Framing up the community-centred future of peatland management

Experts share knowledge from long-term research in Indonesia and beyond
, Wednesday, 8 Feb 2023
Kubu Raya, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo by Ricky Martin/CIFOR

Indonesia has the third-largest area of biodiversity-rich tropical forests in the world. The archipelago is considered one of the world’s 17 ‘megadiverse’ countries and houses two of the 25 global biodiversity ‘hotspots’. In 2015, however, the country experienced its worst forest fire disaster in almost two decades. In September and October that year, carbon emissions released by the fires reached 11.3 million tons per day – higher than the emissions of the entire European Union, which released 8.9 million tons daily over the same period.

In response to the disaster – and as part of wider efforts to restore 14 million hectares of degraded land, including two million hectares of peatlands – the Korean and Indonesian governments have developed a peatland restoration project which focuses on the ‘3Rs’: rewetting, revegetation, and revitalization. Activities include rewetting infrastructure, revegetating over 200 hectares with tree planting, and land revitalization in 10 villages surrounding the project site, as well as the creation of a small peatland education centre.

“We believe that this peatland restoration project will help create a sustainable ecosystem and have a productive impact on the community,” said Junkyu Cho, Korean Co-Director of the Korea-Indonesia Forest Cooperation Center (KIFC), during a symposium to share knowledge and experience gained from peatland restoration initiatives in several locations across Indonesia, on 7 December 2022 at CIFOR’s Bogor campus. The international symposium also aimed to enhance the network of researchers involved in peatland restoration and governance.

The research team, which hails from Korea’s National Institute of Forest Science (NIFoS) and the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), will develop a model for restoring peatlands and other degraded lands in Indonesia in ways that make the most of science and technology and improve local livelihoods.

“We hope that various issues, such as climate change adaptation, nature-based solutions, and bioeconomy will be explored under the rubric of peatlands,” said Hyungsoon Choi, the director of NIFoS’ Global Forestry Research Division. The researchers are also helping to develop sustainable community-based reforestation and enterprises, said CIFOR-ICRAF Senior Scientist Himlal Baral.

During the symposium, Baral also shared information on CIFOR-ICRAF’s long-term Sustainable Community-based Reforestation and Enterprises (SCORE) project, which runs for the same period as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and provides valuable opportunities for research. The study involves identifying areas for restoration, and for planting sustainable timber and non-timber forest products. “We start with small demonstration trials, and we hope to scale up and achieve long-term impacts,” he said, adding that smart agroforestry is one of the options for restoration.

Nisa Novita, from local NGO Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN), shared some of her research into the mitigation potential of natural climate solutions for Indonesia. Her team found that the country offers a dramatic opportunity to contribute to tackling climate change by increasing carbon sequestration and storage through the protection, improved management, and restoration of drylands, peatlands, and mangrove ecosystems. “Protecting, managing, and restoring Indonesia’s wetlands is key to achieving the country’s emissions reduction target by 2030,” she said.

Several presenters shared models for cost-effective restoration. A-Ram Yang of NIFoS’ Global Forestry Division discussed a visit to the Perigi peatland landscape in South Sumatra in September 2022. Meanwhile, a team from Korea’s Kookmin University shared their experience assessing ecosystem services in North Korea’s forests with a view to adapting these for use in Indonesia.

Budi Leksono, a senior researcher at the Research Center for Plant Conservation and the Forestry, National Research, and Innovation Agency (BRIN), spoke of the potential of genetic improvement to serve restoration goals. “The use of improved seeds for plantation forests has been proven to increase the productivity and quality of forest products,” he said. “In accordance with the goal of restoration in Indonesia to restore trees and forests to degraded forest landscapes on a large scale, it should also be applied to the landscape restoration program to increase the added value of the land, and will have an impact on increasing ecological resilience and productivity.”

On a similar note, in a research collaboration with CIFOR-ICRAF, scientists at Sriwijaya University (UNSRI) developed a model for landscape restoration to be applied to wide range of species of  high economic value, including Jelutung (Dyera costulata), Belangeran (Shorea balangeran), Nyamplung (Calophyllum inophyllum) and Malapari (Pongamia pinnata). One of the scientists, Agus Suwignyo, said that “the use of improved seeds for landscape restoration will have an impact on people’s welfare if this is also followed by implementing a planting pattern that is in accordance with the conditions of the land and the needs of the local community.”

