Jakarta, Ekuatorial – Amidst Indonesian inauguration in October, green group reminded elected president, Joko Widodo, on his promise for a better forest management during his campaigns.

Chalid Muhammad, chair of Society for Community-Based Legal Form and Ecological, known also as HuMa, said that three main issues related to forest management in Indonesia.

“First, natural resources control [which is dominated] by a certain group of people. Second, significant forest loss rate,” said Muhammad. “And, the last one is about overlapping between permits and spatial planning in forest areas.”

He cited that 33,000 villages were located in the forest areas which lead to land conflicts. To add further complication, mining and plantation permits issuance were easily given by local governments. For instance, Kutai Kartanegara district which comprise of 300 villages, has already issued 700 mining permits.

“The ministry of forestry is [acting] like a permit dealer,” he said.

The statement was rebuffed by Hadi Daryanto, secretary general of the Ministry of Forestry, who said that decentralization has given authority to local governments to issue those permits. “These are the core problem as there were head of districts acting as permit dealer,” said Daryanto.

He cited the case of 3,000 hectares of forest areas in Leuser, Aceh province which its permit was granted without proper environmental impact assessment [Amdal] by the local government. “We [the ministry of forestry] would not possibly even consider issuing such permit,” he said.

Furthermore, he said that the ministry was speeding up the process for forest area stipulation which will come out as One Map Policy. “Forest management issue can be solved through this program as forest stipulation will determine people’s rights over the area,” he said.

However, Muhammad said that the program was not effective as it did not include people’s participation. Januar Hakam[:]

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