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Natural Resources, Environment and Landscape Management (1): Institutions and policies

Friday 20 March 2015, 1400 – 1600, Auditorium 3

Part 1 of 3. View Part 2 and Part 3.

Jeff Burley
University of Oxford

Constance McDermott
University of Oxford

These panels consider the role of natural resources in economic and social development and their influence on environmental changes.


Paper 1: From legality to sustainability? A case study of the EU-Indonesia FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement

Constance McDermott
University of Oxford

This research examines the EU-Indonesia FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) as a stepping stone towards sustainable forest management in Indonesia. The core strategic focus of the VPA is to stop illegal logging by requiring legality licensing of all traded timber, and this in turn is expected to promote environmentally and socially beneficial forestry. We test this assumption, based on three primary indicators: its impact on civil society participation (a measure of good governance), its impact on forest loss (a measure of environmental impact) and its impact on local production and consumption (a measure of social impact). We find evidence that the VPA has promoted greater civil society participation in forestry decision-making. However there is little evidence it has reduced forest loss. Indeed, by raising the cost of timber production there is a risk that the VPA might hasten conversion of forests to agriculture. Finally, legality verification has created disproportionate market barriers for hundreds of thousands of local producers, rendering much of domestic production as “illegal”. We argue that a more sustainable approach requires 1) balancing trade-based licensing of large timber firms with corresponding efforts to govern palm oil expansion and other deforestation drivers and 2) alternative strategies for governing small-scale operators and domestic markets. We are engaged in further research on the latter in both Indonesia and Ghana.

Paper 2REDD+ “One map initiative”; a new institutional path for Indonesia’s forests and land management?

Mari Mulyani
University of Oxford

Map-making has always been a political act: a means for controlling territory and governing the access of political and business interests to land and its resources. As the world’s third largest tropical forest nation the mapping of forest resources has been central to Indonesia’s political economy. Following the country’s independence from the Dutch in 1945, and in particular during the Suharto New Order regime (1967-1998), forest resources were deployed to rapidly increase GDP and structure power across a vast archipelago. The map-making institutions were characterised by ‘clientelism’ or ‘crony capitalism’.

The ‘One Map Initiative’ (OMI), developed in the context of REDD+, suggests a significant development in the political economy of Indonesian forests. This is because the policy requires that, i) cross-sectoral ministries, particularly those with land-based competencies (eg Forestry, Agriculture, Housing and Public Works), work together to create a single authoritative state land-cover map, ii) that the public are provided with free access to digital land cover maps, and iii) that indigenous customary lands are to be integrated into the state map. These measures have not been done heretofore.

This paper examines the origin of the OMI, and its implications for future forest and land governance and REDD+ implementation in Indonesia. It aims to answer the question, “Might the ‘One Map Initiative’ signify a switch to a new institutional path, one that foregrounds transparency, public participation, cross-sectoral planning, and the integration of indigenous customary lands within the state map, or is it just another innovation within existing institutions of Indonesia’s forestry?”


Paper 3: The Land of Plantation: The Land Belonging to a Corporation, People, or State? Tides of Agrarian Reform in the Plantation Area in Jember, East Java

Tri Chandra Aprianto
University of Jember, Jawa Timur, Indonesia

This essay will attempt to explain a process of efforts to perform a more righteous rearrangement agrarian resources or known with the term “agrarian reform” on plantation areas in Jember, East Java. The presence of plantations in Indonesia was the product of a colonialism system whose form of agrarian structure was not only unfair but also likely to be exploitative. Form of colonial agrarian structure also resulted prolonged conflicts on agrarian affairs that still exist until today and became the main reason for conducting the process of changing agrarian structure on plantation areas from its colonial to national pattern. However the attempts have been within the tides following the ongoing dynamics of politic. The attempts depend on political orientation of a prevailing government. In the time of Soekarno’s era this issue became the basis of national development. The issue drowned and disappeared while the New Order regime was ruling. At this time, a fairly rearrangement agrarian resources still becomes the important issue in Indonesia including the plantations areas. Furthermore, what deserves attention here is an effort towards a rearrangement of community engagement plantation has been actively performed in every political period.

Paper 4: Changing in the Jrai’s social structure under the national land policy and urbanization

Dinh Le Na
Vietnam German University

The aim of the paper is to consider the change of the social structure of Jrai people, a minority community in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, in combination of the spatial aspect and applied archeology in urban space. The Jrai’s traditional village is an independent community inside the peculiar power system that controlled by Gods. This connects to the human world through Potao, who is the “King” of Jrai. The democracy and social equality which was formed through the separate villages reflect the power system in which the relationships of Jrai’s community bases on association (feeling groups or marriage) or confrontation. Those characters build the identity of Jrai people. However, along with the developing of Vietnam social structure after War (1975), the Jrai’s traditional villages must be transformed their existed independent position into a grade of the national administrative system. Furthermore, the land policy and the urbanization play the significant roles in the transition of Jrai’s villages to residential areas in the growing city. That impact factors affect to the original social structure as well as Jrai people. Positively, some of Jrai are adapting to new opportunities and enrich because they are learning technology and knowledge from the portal Kinh people. However, by losing their own active and unattached, the others have being depended on the supported outsides passively and became a new urban poverty class. Both trends bring to the social stratification in the Jrai’s society and the fading of the identity of Jrai people.