ABSTRACT

In 1998, the Indonesian parliament mandated the government to implement agrarian reforms and to improve natural resource management (Parliamentary Decree IX, 1998). With this decision, land and resource rights became part of the national agenda. Progress has been slow, however, especially with regard to forestlands. Although the Indonesian Constitution recognizes indigenous rights, and Decree IX mandates the government to redistribute land, implementation has been difficult and slow. The Ministry of Forestry issued several regulations recognizing different levels of rights. 1 Not only local communities demand rights to forestland. Other actors, such as private business, often compete with local communities over rights to land and resources. Moreover, with decentralization, local autonomous governments demand control over forestlands in their area. As a result, multiple claims to the same resource have muddled the issue of rights, while rights themselves have become fuzzy due to the mobility of local people.