Pak Ongko, a 77-year-old farmer and fisherman, made a confident living from Butini fish (Glossogobius matanensis) and the freshwater shrimp that swarmed in Lake Matano, an ancient, isolated tectonic lake in the far east of Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province.
But in the last 10 years, these species have become extinct. To blame: pollution of residential areas and a nearby nickel mine; overfishing; and incursions of invasive – and inedible – species such as broomfish (Pterygoplichthys pardalis), which devour the algae in the lake and swallow up the spawning of other fish.
Making a living from fishing is no longer possible for people like Ongko, and many have instead turned to farming and collecting forest products, which currently abound in the tropical rainforests of the mountains bordering the lake. But without careful management, these ecosystems are also in danger of degrading and becoming unproductive.
In late 2020, as part of broader efforts to support local livelihoods through forest tenure reform, the national Ministry of Environment and Forestry encouraged farmer-fishermen to join groups of beekeepers as part of an agroforestry program. They provided 90 bee colony facilities and a local nongovernmental organization provided training in business skills and honey production.
A year later, the number of bee colonies has grown to 120, and new beekeepers like Ongko are producing and selling huge volumes of delicious local honey. Because the bees feed on flowering plants and local trees, the business is a powerful motivator for community members to keep the forests intact. Meanwhile, fishing pressure on Lake Matano has been diverted, which officials say will give the lake a better chance to regenerate naturally.
This story, which was shared by a participant in a recent workshop, “Building the Capacity of Government Agents in Forestry Development”, in October 2021, speaks volumes about the potential for land rehabilitation, forestry and forestry. social and sound forest management in general, to provide sustainable livelihoods while strengthening the protection of natural resources.
“We hope that stories like this will be shared more widely and more frequently – and that staff at all levels will have the capacity to help bring them to life,” said Tuti Herawati, director of the Management Unit of Forest Protection (PFMU) at the Indonesian Ministry. environment and forests, and the workshop organizer.
Forest tenure reform in Indonesia
Since 2016, the Indonesian government has allocated 12.7 million hectares of forests for community management under various social forestry programs. The reform is one of the country’s priority national poverty reduction programs, which aims to provide local communities with legal access to forest resources to support their livelihoods.
the International Forestry Research Center (CIFOR) has conducted research to better understand what hinders this implementation process. They discovered a range of contributing factors, including regulatory frameworks, administrative challenges, market forces, budget constraints, coordination issues, and various community attributes.
These findings resulted from the Global Comparative Tenure Study during the period 2014-2019, which examined the evolution of land reform in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Indonesia is one of the research sites, along with five other countries – Peru, Uganda, Kenya, Nepal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Bring the dream to earth
One of the objectives of GCS Tenure is to build the capacity of government officials implementing forest tenure reform programs in the six countries. With these concerns in mind, CIFOR developed a survey of implementers to systematically document the conditions and challenges faced by government agencies in implementing reforms. The tool has been applied in five of the study countries since 2017.
In the Indonesian context, the gaps and challenges revealed by this survey motivated the creation of the October workshop.
The event aimed to build bureaucratic capacity for the implementation of forestry development programs on the ground; present the survey to performers; and identify the challenges and obstacles encountered by participants in implementing forest management. It brought together more than a hundred participants, from the Forest Management Unit, the General Directorate of Social Forestry and Forest Partnership, and the General Directorate of Watershed Development and Rehabilitation of Forests, among other institutions.
The workshop was conducted online and included three Zoom meetings, as well as an assignment and mentoring process to be completed between meetings two and three. It was designed using a participatory model that actively involved participants in plenary discussions and working groups; training material was delivered through several methods, such as PowerPoint presentations, brainstorming sessions and videos, while considerable time was devoted to discussion.
Participants discussed several topics related to forest policy and regulation, including current social forest regulation, watershed management and planning, mangrove rehabilitation, seed source production and conservation of forest. water and soil. All forestry development programs are carried out taking into account community participation and land rights, which the government recently strengthened with several regulations after the enactment of the 2020 Job Creation Act.
Much of the workshop was devoted to the theory and practice of storytelling on forest development program implementation.
“Often people in these positions know exactly what happened, but they don’t know how to convey that information to the public,” said Nining Liswanti, CIFOR researcher.
Participants were then given an assignment to develop their own stories about their experiences implementing their work, which they completed at home over the next two weeks, while receiving mentoring assistance as needed.
Finally, on October 29, the group gathered for a third day to share their stories. A wide range of situations, challenges and successes were recounted – from durian competition winners in South Kalimantan to a eucalyptus oil company in East Java.
“This part of the training helped them to write their stories better and also allowed us to learn how they executed the forestry program – and how they coped with the stresses and challenges along the way,” Liswanti said. .
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This research was funded by the CGIAR Policy, Institutions and Markets (PIM) Research Program.
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