Participating farmers also chose their own preferred species, such as jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), avocado (Persea americana), mango (Mangifera indica), nangkadak (a hybrid of Artocarpus heterophillus and Artocarpus integer), sapodilla (Manilkara zapota), oranges (Citrus sp.), soursop (Annona muricata), rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) and betel or areca palm (Areca catechu). From 2018 to 2020, UNSRI helped local farmers to develop smart agrosilvofishery, improved rice cultivation, introduce other economical rice crops, plant trees, and cultivate various local fish species.

The method showed positive results. “During the long dry season in 2018, the surrounding area was burned by other farmers, but our demo plot area was not burned,” said Suwignyo. “This year, we scaled up the area to 10 hectares.” The story echoed a common theme within the symposium: the importance of well-planned, multidisciplinary, evidence-based restoration that puts both people and nature first.


This research was supported by the National Institute of Forest Science, Republic of Korea; Centre for Forest Biotechnology and Tree Improvement of the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry; Tropical Rainforest Reforestation Center of Mulawarman University; University of Muhammadiyah Palangkaraya; Center of Excellence for Peatland Research at Sriwijaya University.

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For many Indigenous communities, land titles aren’t the same as tenure security | Center for International Forestry Research

For many Indigenous communities, land titles aren’t the same as tenure security

In communities’ visions of a secure future, good governance, transparency, and respect for customary rights matter more than a piece of paper
, Monday, 6 Feb 2023
Women resin transporters, walk as carry resin from the fields to the village, for one kilo they earn Rp. 600, – and usually they can carry fifty kilos one way in Penengahan village, Pesisir Barat regency, Lampung province, Indonesia. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/CIFOR

With international climate negotiations putting Indigenous Peoples and other local communities in the spotlight for climate funding, more attention is being paid to protecting those groups’ rights to their land and forest.

That often takes the form of land titling programs, but titles alone don’t guarantee rights. And while tenure security can make communities more secure, exactly what that means varies from place to place, according to a new study by the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF).

“I think a lot of people still believe that land titles grant tenure security, and it’s hard to get away from this idea,” said CIFOR-ICRAF principal scientist Anne Larson. “Data show that people often consider a piece of paper reassuring — a sign of legitimacy meaning that others will respect their rights. But anyone who has worked in this field for very long knows how limited a title can be.”

Larson has seen cases in which a newly titled community’s leader has sold off forest rights to the highest bidder, or an Indigenous community has won title only to have government agencies fail to support its efforts to defend itself against settlers who invade its land.

“It’s frustrating to share in the victory of seeing a title granted to an Indigenous community that has been fighting for it for so long, only to see all the apparent advantages of having that title practically eroded by the time it is delivered,” she said.

So what do communities expect from land tenure?

“In a study that included communities in Indonesia, Uganda and Peru, we found that many things matter for the well-being of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, but secure tenure is the foundation,” Larsen said. “The study shows how multiple factors that influence well-being are interconnected.”

If a title does not ensure tenure security, however, what does?

Visions of the future

When Larson and her colleagues dug into what forest dwellers mean by tenure security, they found that it varies from place to place but with important common threads.

They used a method called participatory prospective analysis, in which people involved in tenure issues — community members, government representatives, members of non-governmental organizations and academics — created future scenarios involving land and forests.

The result, Larson said, was a more comprehensive understanding of how tenure relates to the livelihoods, identity, and the overall well-being of local communities.

The three countries were chosen because they reflected various tenure models, from ownership of forest resources by Indigenous or traditional communities to arrangements in which communities and state entities share forest management.

Multiple workshops were held in the three countries in 2015 and 2016, leading the participants through a five-step process. In the first step, they defined their situation, answering questions such as: ‘What is the future of tenure security in this region 20 years from now?’

Once that was defined, they identified factors that could have a positive or negative impact on forest and land tenure. They then examined how those factors affected each other, to identify the most influential or ‘driving’ forces — the ones that could lead to a domino effect

After determining what those drivers would look like if they were positive or negative, the participants chose the most logical combinations of factors to create a variety of different potential future scenarios. They built narratives around those, and in Peru, an artist produced drawings of each. The groups then created action plans to work toward their desired futures.

Examples of the drawing of an optimistic and pessimistic scenario from the Peru sites. Illustrations by Lesky Zamora Rios (watercolor on paper and digitized).

