Managing Forest by Local Community “Wiratno”

1. Community Forests and Village Forests  

Forest resources in Indonesia, when they are managed wisely, can contribute to the eradication of structural poverty happening in forest areas. According to a research by Prof. Didik Suharjito (2014), the number of poor people living in villages around the forests reaches 12 million people or 32.4% from the total population living around the forests or 66.3% of the total population living under poverty line.

One of the Forestry Ministry (now Environment and Forestry Ministry) programs that can be a solution to this problem is Perhutanan Sosial or Social Forestry. This program gives access right to community members who had been using the forests to earn a living. The program has two branches: Community Forests (Hkm) and Village Forests (HD). The Ministry gives access rights for 35 years, which can be extended. The right to manage Hkm is given by a head of district and HD given by governor. This program needs supports from the provincial and district administrations, NGOs, private sector, etc. The community needs more than the right to manage but also needs trainings to build their institutional capacity, managing the commodities they produce, post harvesting process, and the marketing, and at the same time, they have to pro-actively guarding their Hkm or HD from various disturbances or from illegal activities cause destruction.

Kelambu waterfall in Hkm Air Berik in West Nusa Tenggara is one of outdoor recreation or ecotourism sites (Wiratno, 2014).

As of November 2014, Forestry Ministry had issued permits called Working Area Approval (PAK) for 328,452 hectares of Hkm in 78 districts, 23 provinces, for 100,212 families or 510,060 people. But the follow up to the permits, in the form of Utilization Permit (IUP) issued by districts had only reached 89,880 hectares of Hkm in 28 districts. On average, a family manages 3.3 hectares.The Ministry had issued 318,024 hectares of HD in 223 villages, 53 districts in 18 provinces. It allows 112,472 families or 563,370 people to manage the HD. On average a family manages 2.8 hectares. But the follow up to the permit issued by the governor, in the form of Managing Rights of Village Forests (HPHD), has been given to only 67,737 hectares in eight provinces: West Sumatra, Jambi, Bengkulu, South Sumatra, South Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, and Central Sulawesi.

2. The distribution of Community Forests

There are seven provinces that got high portion of Working Area Approval (PAK), beginning with Lampung with the biggest area, followed by Aceh, Bengkulu, East Nusa Tenggara, West Kalimantan, West Nusa Tenggara, and South Sulawesi. The following graph describes the spread:3. The Spread of Village Forests

The spread of Village Forests that have gained the approval is in West Kalimantan province, which has the biggest approved area, followed by Central Kalimantan, West Sumatra, South Sumatra, East Kalimantan, West Papua, and South Sulawesi.

4. Social Forestry and Prosperitya

A. Coffee Economy on Community Forests, Tanggamus District

Tanggamus district in Lampung province has got an approval to utilize 40,043 hectares of Community Forests or almost 50% of the total approval for the entire community forests in the province. Most of the Community Forests has been planted with Robusta coffee without shaded trees among. The productivity is 750 kilograms per hectare and the coffee beans containing 13 percent of water are tagged at Rp. 20,500 per kilogram. It generates Rp 15.37 million per hectare.

If 60% of the Community Forests farmers grow coffee, the economic value from coffee in Tanggamus district could reach Rp. 392 million.

Supported by PT Ulubelu Cofco Abadi, a coffee exporter, the farmers formed a cooperative and the company helped provide the infrastructure like the warehouse, training for more productive coffee agriculture, and managing pests.

B. Community Forests in West Lampung

A research conducted by Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) on Community Forests (Hkm) in West Lampung in 2009 proves that Hkm has succeeded in reducing poverty in farmer households by 10% to 90%, depending on the agroforestry technique the farmers use and the institutional capacity on each Hkm site. The research suggests the Social Forestry model is synergized with national policy on poverty eradication. Coffees contribute to 44% of total household income. (Aji, G. B., et al, 2014).

Coffee plantation without any shaded treesin Hkm Tanggamus. (Wiratno, October, 2014).

C. Community Forests in West Nusa Tenggara

In Sesaot Community Forests (Hkm), the contribution from Hkm to household income is, on average, between Rp 500,000 to Rp 1.5 million a month. Hkm farmers in Aik Berik get in general Rp 500,000 to Rp 1 million a month, while Hkm Santong can get Rp 1.5 million to Rp 3 million a month. Hkm Santong’s biggest income is from cacao, coffee and banana. From a survey on the three locations, it can be concluded that planting  various trees could support and allow better growth of other plants. One key to success in the tree farmer groups in Sesait, Aik Berik and Santong is to maintain the density of the plants to above 900 per hectares. Reports from previous researches (Markum et al., 2012; SCFBWM, 2011), also showed the surface run-off in various agroforestry pattern in Sesaot was low, below 5%.

5. Farmers Capable to Manage Forests

According to a research, people’s forests in Wonogiri, Gunung Kidul, Kebumen, Lumajang, and Konawe Selatan have granted an ecolabel certificate. This has proven that people’s forests have been managed in a sustainable manner. Local people’s knowledge and experience have been the basis for the capacity building of the villagers near forests in sustainable forests management amid the local dynamics in social, economic and political conditions. The government has an important role as supporter and facilitator in community forestry and reducing domination’s roles. Government and forestry agencies in province and district level, agroforestry extension workers on the field should always be ready to serve and facilitate the people (Suharjito, 2014).

6. Challenges

People empowerment for those live near forests is not limited to provide planting permits. Facilitation to empower people or farmers’ group has become key factor to develop people’s self reliant. Facilitation is needed for institutional building for forestry management that takes into account both ecological and economic aspects.

Running farmers’ cooperatives in Hkm or HD become challenge to answer many problems faced by members who are trapped in ion system. Their coffee price is controlled by middlemen. Appropriate technology is necessary for processing various post-harvest products in order to increase in profit margin and value added of their commodities.

Problems of pests, diseases, and low productivity of commodities managed by relatively poor farmers have to be answered by trainers, facilitators or extension workers at regional administration, and business groups.  They should take care of poor farmers or farmers’ group at Hkm or HD.

The government roles, which used to be domination, should shift to serving and facilitating poor people living in villages near the forests in order to develop the Hkm and HD. It has become a particular challenge for the government that should be answered by doing real works in the field instead of being trapped in rhetoric’s of “mental revolution.”

Another challenge is to maintain the ecological function of the forests despite as an impact of Hkm practices. Hkm in Sumberjaya, in West Lampung district has shown changes from coffee monoculture to shaded coffee in the past 15 years (Verbist, B., et. al., 2004).  This is important considering reduce erosion level of to less than 5 metric tons per hectare per year. Meanwhile, most of coffee plantations in Tanggamus district have not yet intercropping with trees as a shaded tree.


Aji, Gutomo Bayu., 2014. The Policy Paper. Poverty Reduction in Villages around the Forest. The Development of Social Forestry Model and Poverty Reduction Policies in Indonesia.  Research Center of Population.  Indonesian Institute of Sciences.

Suharjito, D., 2014. Devolusi Pengelolaan Hutan dan Pembangunan Masyarakat Pedesaan. Orasi Ilmiah Guru Besar IPB, IPB. Auditorium Rektorat, 03 Mei 2014.

Verbist., B.dkk., 2004.  Penyebab alih guna lahan dan akibatnya terhadap fungsi Daerah Aliran Sungai pada lansekap agroforestry berbasis kopi di Sumatera. ICRAF SE Asia. Agrivita Volume 26 No.1, 1 March 2004.


Director of Area Preparation for Social Forestry Directorate General of Social Forestry and Environmental Partnership, Ministry of Environment & Forestry, Government of Indonesia