Revisiting the global role of tropical forest nations

The Strategic Review Journal, Volumen 2, No. 1, Jan-Mar 2012.

Author: Fitrian Ardiansyah is a Climate and Sustainability Specialist Based in Canberra, Australia. He spent 14 years working in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, including as the Adviser and Program Director for climate and energy at World Wildlife Fund-Indonesia.

Please find the link to the first part of this article here: http://www.sr-indonesia.com/this-months-issue/indonesia-360/131-revisiting-the-global-role-of-tropical-forest-nations (the complete article can be purchased by subscribing to the journal). This first part of the can also be found below:

Revisiting the global role of tropical forest nations

Rapid development of tropical forest nations has led not only to economic growth but also to environmental degradation and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Situated between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, these nations are home to peatlands, savannas and half of the world’s forests, which are considered among the most valuable ecosystems in the world.

The trade of timber and other products derived from these ecosystems provides substantial foreign exchange earnings for these nations and contributes to global wealth. Such economic gains, however, are accompanied by a high rate of forest loss, which is turn has been identified as a crucial factor in causing flooding, droughts, wildfires and recently, climate change. Striking the right balance between economic development and environmental protection, therefore, is an immediate challenge for these nations and the world.

Tropical forest nations, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), include 23 countries in the Americas, 37 in Africa and 16 in Asia. Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Indonesia are the three largest tropical forest nations, each representing a different continent (Figure 1). The combined total estimated forest area of these three nations in 2010, as reported by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), is 771.5 million hectares – more than half of the world’s tropical forests. For decades, government policies and private investment in these three nations have been viewed as the root causes of the exploitation of their forests and terrestrial ecosystems. These policies and investments have yielded considerable economic returns. Forests play an important role in the national economies of these three countries and provide livelihoods for local communities.

Figure 1: The Map of Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia

click picture for bigger size

Source: The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), 2011

In Brazil, a study written by Eustáquio J Reis and Fernando A Blanco and published in 2000 revealed that macroeconomic and regional policies implemented after the 1960s played a decisive role in driving forest exploitation and clearance. For instance, credit and fiscal subsidies to agriculture, supported by an expanded road network, pushed the agricultural frontier, particularly cattle ranching, further into the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest. In recent decades, however, multiple factors and actors have been considered as the driving forces. These include road, railway and other infrastructure construction, government policies on colonization and subsidies for agro-pastoral projects (mainly cattle ranching), agricultural modernization (associated with the diversification of output towards commercial crops such as soybeans), timber extraction and mining, and charcoal production.

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About Strategic Review:

The Strategic Review is the Indonesian Journal of Leadership, Policy and World Affairs with its editorial board led by Dr Hassan Wirajuda (Former Minister of Foreign Affairs) and its advisory board consists of Prof Juwono Sudarsono (Former Minister of Defense), Let Gen (Ret) Agus Widjojo (Executive Board in the Partnership for Governance Reform), Prof. John Thomas (Harvard Kennedy School of Government USA), Prof. Erhard Friedberg (Sciences Po France) and Prof Arne Westad (London School of Economics UK).

Along with my article, there are other articles published in this edition including those written by Christine Lagarde (Managing Director of the IMF), Dr Dino Patti Djalal (The Ambassador of Indonesia to the US), Dr Muhammad Chatib Basri (the Vice Chairman  of the National Economic Committee of the President  of the Republic of Indonesia) and Sydney Jones (International Crisis Group). The complete journal can be found at http://www.sr-indonesia.com/

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Mencermati Nasib Hutan Indonesia Pada 2011

Dipublikasikan di ANTARA, Karkhas, 09 Jan 2011 21:55:19

Oleh Fitrian Ardiansyah*

Dalam pergantian tahun banyak yang berharap bahwa Indonesia akan menjadi lebih baik dari sebelumnya, termasuk tentunya keberadaan hutan yang menjadi lebih lestari dan terjaga.

Hutan di Indonesia merupakan salah satu yang terluas di dunia. Selama bertahun-tahun hutan kerap berfungsi sebagai salah satu mesin pertumbuhan ekonomi nasional dan daerah, serta bertindak sebagai penyokong kehidupan masyarakat setempat dan adat.

Pada tahun 90-an, Indonesia dikenal sebagai pengekspor utama produk kayu lapis di dunia. Selain itu, negara ini juga mengekspor produk sektor kehutanan lainnya secara signifikan.

Tahun 1985, devisa yang dihasilkan dari ekspor produk sektor kehutanan mencapai 1,2 miliar dollar AS. Nilai ekspor ini kemudian naik pada 2003 menjadi sekitar 6,6 miliar dollar AS, atau sekitar 13,7 persen dari total ekspor non-migas Indonesia.

