Report of CGIF Working Group Meeting on Social Forestry and Forest Fire Sanggau, West Kalimantan, 27-28 July 1998



Report of

CGIF Working Group Meeting on Social Forestry and Forest Fire

Sanggau, West Kalimantan, 27-28 July 1998


The CGIF Working Group Meeting on Social Forestry and Forest Fires was held in Sanggau, West Kalimantan, on 27-28 July 1998.

The two day meeting was attended by representatives of central and provincial institutions, including the Ministry of Forestry and Estate Crops, Provincial Office of the Ministry, Provincial Forest and Estate Crops Services, Provincial Planing Board of West Kalimantan, District Government, social forestry and forest fire cooperation projects, NGOs, universities, and communities

The programme of the Meeting was as follows:

  1. Presentation on Social Forestry and Forest Fire on 27 July 1998
  2. Field visit to the GTZ-SFDP pilot project on 28 July 1998

In the first session, three papers on forest fire were presented, respectively from Directorate of Forest Protection, Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation, JICA Forest Fire Prevention Management Project, and EU Forest Fire Prevention and Control Project. The Meeting discussed general situation of forest and land fires in Indonesia and the participatory mitigation efforts, JICA activities and plans especially in National Parks in Indonesia, and the approach of the EU project in promoting agroforestry to reduce the pressure of people on the forest in the form of forest fire, especially in South Sumatera.

In the second session, which was on social forestry, four papers were discussed, i.e. presentation by Dr. Untung Iskandar on transferring the management of forest to people as advised in the MEFP; presentation by Dr. Agus Setyarso from UGM on allocation, dealing and charges of forest utilization by communities; analysis by Dr. Satyawati Hadi from the Center for Forest Products and Social Economics Research and Development on the effectiveness of Decree of Minister of Forestry No. 622/Kpts-II/1995 concerning Guidelines on Community Forestry; and presentation by Ms. Angel Manembu and Mr. Sukarman Amir on overlapping regulations concerning social forestry, especially in Riau.

From the discussions and field visit, the following points could be recorded:

1. In forest and land fire management, besides empowerment of people, we should also empower officials in charge of the matter, especially in the provincial and district levels. The GTZ Project in East Kalimantan and EU-FFPCP in Palembang have managed to get people to actively participate in protecting the forest, and expectedly JICA will not only provide technical solutions such as establishment of water channel system, but also applied it operationally in the field.

2. It is necessary to use community’s traditional knowledge and skills in forest and land fire prevention.

3. Extension on mitigation and prevention of forest and land fire in the field is not sufficiently coordinated. Due to lack of field workers, the extension work is often done by forest rangers and non-forestry extension workers such as agriculture and fishery extension workers. In the future, areas susceptible to fire should get the priority to get more forestry extension workers.

4. In West Kalimantan there had been a Provincial Government Regulation concerning forest and land fire which oblige people, including forest concession and industrial forest plantation concession operators, to participate in the prevention and mitigation of forest and land fires. In addition, there has also been an Implementing Unit for Forest and Land Fire Mitigation at the provincial and district levels, armed with simple equipment.

5. The Provincial Government Regulation No. 1 of 1995 concerning forest and land fire gives exception to local communities, so that they still can use fire in their farming activities; this is in respect to the customary law which can control such practices.

6. Local communities in West Kalimantan, especially in Sanggau, have traditional knowledge and rules on using fire in agricultural activities. The customary law has a fining and sanction system for causing forest fire.

7. In accordance with the developing situation and condition of the people, it should be recognized that the traditional norms they follow are no longer reliable. There are problems to apply the traditional norms to outsiders who have caused forest and land fire. It is therefore necessary to pay attention to the borderline between customary rights and user rights, where people can utilize forest products and non-forest products with clarity.

8. In the practice of forest and land fire mitigation, besides technical factors there are also non-technical factors, including:

  • people’s participation in forest and land fire prevention should always be promoted, even though this could be a bit slow as it has something to do with human behavior;
  • it is necessary to give rewards for positive attitudes and participation of people;
  • it is necessary to involve sociologist and anthropologist to further understand the “specific characters” and typology of each community.

9. It is necessary to have one single organization which is armed with special skills and can work professionally in central and provincial levels in preventing and mitigating forest and land fires. For the ease of coordination in the provinces, more responsibility should be assigned to the Head of Provincial Office of the Ministry of Forestry and Estate Crops (Kakanwil Dephutbun), in order to simplify the constraints which may occur in the field.

