas, capital assistance can be provided from village funds.
Third, Social forestry activities are one solution to resolve agrarian (tenurial) conflicts. Regarding agrarian conflicts, KPA (Agrarian Reform Consortium) noted that throughout 2020, there were agrarian problems in the plantation, forestry, mining, infrastructure and other sectors. The total number reached 241 cases which affected 135,332 families in 359 villages/cities. Most agrarian conflicts are in the plantation sector, ie 69%, with 101 conflicts in oil palm plantations. The second position is occupied by the forestry sector with the highest number of conflicts in industrial forest plantation concessions, 34 cases.
This redistribution of assets is the answer to many agrarian disputes and at the same time to prevent land disputes both between communities, between communities and corporations and between communities and the government.
Fourth, reduce poverty and create jobs for communities in and around forests. One of the eight pockets of poverty that was identified by the New Order government in the 1980s was the community living in and around the forest. Communities living in and around forests are local communities which are social community units based on livelihoods that depend on the forest, history, attachment to living quarters, as well as regulation of the rules of living together in an institutional setting.
The measure used at that time was the poverty line, according to Prof. Sajogyo, a rural sociologist from the Bogor Agricultural University (IPB). Where poverty is calculated based on food sufficiency which is 2,172 calories per person per day. Figures below that are categorized as poor.
Over time, the size of the poverty line has changed. The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) explained that the average poverty line in March 2018 was IDR 401,220 per capita per month.
According to the Director General of Social Forestry and Environmental Partnership (PSKL) KLHK, if all 12.7 million hectares of forest area can be realized (100%), it will be able to involve three million Heads of Families (KK) or 12 million people, which means helping reduce poverty because will be able to increase their income above IDR 401,220 per capita / month and at the same time be able to create new jobs for as many as three million families / 12 million people.
For the record, during the Covid-19 pandemic, together with agriculture and fisheries; Forestry is one of the seven business fields that grew positively in the third quarter of 2020.
Fifth, reduce deforestation and land degradation while helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The number of deforestation and degradation of Indonesia’s natural forests, the accumulated figures still show a fairly high trend of numbers above 14 million hectares. This is due to the negative excesses arising from this uncontrolled HPH permit, among others, the inaccurate location of the designated area. Many forest areas that should function as protection/including peat forests are included in HPH areas. The TPTI, THPB, and THPA silvicultural systems are not followed in the field because the supervision of the local forestry apparatus is weak. In short, the rules for the sustainability of natural forest production are not working well.
There is a new problem that has actually been calculated previously, namely the ecological disaster due to the exploitation of forest natural resources. Forest and land fires (karhutla), especially from former peat forests that produce smoke disasters, always appear every year entering the dry season like now. The central and regional governments are frantic to deal with this forest and land fires. Not to mention the flash floods that occurred in the downstream area of the river whose upstream was a former HPH area. Tenurial conflicts between residents that caused casualties in Mesuji Regency due to the seizure of former HPH areas and many other examples of excesses resulting from this timber bonanza.
The former concession areas left by 345 HPH units covering an area of more than 45.3 million hectares are free and open areas that are easily entered by forest encroachers. Indeed, some of these former HPHs were also used for industrial forest plantation (HTI) permits, totaling 293 units with an area of 11.3 million hectares. We assume that the remaining open access forest land is used for the social forestry program reserve of 12.7 million hectares and the conversion of forest areas, specifically the release of forest areas for and in the name of development from 1985 to 2017 covering an area of 6.7 million hectares. According to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the details of the release of the area were during the Soeharto era, 3.4 million hectares, the Habibie era, 678,373 hectares, the Gus Dur era, 163,566 hectares, the Megawati era 0 ha, the SBY era 2.2 million hectares, and the Jokowi era 305,984 hectares. Coupled with forest fires, forest encroachment and shifting cultivation of more than 1.5 million hectares. Thus, deforestation resulting from open access to HPHs after deducting HTI area, social forestry reserves, forest area release and forest fires, forest encroachment and shifting cultivation totaled 13.1 million hectares, which is truly open access and is a potential deforestation rate. in addition to an area of 1.5 million hectares due to forest fires, forest encroachment and shifting cultivation. So the concession area left by HPH/IUPHHK-HA and open access, has the potential to become and increase the deforestation rate by 14.6 million hectares. Meanwhile, the government (KLHK) is holding back the pace of increasing the rate of deforestation which has just been overwhelmed, let alone dealing with the recovery of the deforestation rate of 14.6 million hectares, due to past mistakes due to mismanagement of forest concessions. With the existence of social forestry activities that utilize part or all of the abandoned and open access ex-concession forest lands, at least the government is able to suppress and reduce the rate of deforestation and forest degradation which has been an acute problem and has not been solved with the forest land rehabilitation program (RHL). the government has implemented for many years.
Later, Social Forestry can be synergized with one of the real actions in climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts at the local level through the Climate Village Program (ProKlim) which currently has more than 3000 Proklim locations at the village and sub-district level.