Indonesian President Bestowed the Decree on Customary Forests in Sarolangun District

Today, the management of customary forest in Sarolangun heads to Jakarta to receive the decree on Customary Forest from The President of Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo which would be held in Istana Negara (State Palace) tomorrow (19/9). Some of them are from Meribung Village Customary Forest Management, who would have been receiving the decree no.  5775/MENLHK-PSKL/PKTHA/PS.1/9/2018 over 617 ha, Penghulu Lareh in Desa Temalang Customary Forest on decree no. 5774/MENLHK-PSKL/PKTHA/PS.1/9/2018 over 240 ha, Rio Peniti Lubuk Bedorong Customary Forest on decree no. 5776/MENLHK-PSKL/PKTHA/PS.1/9/2018 over 240 ha, Imbo Pseko Customary Foret in Napal Melintang Village on decree no. 5773/MENLHK-PSKL/PKTHA/PS.1/9/2018 over 83 ha, Datuk Mantari Sakti Customary Forest in Mersip Village on decree no. 5772/MENLHK-PSKL/PKTHA/PS.1/9/2018 over 78 ha.  This management will be joining the other customary forest managements in Kerinci, Bungo, West Kalimantan, West Java and South Sulawesi Provinces. There is total 6,032.50 ha of Customary Forest Area stated by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of 16 management groups.

“Warsi appreciates each step the government had taken in customary forest management process. The handover of the decree on customary forest by the president is a form of serious commitment towards the forest management conducted by customary forest,” said Adi Junedi, the deputy director of Indonesian Conservation Community (KKI) WARSI.

However, he added, the customary forest appointment for the local community, should be run faster than what we have been doing at the moment, so it could role in agrarian reformation and social forestry, as well as solving any issues in area management. “Yet, since 2016, the customary forest appointment is mostly within in non-forest state which means the authority is on the community not on the forest area. Therefore, the customary forest appointment ran not optimal yet especially as one instrument of conflict resolution on forest management.” Said Adi Junedi.

In addition, WARSI recorded that the community has already focused on forest management. It should refer to the regulation on ministry of environment and forestry no. 32 year 2015 on forest right, the government must create a construction as well as providing an indemnification to the community managing their forest for the sake of conservation. “what is working out nowadays is the construction at customary forest appointment is not too strong,” said Adi Junedi.


All the customary forest area and imbo larangan in Sarolangun District, particularly in Bukit Bulan aimed at conservation conducted by the local community to protect the upstream river and ecosystem. “we do hope that, by directly meeting the president, the locals’ attempt to maintain and protect their forest got better appreciation, in order to have forest management benefitted and improve the local welfare,” said Adi Junedi.

Abdul Hamid, the head of natural resource management of Meribung Village Forest elaborated that the customary forest verified by the MoEF is the heritage from our great ancestors thus which definitely should be protected. “it was once the Rimbo Larangan, which we really do protect as it provides the water resource within the forest,” said Hamid.

Furthermore, he also elaborated the community has agreed upon the forest protection which the Regent of Sarolangun have verified since last 2010 and now was strengthened officially by the ministry of environment and forestry. “this decree strengthens us to protect this area, as it is indeed a place prohibited to cultivated by, we are indeed in a high commitment to protect this area yet, still, there are a handful of people of other area trying to enter and cultivate this area leading to adverse impact for our forest,” said Abdul Hamid.

In line with Hamid’s statement above, the head of forest resources management institute, Mr. Zawawi asserted over the Customary Forest in Lubuk Bedorong Village that geographically, this village borders with another hill of its neighbor sub-district. “There is some equipment trying to enter and mining the gold within the village forest next to our customary forest which the MoEF had verified, “said Zawawi.

Zawawi stated that the local community has a strict regulation to manage their forest. the village forest can only be utilized for its products such as bamboo, rattan, wild honey, and other non-timber forest products available many within the village forest. Meanwhile, the customary forest may be utilized to collect the timber (if needed) to build locals’ houses, it even entered into force only after the local regulation issued through discussion.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kodri, the head of forest resource management in Napal Melintang stated that the locals have long utilized the water resource in the customary and village forests for their irrigation system and micro hydro power plant. The furthers village in Sarolangun District bordering with South Sumatera has not got any electricity yet from the state. “we are utilizing the available resources for the light,” said Kodri.

The Micro Hydro Power Plant revitalized since 2007 was taking the water from both village and customary forests and was capable of lighting 187 households in this village. “As we know how huge the benefit of the forest is so we keep it very well. A province next to us ever caught encroaching and opening the farming within our customary forest, so we and the head of our village are looking for the relevant individual in charge of this, we describe everything related to customary forest as well as its regulation, fortunately, they grasp it and being fined with one goat, 100 bushels of rice, and money for IDR 2 million, it costs totally ID 5 million. They paid the money and all the money was put into forest management cash budget,” said Kodri.

Each customary forest management group has already agreed upon the forest management objecting all the regulation the communities have agreed and got fined if only they break any of the laws or rules. “you can take the timbers or woods within the forest not more than 5 cubic in a year and should only use this to build the houses and other facilities in the village. You can not sell it. That is the way we make our rule over the customary forest. we are very grateful for the verification by the MoEF and decree given by the President, this way increases our motivation to keep our customary forest.” Kodri added.

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