Laws & regulations

Down to Earth No. 74, August 2007


Indonesia's forestry department is allocating millions of hectares of land to a new scheme aimed at increasing the supply for wood for the pulp and timber industries, as well as tackling poverty. But serious flaws with the 'peoples plantations' programme are raising concerns that the scheme could do more harm than good.


Indonesia's forestry department announced target figures for 'Peoples Plantations' (Hutan Tanaman Rakyat - HTR) in February this year.

Down to Earth No. 74, August 2007


DTE interviewed Dr Afrizal, a sociology lecturer at Andalas University, Padang, West Sumatra. His thesis, entitled 'The Nagari Community, Business and the State', is a detailed examination of the relationship between these three elements through the example of oil palm plantations.

Down to Earth No 68  February 2006

The following report is based on a DTE staff visit to Aceh in December 2005

Looking over the vast expanse of mudflats that stretched to the horizon, I asked where the village had been. The man pointed towards the sea. Apart from the few ragged remaining coconut palms, it was indistinguishable from the land which had been paddy fields and shrimp ponds.

One year on from the December 26th quake-tsunami disaster and the scale of the reconstruction work needed is all too apparent.

Down to Earth No 68   February 2006

Will legal action help save forests and livelihoods in the Mentawai Islands? The following is adapted from an Indonesian language report by WALHI West Sumatra and interviews with Yayasan Citra Mandiri, an NGO which focuses on Mentawai issues.

The Mentawai Islands, off Sumatra's western coast, are renowned for the unique culture of their indigenous communities and the rare species that have evolved in this isolated rainforest archipelago.

Down to Earth No 67  November 2005

New measures to promote fastwood plantations

Forestry minister Kaban has issued five new measures aimed at reducing illegal logging and reviving the timber industry. These support his policy announcement made in July about speeding up the establishment of fastwood plantations to supply the country's pulp and paper plants. Foreign companies will now be allowed to invest in timber plantations.

Down to Earth No 67  November 2005

"There is no such thing as a spontaneous forest fire in Indonesia", forestry minister Kaban pronounced, as smoke from forest fires in Sumatra once again caused serious air pollution in Malaysia and Singapore from July to September.

The minister stated publicly that the fires are due to competing claims over 'unproductive' forest areas. There are some 17 million ha of forest land in Indonesia which has been over-logged or zoned for conversion, according to officials.

Down to Earth No 65  May 2005

In an attempt to save forests and livelihoods, environmentalists have sought a judicial review of the government's 2004 decision to permit mining in protected areas.

The NGOs and individuals challenging the government on its pro-industry mining policy are focussing on the negative environmental, social and economic impacts.