Context and history matter

Communities in the regions chosen for the study have different types of tenure and face various pressures from outside their territories, and the scenarios the workshop participants developed show that local characteristics and history are important.

In Peru’s Loreto and Madre de Dios regions, the government has been granting titles to Indigenous communities, but many communities still lack titles, and overlapping claims abound. Communities do not have rights to subsoil resources, such as oil and minerals, and can use forest resources but cannot own them.

In positive future scenarios, workshop participants stressed coordination between national and local governments and between the government and communities, a central role for Indigenous Peoples, transparency, effective monitoring, and governments with sufficient capacities and resources. Negative scenarios, which represented backsliding in rights, included elements such as a lack of government coordination, lack of interest in Indigenous issues and corruption.

In Indonesia’s biodiversity-rich Maluku region, much of the forest is managed by communities under a customary system, while in the Lampung province of Sumatra, the expansion of commercial plantations led to a tenure reform under which communities manage state forest areas. As in Peru, overlapping claims are a source of conflict in both places.

Positive visions of the future included consistent and transparent policies, government support for communities and respect for customary rights, and a greater role for women in managing forest resources. Negative scenarios included unclear policies, forest degradation, inadequate budgets, poor coordination, and lack of collaborative forest management.

In Uganda, workshops were held in three regions: Lamwo, where forests are managed through customary, clan-based institutions; Masindi, with a mix of private, government-managed, and communal forests; and Kibaale, where most forests are on private land.

Positive scenarios stressed the importance of collaboration between government and communities, trained government staff, adequate funding, available information, and highly participatory policy development. Negative visions of the future were characterized by corruption, lack of government support and funding, unclear policies, political favouritism, and lack of community participation in forest management. The published study includes a model of factors that influence security.

The scenarios clearly show that for forest dwellers, legal rights are only one aspect of tenure security, Larson said. Government officials and others must also listen to communities’ needs and help them bring their visions of the future to fruition, taking into account the different factors that make that possible in each place.

“Our research findings suggest that communities’ visions of a positive future depend on factors besides titles, especially community governance, the role of the state and the relationship between communities and the state,” she added. “A title will only bring security if other conditions are in place, and although those conditions have some general characteristics, such as organized communities, they also are specific to a place’s context and history.”

What does this mean for scholars and practitioners of community and Indigenous land rights? “It means deeper engagement with Indigenous Peoples and local communities,” she said, “as well as the importance of listening to peoples’ needs and visions for the future, supporting their self-determination to act on these and fostering the enabling conditions in each specific context.”

The Global Comparative Study on Forest Tenure Reform, carried out by the Center for International Forestry (CIFOR), was funded by the European Commission and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), with technical support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

This study was part of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM), led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and the CGIAR Research Program on Forest, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which was led by CIFOR.


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Strategi Pengembangan Geopark Tambora sebagai Ikon Ekowisata Pulau Sumbawa | Center for International Forestry Research

Strategi Pengembangan Geopark Tambora sebagai Ikon Ekowisata Pulau Sumbawa

Wawancara bersama General Manager Geopark Tambora, Hadi Santoso
, Tuesday, 14 Sep 2021

Geopark atau Taman Bumi Tambora merupakan Geopark Nasional di Pulau Sumbawa yang memiliki banyak keunikan meliputi aspek geologi, arkeologi, ekologi, sosial, dan budaya dengan melibatkan masyarakat setempat untuk turut berperan dalam melindungi dan meningkatkan fungsi warisan alam yang sangat berharga. Kawasan Geopark Tambora melingkupi Kabupaten Bima dan Kabupaten Dompu yang ditetapkan pada tanggal 20 November 2017 oleh Komite Nasional Geopark Indonesia.

Secara umum, Geopark Tambora didominasi oleh Gunung Api Tambora yang merupakan gunung api aktif, dengan ketinggian ±2.851 mdpl dengan diameter kaldera sekitar ±7 km. Adapun bentang alam kawasan Geopark Tambora dicirikan oleh morfologi gunung api Kuarter-Resen di bagian tengah kawasan, dan disepanjang pesisir termasuk dalam morfologi dataran. Eksistensi Geopark Tambora sebagai salah satu ikon penting ekowisata berbasis bentang alam di Pulau Sumbawa tentunya memerlukan strategi pengelolaan terintegrasi dengan melibatkan banyak pihak.