10. There are many hot spots, especially in Kalimantan, but information about them is very late when received by the Regional Office of MOFEC and the Provincial Planning Board of West Kalimantan Province.

11. The denial culture of provincial officials who deny the occurrence of forest fire in their respective area need reforming, in order that fire prevention and mitigation can be timely undertaken and well coordinated.

12. The policy on industrial forest plantation and estate crops development should be reviewed, because it is suspected that the “incentive policy” may have contributed to causing forest and land fires.

13. It was also identified that among the causes of forest and land fire is land-tenureship. The way this issue is addressed by the Government should be questioned, because there is an indication that the forest and land fires are made used of for claiming land ownership.

14. Permanent forest utilization unit in social forestry development may use areas of expired concessions which are not extended by the owners or have been transferred to state enterprises. Transferring the management of the forest to local communities should consider the area and level of production, to fit the capability of the communities.

15. Definition of the size of forests for social forestry purposes could not yet be suggested, because there is no formula for a national wide application. In this regard, area allocation should consider such constraints like ‘land-man ratio’ which fits the carrying capacity of the area and the management capacity of the community.

16. The Head of Provincial Office of the Ministry of Forestry and Estate Crops suspected that forest auction would be dominated by few parties. He labeled forestry state enterprises as ‘fee-collector enterprises’. He further proposed that: (a) SFDP area and Gunung Palung area become Areas with Special Purposes, (b) sustainable forest management be social forestry oriented, (c) a model for conservation management of logged over area be developed, (d) communities be not given areas with poor accessibility.

17. Areas for Special Purposes (KDTI) such as in Krui, Lampung Barat could become a model for community forests in Kalimantan. This will require general criteria for the designation of such areas, size definition formula, and definition of the ‘user right’ of the people.

18. Allocation of community forests should consider Provincial Spatial Planning. It was questioned whether only expired concession areas could be allocated for local communities. Furthermore, the utilization should be in relation with the “basic need of community’. The mechanism should fit the community’s interests, through management by community cooperatives with advisory service of the provincial office of the Ministry.

19. To avoid over burden on forestry state enterprises, expired forest concessions should not be given to them. Areas for Special Purposes should not wait until the concession expires. It was also suggested that NGOs help with identification of forest concessionaires’ activities.

20. Customary right should be put in writing. Equal charges should be applied to every party which gains benefit.

21. To improve development of community forestry in Indonesia, SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threats) analysis should be conducted on the existing regulation – which often overlaps – especially on Decision of Minister of Forestry No. 622/Kpts-II/95 concerning Guidelines on Community Forestry. This should lead to effectiveness in achieving the target and eliminate various constraints in developing people’s participation.

22. Every foreign cooperation project should be evaluated to see its effectiveness, which could be done through empowerment of counterparts. Other parties could also be involved through exchange of information, such as experts from universities, NGOs, donors, and other related institutions.

23. Every project should be committed to the government policy. Social forestry projects still face many constraints in their activities. It is difficult to measure their successfulness, because it has something to do with the local condition of the people and institutions.

24. It was proposed that a CGIF meeting was held on methods to measure successfulness of social forestry development activities, both in central and operational levels.


Results of the Field Visit on 28 July 1998:

1. The field visit involved all participants to the meeting. The first site visited was a saving and loan group in Seibun hamlet, Sejuah village, Kembayan sub-District, Sanggau District, which had been established on the rural community’s initiatives and capital, with some advisory services of the SFDP. The group was growing into a cooperative which provides the members with daily living supplies and sells their commodity products – such as rubber and pepper.

2. The management of the group still lack skills and capital. It was suspected that the group would not be able to compete with other units with stronger capital, but the advisory service of the SFDP was expected to improve people’s motivation to further develop their activities.

3. The next site visited was Bantai village, where dialog was held with the community’s representatives, key persons, and customary leaders. It was indicated that there has been some understanding and participation on sustainable forest management.

4. The community needs facilities of education, transportation, and irrigation to develop the area.

5. It was clear that women participation is quite significant in the social forestry development activities, through the Forest Farmer Woman Group (KWTH).

6. It was identified that the community still questioned their right over the area, which requires further explanation, by relevant institution.



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