Resolving Land-Use Conflicts over Indonesia's Customary Forests: One Map, Power Contestations and Social Justice.

AuthorNuhidayah, Laely

Land-use conflict within Indonesia's forested areas is complex and remains an acute problem. (1) Massive land-use changes in recent decades have sparked widespread conflicts over control and access to these lands. (2) This is partly due to the overlapping claims by local indigenous peoples, the state and companies over forest lands and concession areas that have occurred since the late 1980s under the regime of former President Soeharto. (3) In 2014, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's administration sought to resolve these conflicts through the publication of a single map which would consolidate the available land tenure information. (4) Under President Joko Widodo (popularly known as Jokowi), this initiative was accelerated in 2016 and officially launched at the end of 2018 as the One Map Policy, with the target completion date of December 2020. However, the Jakarta Post reported in September 2020 that "inclusivity of indigenous customary land right remained a key concern as One Map nears completion". (5)

The concept behind the One Map Policy is simple: it seeks to eliminate duplicate licenses on the same land site. The policy also proposes to digitize the relevant data and information related to primary and secondary forests (including peatlands) on a single public portal, which would include synchronized data about the licenses attached to particular land areas. (6) Furthermore, during the launch of the One Map Geoportal in Jakarta, President Widodo stated that One Map and its associated information would aid government agencies and the community in improving the quality of decision-making in all aspects of national development. (7)

To understand how a single parcel of land could be subject to multiple ownership claims, it is necessary to explore the historical socio-political landscape and legal frameworks that have shaped forestry in Indonesia. This can be framed through Michel Foucault's theory of governmentality, (8) which features the interplay between contestations of power and knowledge as well as technology and social activism. (9) Prior to the One Map Policy, 19 separate line ministries in the national government had their own land management and tenure maps that charted forestry lands. In addition, there are also 85 thematic maps that cover different domains, including forestry, mining, plantations and customary forests. They were created under different laws on forestry, agriculture, plantation, spatial planning, basic agrarian land, village boundaries, mining and regional land management.

In this article, Indonesia's journey towards the One Map Policy is framed within socio-political and socio-institutional transitions. (10) It examines how incumbent powers, interests, policies and governance approaches have created path dependencies relating to forest ownership and management, and how these have been challenged by One Map. We examine the various power contestations and social justice issues that have been shaping the resolution of forestry land conflicts. We accordingly analyse the power relations between the relevant stakeholders and how these relations impact on forest policy-making and implementation in Indonesia. (11) We also explain why the problem of overlapping tenure claims arose, and how socio-political and technological changes facilitated the current response. Our findings confirm the observation that Indonesia's passage to One Map is one of iterative evolution, not revolution, reflecting institutional, social and technological barriers and inertia, (12) within which the agencies responsible for the governance of forestry land are increasingly required to balance "social, economic and environmental demands". (13)

The article draws on three sources of evidence: a review of the published and grey literature; field research conducted on Enggano Island, Sumatra in 2015 and the villages of Tumbang Nusa and Simpur in Kalimantan in 2018 and 2019; and interviews conducted with government officials in Jakarta in 2017. (14) Interviews were also held with local residents, indigenous people, and officials from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local governments to understand their different perspectives.

The article is divided into four sections. The first reviews the processes and outcomes of mapping and land-use planning in Indonesia from 1967 to 2020. The second explores the technological and administrative challenges facing the One Map Policy. The third focuses on the two local case studies to understand how land-use conflicts involving the indigenous communities were managed. Finally, the article concludes by discussing the implications of the One Map Policy for power contestations and social justice in Indonesia as well as the future prospects of the policy.

Historical Overview of Forestry Governance in Indonesia

The goal of land-use policy in Indonesia is to achieve the optimal utilization and distribution of national land resources in order to enhance national prosperity. (15) Since independence in 1945, Indonesia has struggled to clearly define its internal regional boundaries and resolve land disputes, particularly in forested areas. (16) Compounding this challenge is the central government's oscillation between centralizing and decentralizing land planning, which means decisions related to land-use and tenure are made at different administrative levels. Notwithstanding the ideological leanings of the government of the day, there are interwoven practical issues that adversely affect land-use planning and policy implementation in Indonesia. These include: the poor monitoring and lack of enforcement of spatial plans; the limited updating and inconsistent use of maps by the relevant agencies; the production of inaccurate and inconsistent maps under various spatial planning policies; the poor coordination between the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and other ministries as well as between the central, provincial and district governments; the lack of government capacity; and the involvement of vested political and business interests. (17)

We identify four distinct socio-political phases related to spatial and land-use planning between 1967 and 2020. The first phase (1967-85) is characterized by the centralized land-use planning approach under Soeharto. The second phase (1985-97), still under the Soeharto administration, is marked by the introduction of the Spatial Planning Law No. 24/1992, with the Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS) playing a central role in overseeing the national development of state land and resources. The third phase (1998-2010), which follows the fall of Soeharto's New Order regime, is defined by the decentralization of land-use policy under which land management responsibilities were delegated from the central government to local ones. Under the final phase (2010-20), the policy of land management decentralization was extended, and Indonesia joined the United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). Figure 1 details the key characteristics of these four phases with reference to the dominant governance typology of the state. (18)

In the first phase, land-use planning policy over the forests was governed at the national level under Law No. 5/1967 on Forestry. The law transpired from a request from the Ministry of Home Affairs for the Ministry of Forestry to create a forest land-use planning map. The outcome was the Agreed Map on Forest Functions, or Tata Guna Hutan Kesepakatan (TGHK) No. 26/1982, (19) which was issued in tandem with Ministry of Home Affairs Circulation Letter No. 522.12/4275/Agr. dated 3 November 1982. (20) In the resulting map which was produced at the 1:500,000 scale for each province, more than 70 per cent of Indonesia's total land area of 192 million hectares was identified as "Forest Estate". (21) This mapping and classification exercise was, however, conducted without regard to on-the-ground conditions. (22)

The first phase was further complicated by Soeharto's autocratic rule which was characterized by pervasive clientelism (23) and crony capitalism, (24) as well as the lack of recognition for indigenous tenurial rights over their forestry lands. This led to timber-rich forests being parcelled out as logging and plantation concessions to Soeharto's family, friends and business partners as well as key members of the military and political elites in order to secure their loyalty. (25) This resulted in a socio-political order in which top-down decisions and regulations over the use of the forests prevailed. Under this forestry governance framework, those who had control over the forests were able to command enormous wealth as well as political and economic influence. (26) This framework was also designed to effectively exclude indigenous communities who had long-term connections to the forests, thus perpetuating their disadvantage, specifically a lack of tenure security over their claim as they had no legal written document recognized by the state. (27)

In the second phase, the Regional Physical Planning Project for Transmigration (RePPProT) mapping programme was initiated in the period 1985 to 1987. (28) The RePPProT programme was prompted by the government's efforts to identify suitable locations for the transmigration of people to sparsely populated regions of Indonesia. This necessitated the production of systematic regional reconnaissance maps of the land resources in the receiving areas. These maps were designed to consolidate the existing TGHK charts with databases on development and reforestation areas as well as new land-use zoning plans. Despite ongoing inaccuracies, the resulting "consensus TGHK" maps have become the country's standard and most-used base maps. (29)

The introduction of Law No. 24/1992 on Spatial Planning led to different maps between TGHK (produced by the Ministry of Forestry), and RTRWP (produced by provincial and district...

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