Peneliti Kanoppi-CIFOR, Ani Adiwinata mewawancara General Manager Geopark Tambora, Ir. Hadi Santoso, ST., MM., IPM. membahas strategi pengembangan Geopark Tambora sebagai ikon ekowisata di Pulau Sumbawa.

T: Bagaimana strategi pengembangan Geopark Tambora sebagai ikon Pulau Sumbawa untuk mendorong ekowisata yang berbasis bentang alam terintegrasi dan sesuai daya dukung ekologi?

J: Jadi geopark ini secara dunia punya moto melestarikan warisan bumi dan menyejahterakan masyarakat. Sehingga dari moto itu kemudian di-breakdown menjadi visi bersama yang intinya adalah bicara tentang tiga aspek yaitu konservasi, edukasi, dan pembangunan ekonomi berkelanjutan.

Dari tiga aspek tadi kemudian kita juga breakdown menjadi misi, jadi visi kita di situ yaitu konservasi, edukasi, dan pembangunan ekonomi berkelanjutan, kita breakdown kepada misi kita yang intinya adalah satu bagaimana kita meningkatkan kualitas dan kuantitas event yang ada di lingkar Tambora. Sehingga saat ini orang baru mengenal Festival Geopark Tambora atau Festival Pesona Tambora, atau Tambora Menyapa Dunia.

Kita ingin event itu lebih banyak lagi dan kualitasnya juga semakin baik. Kalau dulu kita bicara Tambora Menyapa Dunia, kenapa kita tidak berpikir dunia yang menyapa Tambora. Menjadikan dunia menyapa Tambora ini bukan persoalan yang gampang karena kita harus punya magnet yang cukup kuat untuk menyebabkan itu, untuk membangun hal itu.

Maka kita kemudian meningkatkan kualitas event, kemudian yang kedua adalah meningkatkan promosi kita, jadi kita harus bisa betul-betul membangun brand yang benar dan besar.

Kemudian yang paling terpenting juga kita membangun kolaborasi dan sinergi antar semua pihak dengan konsep pentahelix, alhamdulillah kita sudah bikin MoU dengan perguruan tinggi se-Pulau Sumbawa, karena kami basisnya memang di Pulau Sumbawa.

Kemudian kita juga sudah MoU dengan beberapa perusahaan-perusahaan yang memang concern di bidang konservasi dan pemberdayaan masyarakat, misalnya dengan PT. Amar Sasambo Internasional yang fokus di walet.

Kita juga berharap nanti ke depannya juga bekerja dengan CIFOR untuk konservasi, pemberdayaan madu trigona, kemudian kopi yang kita juga akan bekerja sama dengan hal itu. Kemudian juga dengan sektor media massa kita juga alhamdulillah sudah terjalin dengan baik, baik dari segi media massa lokal, regional maupun nasional.

Kemudian juga fokus kita kedepan bagaimana sebenarnya output atau outcome kita itu mengurangi angka kemiskinan di lingkar hutan, karena hutan ini areal kemiskinan terbesar, itu ada di lingkar hutan. Itu tidak akan bisa kita menghambat laju kerusakan hutan dan konservasi ekosistem kalau masyarakat lingkar hutan yang memang notabennya ini kurang sejahtera, tidak kita sentuh dengan kesejahteraan, misalnya dengan membangun industri-industri berbasis produk-produk kehutanan.

Kemudian yang kedua kita juga fokus pada bagaimana melakukan industrialisasi di sebanyak mungkin sektor-sektor UMKM yang ada di lingkar Tambora dan Pulau Sumbawa pada umumnya, tanpa industrialisasi nilai produk tidak akan naik.

Kita ingin orang tidak fokus lagi pada penjualan bahan baku, tetapi bagaimana produk olahan. Madu kalau hanya sekadar madu yang masih kosongan tanpa labelling, tanpa peningkatan kualitas, tanpa pengurangan kadar air dan lain-lain itu akan membuat harganya tetap rendah. Konsep industrialisasi kepada bidang-bidang yang di sana juga kita akan tingkatkan.

Kemudian yang ketiga kita juga ingin alhamdulillah kemarin sudah ada kita ingin bekerja sama, sudah kita sounding, kita resmi meminta kepada LPP NTB yang merupakan lembaga pendidikan NTB untuk kita bagaimana meningkatkan IPM (Indeks Pembangunan Manusia), jadi masyarakat di lingkar Tambora yang kita dorong nanti untuk kuliah ke luar negeri lewat bantuan dari LPP NTB termasuk beasiswa NTB, sehingga kualitas sumber daya naik otomatis hal yang lain juga akan naik.