Meski pada 2009 dan 2010 penerimaan dari sektor industri kehutanan nasional turun, nilai ekspornya masih cukup besar yaitu mencapai 6,7 miliar dolar AS.

Hanya saja, keuntungan ekonomi yang diraup dalam bentuk nilai ekspor ini sering kali tidak tercermin ke dalam bentuk peningkatan kesejahteraan masyarakat yang hidup di sekitar hutan dan dampak lingkungan yang terjadi karena kerusakan dan kehilangan hutan.

Secara nasional, berdasarkan data Kementerian Negara Pembangunan Daerah Tertinggal (PDT), jumlah penduduk yang tinggal di desa hutan itu mencapai 33,5 juta jiwa dan diperkirakan hampir setengahnya masuk dalam kategori keluarga miskin.

Kehilangan dan kerusakan hutan yang berkontribusi terhadap bencana lingkungan, semisal banjir, kebakaran hutan dan lahan, kekeringan serta tanah longsor, mempunyai laju yang mengkhawatirkan.

Dari data Kementerian Kehutanan (Kemenhut) sendiri dan analisis akademis, tercatat bahwa laju kehilangan hutan di tahun 90-an merupakan yang tertinggi yaitu sekitar 1,87 juta hektare per tahunnya.

Data terbaru dari Kemenhut menunjukkan bahwa walaupun berkurang, laju kehilangan hutan masih mencapai 0,8 juta hektare per tahunnya, dari tahun 2006 ke 2008. Sedangkan hutan yang rusak terhitung seluas 59,7 juta hektare sampai tahun 2002.

Lalu, apakah harapan akan perbaikan pengelolaan hutan untuk lebih lestari hanya akan menjadi harapan kosong? Seharusnya tidak.

Presiden Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pada 2010 berkomitmen menyelamatkan hutan alam yang masih tersisa di bawah naungan inisiatif REDD (pengurangan emisi gas rumah kaca dari pencegahan kehilangan dan kerusakan hutan).

Komitmen ini di sampaikan dalam bentuk janji presiden untuk menghentikan izin baru bagi aktivitas yang akan membuka hutan alam dan gambut sejak Januari tahun ini, seiring penandatangangan perjanjian bilateral antara Indonesia dan Norwegia untuk mendukung inisiatif REDD.

Januari 2011 sudah tiba dan kita memasuki Tahun Hutan Internasional yang dicetuskan PBB.

Satu tahun juga hampir terlampaui sejak penandatangan perjanjian bilateral REDD dan disampaikannya janji presiden tersebut.

Tahun ini, karenanya, adalah saat yang tepat untuk melihat apakah janji tersebut diwujudkan ke dalam produk hukum yang jelas dan tegas, mekanisme keuangan yang adil, dan program pembangunan yang menjamin terselamatkannya hutan alam dan gambut yang masih tersisa di bumi Nusantara.

Produk hukum yang jelas dan tegas ini sangat dibutuhkan, karena menurut hasil penelitian Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK) yang dipublikasikan awal Desember tahun lalu, salah satu hal yang penting yang mendorong terjadinya korupsi dan kejahatan kehutanan adalah adanya ketidakjelasan dalam aspek hukum kehutanan.

KPK menemukan ketidakpastian definisi kawasan hutan dalam UU no. 41 tahun 2009, PP no. 44 tahun 2004, SK Menhut no. 32 tahun 2001, dan Permenhut no. 50 tahun 2009.

Situasi seperti ini memungkinkan terjadinya perlakuan memihak yang dapat dimanfaatkan untuk meloloskan pelaku pembalakan liar (illegal logging) dan penambangan ilegal dari jeratan hukum.

Selain itu, ketidakpastian ini juga menimbulkan tumpang tindih kewenangan dalam menentukan kawasan hutan antara pusat dan daerah terkait Rencana Tata Ruang Wilayah.

Temuan KPK lainnya menunjukkan lemahnya legalitas dan legitimasi penunjukan 88,2 persen kawasan hutan (lebih dari 105,8 juta ha) yang sampai saat ini pun sebenarnya belum seluruhnya selesai ditetapkan.

Keadaan semacam ini mengakibatkan pengelolaan ruang dan hutan di Indonesia rentan korupsi dan konflik yang pada gilirannya berujung kepada ketidakpastian hak dan ruang investasi serta tidak jelasnya pengelolaan kawasan hutan di lapangan.

Padahal agar tercapai pemanfaatan ruang yang optimal sekaligus menjaga hutan dan ekosistem penting yang masih tersisa, kepastian hukum menjadi syarat mutlak.

Karena tanpa kepastian hukum dengan didukung penegakannya yang sungguh-sungguh, investasi yang serius untuk membenahi pengelolaan hutan secara lestari dan pengelolaan ruang yang merangkum pihak swasta sekaligus masyarakat setempat dan adat sulit terwujud.

