Forests for the Future: insights from Indonesia’s indigenous communities

Bleq Village, Sembalun, Lombok (Photo: Yuyun Indradi)

Indonesian edition of AMAN-DTE book published online

Press release by AMAN and DTE

May 21st, 2013

Following last Thursday’s landmark ruling on customary forests by Indonesia's Constitutional Court, AMAN and DTE have announced the publication online of the Indonesian edition of their book Forests for the Future. The printed version will be available at a later date.

Written by indigenous communities across Indonesia, the book includes contributions from Sumatra, NTT, NTB, Sulawesi, Kalimantan and Java. It describes the skills and knowledge used for generations to manage forest ecosystems without destroying them.

Forests for the Future comes at a crucial time for the indigenous peoples movement. A draft law on the recognition and protection of indigenous peoples (RUU PPMA) is being debated in parliament, potentially ending years of systematic discrimination.

Powerful business and political elites have pushed indigenous communities aside for decades in the rush to profit from logging, mining, oil & gas, plantations and – more recently – agrofuel and carbon conservation projects.

This marginalisation is continuing today, despite a growing body of evidence showing that communities manage forests better than governments and that community forests help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

AMAN Secretary General Abdon Nababan said: “Publishing the Indonesian edition is really important because it can be read by indigenous peoples managing the forests whose stories are in the book, it will motivate other indigenous people to document their own accounts of safeguarding forests, and it will motivate development planners and local and national-level policymakers currently drafting a new forest management regime for Indonesia which is more just and sustainable.”

DTE Coordinator Cathy Scott said: “The original English language edition of Forests for the Future was designed to engage with an international audience so that indigenous ways of forest management become better known and get the recognition and respect they deserve. We very much hope that this Indonesian edition which is now being presented to a “home” audience can help spread this positive message inside Indonesia.”

Forests for the Future avoids romanticising the indigenous way of life.  Instead it presents lessons learned from communities striving to meet today's economic and political challenges.

The book aims to assist efforts to develop community-based models which present a more achievable, viable and just way of addressing the challenges of sustainability, poverty reduction and upholding the rights of indigenous peoples.


Forests for the Future is published by Indonesia’s Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance, AMAN, and Down to Earth. The Indonesian online version of the book can be downloaded from DTE's website here.

The English edition of the book Forests for the Future was published by AMAN and DTE in 2009.

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