T: Tantangan dalam memastikan ekowisata yang berbasis bentang alam terintegrasi dan sesuai daya dukung secara ekologi?

J: Saat ini di mana kita targetnya adalah perluasan deliniasi hingga se-Pulau Sumbawa, karena di sana ada dua suku utama yaitu Bojo dan Samawa. Kemudian juga ada pemerintahan yang terpisah dengan jarak yang cukup jauh, maka komunikasi menjadi persoalan yang perlu kita perkuat antar semua stakeholder, baik itu pemerintah daerah lima kota dan kabupaten tadi.

Di dalamnya juga ada taman nasional, di dalamnya ada juga pemerintah desa, di dalamnya juga ada Balai KSDA dan yang lainnya. Maka tantangan terbesar kami adalah bagaimana menjahit, mengkolaborasikan semua komponen yang ada ini, dan ini tentu tidak gampang karena masing-masing punya wilayah domain kekuasaan, mereka masing-masing juga punya kepentingan sehingga mempertemukan kepentingan bersama itu menjadi penting.

Tetapi bagi kami selagi Geopark Tambora ini terus kita dorong fungsi maupun manfaatnya pada masyarakat, yang kemudian dikenal secara dunia dan mendunia, saya pikir semua orang akan berpihak untuk satu visi yang besar, asal kita tidak memasukkan pada visi-visi kecil parsial karena itu akan menjadi wilayah domain orang lain.

Tetapi ketika kita bicara Geopark Tambora ini bagaimana mendunia dan besar menjadi UNESCO Global Geopark dan yang lainnya, yang kemudian menjadi magnet yang begitu besar ke domestik maupun mancanegara, saya kira kami akan bersatu di situ, kita akan menemukan titik persatuan dari semua itu.

Yang kedua bagaimanapun kami dihimpit tanda kutip oleh daerah-daerah wisata yang bagus, yang besar yaitu Bali, Lombok, walaupun Lombok ini sama-sama NTB kita akui bahwa Lombok jauh lebih maju pariwisatanya dibandingkan Pulau Sumbawa, jadi Bali, Lombok, Labuan Bajo.

Jadi udah satu pulau yang unik itu, dilompati, jadi kalau dari timur ada Labuan Bajo, di baratnya ada Lombok dan Bali, kenapa satu pulau ini harus dilompati? padahal destinasinya tidak kalah indah dan tidak kalah luar biasa.

Maka kami bisa melihat bahwa satu masalah utama kami adalah masalah attitude, masalah sikap, bagaimana masyarakat aware dengan pariwisata, bagaimana keramahan itu dibangun, bagaimana hospitality atau kesopanansantunan Pulau Sumbawa kami ini harus dibangun.

Ya kalau saya pikir bicara objektif berita di Pulau Sumbawa, Bima, Dompu itu lebih banyak yang naik yang berbau “masih seram-seram”, yang bau indah-indah, romantis, dan cinta itu kurang nah itu yang harus kami dorong juga kedepannya.

Kanoppi merupakan kegiatan penelitian aksi partisipatif untuk “Mengembangkan dan mempromosikan agroforestri berbasis pasar dan pengelolaan lanskap terintegrasi untuk mendorong pengembangan usaha kehutanan skala kecil berbasis masyarakat di Indonesia”. Didukung Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) dan melibatkan Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) berkerjasama dengan World Agroforestry (ICRAF) dan mitra terkait. 

Di Provinsi Nusa Tenggara Barat, penelitian difokuskan di Kabupaten Sumbawa, khususnya di Desa Batudulang dan Desa Pelat. Penelitian ini bekerja sama dengan Dinas Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan Provinsi Nusa Tenggara Barat, Balai Kesatuan Pengelolaan Hutan Produksi (BKPHP) Batulanteh, Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan, Penelitian dan Pengembangan Daerah (Bappeda) Kabupaten Sumbawa, WWF (World wide fund for nature) Indonesia, Universitas Mataram, dan Badan Penelitian, Pengembangan dan Teknologi Hasil Hutan Bukan Kayu (Litbang HHBK), Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan.

For more information on this topic, please contact Ani Adiwinata at
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