Kepastian hukum ini tentunya harus pula didukung oleh mekanisme keuangan yang adil dan program ekonomi yang secara kreatif meningkatkan nilai tambah bagi produk hutan.

Program ekonomi yang bukan saja berorientasi kepada devisa dari hasil ekspor produk kayu, tetapi juga kepada produk non-kayu dan jasa lingkungan sehingga menaikkan kesejahteraan ekonomi masyarakat setempat dan adat, sekaligus menjaga kelestarian hutan serta menekan bencana lingkungan.

Banyak yang menanti apakah janji yang diucapkan untuk penyelamatan hutan Indonesia terwujud mulai tahun ini?

*Fitrian adalah Penerima Australian Leadership Award dan Allison Sudradjat Award, Penasihat Program Perubahan Iklim dan Energi, WWF-Indonesia, dan Kandidat Doktor di Australian National University

Original link: http://www.antarajatim.com/lihat/berita/52788/mencermati-nasib-hutan-indonesia-pada-2011

Case Study: promoting sustainable livelihoods in Danau Sentarum National Park, West Kalimantan — the case of Wild Honey Bees

By Fitrian Adiansyah, Abetnego Tarigan, Maria Cristina Guerrero, Aloisa Zamora-Santos, Heri Valentinus, in Forest partnerships: enhancing local livelihoods and protecting the environment in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, 2007, edited by Maria Osbeck and Marisha Wojciechowska-Shibuya, IUCN, Bangkok, pp. 20-23. For the pdf version of the full please click here: 2007_CaseStudy_WildHoneyBees

West Kalimantan is one of four provinces in Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo. The province has a population of about 3.74 million people (2000 Census) and major ethnic groups include the Dayak, Malay and Chinese, who constitute about 90% of the total population.

The borders of West Kalimantan roughly trace the mountain ranges surrounding the watershed of the Kapuas River, the longest river in Indonesia, which drains much of the province, namely the extensive Lake Sentarum area — an extensive protected reserve of 132,000 hectares of lakes and of seasonally inundated forest ecosystems.

The Lake Sentarum area plays an important role as a natural reservoir for the mid- and downstreams of the Kapuas River and watershed . Of particular importance is the annual flooding regime (flood pulse), which ensures biological abundance that is extensively utilized by local people and forms a vital part of the local economy. In addition to fishing, local people depend on harvesting a variety of other terrestrial and aquatic organisms for their livelihoods, many of which are thought to be closely associated with the energy and nutrient cycles dependent on the annual flood pulse phenomenon. The Kapuas River is 1,143 km long and the watershed is 85,200 km2 in area. Despite abundant rich natural resources and biodiversity, threats to the forests stemming from logging and agricultural expansion have made life increasingly more difficult for the majority of people living in the area who remain below the poverty line.

Local NGOs have collaborated to tackle the threats to Danau Sentarum and to provide assistance to local people in support of their livelihoods. They have played a role in providing critical services in areas such as: Indonesian natural resource law; regulations on international investment and relations; ways to register community land; and negotiation tactics and strategies. Recent efforts by WALHI, WWF-Indonesia, SawitWatch and Riak Bumi have focused on facilitating a dialogue between communities, other local NGOs and government officials to find workable solutions for the future management of the Kapuas Watershed.

As sustainable management regimes in the upland areas impact the honey harvesting activity downstream, in December 2006, Riak Bumi, WALHI, Sawit Watch and WWF co-organized a multi-stakeholder dialogue with government and non-government actors, resulting in a declaration that commits communities upstream to end electrofishing by 1 January 2007 and prohibits the use of small size nylon nets as of January 2008.

Wild Honey Harvesting and Marketing

Nests of Apis dorsata, the giant honey bee, have traditionally been exploited to produce large volumes of honey and wax for trade. The tikung system of honey collection is still practised by a relatively large group of the local population in the DNSP region. The honey is collected via three different techniques: lalau (climbing up tall trees to harvest honey), tikung (traditional honeyboard system) and repak (a place where bees produce no more than one comb on any kind of any tree branch — the first person to find the comb becomes its owner). Although the tikung system is the most typical honey harvesting approach practised in the park, honey gathering from tall trees that have been colonized by bees is also popular in this region.

Apis dorsata wild honey has good economic potential as a food product as gatherers can obtain a high price. For local forest communities, wild honey (an NTFP) can be an alternative income source to help cover their daily needs. Sustainable harvesting of wild honey and management of Apis dorsata habitats are essential to protect the forest and the environment. Honey harvesting is also an alternative solution to mitigate de-forestation problems that have surfaced in recent years in Indonesia, resulting in the degradation of natural resources and the environment.

