Indonesia's Social Forestry Regulation 2004

Translation of P.01/Menhut-II/2004,
with introductory note by Down to Earth,

August 2004

Indonesia's forestry ministry has issued a new regulation to back up the social forestry policy launched by the President last year. What is behind the new focus on social forestry - and what does it mean for communities living in and around forests?

The new regulation - P.01/Menhut-II/2004 on Empowering Local Communities in and/or around Forests through Social Forestry - was issued on July 12, 2004. A ministry press release says that Social Forestry is intended to "create a sustainable forest resource and increase local peoples' prosperity". It is described as a forest management system in which local people are the implementers and/or main partners. 'Empowering local people' is defined as increasing people's capacity and autonomy (kemandirian), while 'local people' are "…communities living in and/or around forests based on their dependence on forests for livelihood, and based on their history, ties to the place where they live, and the arrangement of their social rules in an organisation/institution….".

President Megawati launched social forestry as a new, overarching policy for Indonesian forestry on 2nd July 2003 in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan. Forestry Minister Prakosa and his staff had been publicly promoting this policy for many months as the answer to forest communities' demands for ecological justice.

The need for a new paradigm of development in the forestry sector has become even more urgent since the downfall of Suharto. Department of Forestry officials now openly admit that deforestation rates in Indonesia have risen to over 2.5 million hectares a year - the forest research group FWI environment group WALHI puts it even higher at 3.8 million. Social and economic conflicts over forests have increased and intensified with the prolonged economic recession and the introduction of regional autonomy.

In her speech to the International Timber Trade Organisation (ITTO) in 2002, President Megawati said that Indonesia's forests needed a 'breathing space' of ten to twenty years and that it was time for a period of rehabilitation and conservation. Since then, forestry minister Prakosa has taken every opportunity to emphasise the five priorities for forest policy: stopping forest fires; preventing illegal logging; restructuring the forest industry; rehabilitating forests; and decentralisation of forest management. Over and above these is Social Forestry, first announced as an umbrella policy at the National Forestry Meeting in July 2002.



Issued by Mohammad Prakosa, Forestry Minister, Jakarta, 12th July 2004

(Translation by Down to Earth)[1]

Considering that:
  1. Forest resources are a life support system which need to be managed and protected for the maximum benefit of the people equitably and sustainably;
  2. Forest management, as laid down in the Forestry Act No 41/1999, is directed towards achieving sustainable forest management;
  3. Social forestry is intended to bring about forest resource protection and increased prosperity (kesejahteraan) through the empowerment of people who live in and around forests, as defined in Clause 51 of government regulation No. 34/2002;
  4. Social Forestry was announced as a national programme by the Indonesian President on July 2003;
  5. In relation to points a), b), c) and d) above, it is necessary to draw up a ministerial regulation on the empowerment of people living in and around forests through Social Forestry.

Bearing in mind:

  1. Act No. 5/1990 on the Conservation of Biodiversity and Ecosystems;
  2. Act No. 22/1999 on Local Government;
  3. Act No. 25/1999 on the Division of Revenues between central and local Government;
  4. Act No. 41/1999 on Forestry;
  5. Government Regulation No. 25/2000 on the Authority of governments and provinces as Autonomous Areas;
  6. Government Regulation No. 34/2002 on Forestry and the Formulation of Plans on the Management, Exploitation and Use of Forest Lands;
  7. Government Regulation No. 35/2002 on the Reforestation Fund;
  8. Presidential Decree No.228/2001 on the Establishment of Megawati's Cabinet;
  9. Ministerial Decree No. 123/2001 on Organisation and Working Systems in the Department of Forestry.

It is decreed that there is a Ministerial Regulation on the Empowerment of People living in and around Forests through Social Forestry.

Clause 1
In this regulation, the following meanings apply:

  1. Empowering people in and around forests means activities carried out as a means of increasing people's capacity and self-sufficiency;
  2. Exploiting forest resources by communities means the whole range of forest management activities which local people perform;
  3. Local people are people who live in and/or around the forests as a community unit, based on dependence on the forest for livelihoods, historical record, commitment to living in the area, social rules and social structures.
  4. Social Forestry is the system of management of forest resources within state forest land or privately owned forest which provides opportunities for local people as the main actors or partners to become more prosperous and bring about forest protection.

Clause 2
  1. Empowering people living in and around forests means increasing the capacity and self-sufficiency of communities using forests through social forestry.
  2. The aim of empowering people living in and around forests is to increase their prosperity and to achieve sustainable forest management.

Clause 3
To achieve sustainable forests and make local people better-off requires community empowerment through a community-based forest management system which is called social forestry.

Clause 4
Social forestry is the key reference (acuan) for forthcoming programme policies and community empowerment activities as well as the basis for improving existing ones.

Clause 5
The basic principles of community empowerment are:

  1. Creating an atmosphere or climate that allows the development of people's potential and capacities.
  2. Strengthening people's potential and capacities.
  3. Protecting communities through preferential treatment that protects them from the negative impacts of competition.

Clause 6
The target for community empowerment is local people, through efforts to increase awareness, capacity and access to forest resources.

Clause 7
Social Forestry will be based on community-based forest management through attention to the following principles: exploitation and protection, self-supporting, co-operation and partnership, cross-sectoral integration, incremental, sustainability, local specificity and adaptability.

Clause 8
The tenets in the implementation of social forestry are:

  1. The status and official categories (fungsi) of forest remain unchanged;
  2. No ownership rights are granted over state forest, except the right to utilise forest resources;
  3. Forest management should be holistic not partial (sic).

Clause 9
The development of Social Forestry will be carried out within the framework of sustainable forest management through the following key strategies:

  1. Area management: a series of pre-conditional activities carried out to support the implementation of social forestry as part of optimising the utilisation of forest resources;
  2. Institutional management: a series of measures to optimise the implementation of social forestry through strengthening organisations, applying rules and increasing the human resource capacity;
  3. Business management: a series of activities that support the growth and development of businesses in the area where social forestry is implemented, through partnership with shared rights and responsibilities.

Clause 10
  1. The various parties which have a role in social forestry are: central government, provincial, municipal and district authorities, non-government organisations, businesses, academic institutions, community organisations and international organisations.
  2. Central government and provincial, municipal and district authorities should implement social forestry through active cross-sectoral participation.
  3. The role of these parties in the development of social forestry is intended to create synergy between them, in line with their respective functions and duties in respect to the empowerment of local people.

Clause 11
Community empowerment schemes which are currently operating in the field - such as Community Forestry and Collaborative Forest Management - will continue, and be adapted in accordance with Clauses 7, 8 and 9.

Clause 12

  1. The guidelines for the implementation of Social Forestry will be set out in a separate ministerial regulation.
  2. The guidelines for granting forest use rights within social forestry will be set out in a separate ministerial regulation.

Clause 13
This decision takes effect immediately.

[1] Original in BI. English translation by DTE. NB This is not an official translation and some terms can be translated very differently. The intention is to give an overall idea of what is in this regulation.

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