In this context, Riak Bumi initiated theIndonesia National Workshop on the Wild Honey Bee Network in Danau Sentarum National Park in January 2005 with participants from Kalimantan and Sulawesi. This forum facilitated the exchange and sharing of experiences on the management and practical utilization of wild honey bees by local gatherers; information dissemination and communication between areas emerged as a strategy for addressing forestry problems in Indonesia.

At the forum, participants raised concerns about the difficulty of marketing wild honey bee products. Discussion revealed that harvesting practices and postharvest processes result in low quality wild honey; moreover local
conditions, namely forest fire smoke and logging, exacerbate the problem. The participants agreed to work towards standardization to ensure good quality wild honey in order to meet market demand. They also agreed to set up a wild honey bee network to facilitate support facilities and information exchange and dissemination. The network’s goals are to improve the quality of wild honey, to enhance its marketing value and to generate increases in volume and price. Such aims will provide incentives to encourage more gatherers to harvest honey judiciously and maintain natural bee habitats in the forest. Riak Bumi plans to select locations for extension in Sumba, Flores, Sumbawa, possibly (later) West Papua and Mentawai archipelago.

Honey and beeswax is sold in local and regional markets; Riak Bumi has worked to link communities and markets directly to close the gap between the producer and the final consumer. This has helped to channel increased
economic benefit to the local producers that would have otherwise been diverted at various levels of the marketing chain.

During the 2003 harvest season, Riak Bumi helped package and market over 1.5 tonnes of honey from participating villages and double the financial return to the producers. With an additional 20 tonnes of honey harvested annually throughout the DSNP area, this initiative could potentially contribute to significant poverty reduction for many communities. By helping new communities to improve the quality and marketing of their honey, Riak Bumi will augment socio-economic benefits to more villages.

[Fitrian Ardiansyah, World Wide Fund for Nature WWF-Indonesia: “It is difficult for NGOs to determine what to prioritize because the companies are moving so fast.” “We need an integrated approach to the problems. Partnering with a network of NGOs made us expand our horizons, and build mutual understanding and relationships on regional issues to strategize and seek the optimal solutions.” “NGOs from the South have built a good working and sharing network on rain-forest issues through this programme; but what about the NGOs from the North?”]

As honey gatherers increasingly recognize the enhanced financial value of their honey, there is a corresponding marked shift in people’s attitudes towards local forest protection, conservation and enhancement. This includes
growing recognition among communities for the need to work cooperatively to reduce the risk of fires; to adopt self-imposed rules to guide the community in the use of forest resources; and to re-plant to enhance bee habitats and ensure future wood-supplies. In 2000 and 2001, four local villages in the park worked together to reforest 120 hectares.

Furthermore, while many bee-keeping projects throughout the developing world have focused on the introduction of frame hive bee-keeping systems, which require the importation of exotic bee species (i.e. Apis mellifera or A. cerana), the DSNP project has emphasized the need to improve upon the traditional honey-board hunting system (tikung harvesting system), which works with the indigenous A. dorsata bee and is compatible with the
ecological conditions of the DSNP.

With Riak Bumi facilitating the training of six villages in improved harvest and post-harvest processing techniques, marketing of forest honey, as well as participatory reforestation of fire-damaged sites in seven villages, the communities have heightened awareness about the need for baseline data to monitor honey production, bee population ecology and forest regeneration. As a result, permanent monitoring plots to gauge their achievements have recently been established in the DSNP.

Furthermore, in June 2002, Riak Bumi co-organized a workshop on “Anthropogenic Impacts on DSNP” that convened local communities, NGOs, government agencies and academic institutions. This resulted in a community
declaration committing them to participate in the conservation and management of the park through specific clauses on customary laws, forest protection and apiculture development. The continuation and expansion of these activities reflect the park communities’ recognition of the critical link between livelihood sustainability and the need for their active participation in biodiversity conservation.

Organic Certification 

In 2006, BIOCert an organic certifying body in Indonesia, announced that it had selected the Forest Honey Network Indonesia as its pilot project for organic certification. Guided by BIOCert, Riak Bumi, the national secretariat of the network, and the NTFP-EP (head-quartered in the Philippines) joined forces to develop Local Standards and an Internal Control System (ICS) for the Honey Producer Groups of the Wild Honey Harvesters in West Kalimantan.

While various aspects of the management system need to be analysed to determine whether the honey produced by the network qualifies for organic certification, the network seems to be well on its way to setting up its ICS and eventually becoming certified. With a number of factors already working in its favour — a sustainable management system and strong established institutions that can manage the certification process — the Forest Honey Network Indonesia’s madu (honey) may soon bear the organic seal and break into worldwide markets.

Original link: http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/forest_partnership.pdf