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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Component

SummaryAfter the fall of Suharto, forest governance in Indonesia changed substantially. This variable refers to this new, changed forest governance system.
SubtypeFormal Governance System
Begin Date1998
ExplanationThis governance system began after the fall of Suharto's dictatorship in 1998.
End Date2012
ExplanationAlthough the system was still in effect at the time of final coding (2014), it was being gradually transformed by the evolving REDD+ regime in Indonesia, and the implications of this are not yet clear, thus we chose to focus on the period ending in 2012
Governance ScaleState-based policy
ExplanationThis is a nation-state, with state-based policy (i.e. governing forests within the country of Indonesia)
Governance System DescriptionIn 1998, power over forest management in Indonesia was reorganized as part of a broader process of democratization that followed the overthrow of Suharto. The resulting governance system was a complicated and multi-tiered system. Some authority to manage forests remained with the central government, which had authority over wildlife sanctuaries, the hiring of forest officials, and the granting of some forms of concessions (primarily large concessions). Authority over granting smaller concessions, as well as making decisions about other aspects of forests, were granted to District Authorities (the 3rd tier of government, after provinces which were granted little authority in the decentralization out of fear that they would encourage regional separatist movements). In addition, formal laws recognized the authority of traditional ("Adat") customary law, although this statute was left vague, and in practice higher level governments ignored adat laws (for example, by granting concessions for timber harvest, mining, or conversion to plantation agriculture (primarily oil palm). In 2004 a new forestry law shifted authority away from the district goverments and back towards the national forest authority, but de jure governance remained contested between these authorities.
Governance TriggerSudden disturbance
ExplanationThis governance system originated in the overthrow of a dictator (Suharto) who himself was overthrown as a result of an economic crisis, the ensuing social mobilizations, as well as a distancing between Suharto and previously supportive oligarchs.
Type Of Formal GovernanceSystem of laws
ExplanationThis is a system of laws governing forest management.
CentralizationSomewhat decentralized (2)
ExplanationAfter the fall of Suharto, the government of Indonesia has undergone various changes related to decentralization, both political and administrative. Competitive legislative elections began in 1999, marking the beginning of a multi-party political system with a less powerful central presidency. In 2001, the government began a devolution of power to the regions through decentralization and regional autonomy. Pepinsy (2012) argues that since then, "Indonesian politics ceased to be “about” Reformasi (despite the continued ubiquity of the term in political speech) and started being “about” the division of political authority in the center versus the regions, in contrast to the steep hierarchy with Jakarta at the top and the regions at the bottom." Although this program was not complete, and was also partially rolled back after 2004, it nonetheless shifted significant powers from central to relatively more local actors (provinces and districts). In some cases, local communities with proof of ownership have obtained the rights of management, and in some regions such as East Kalimantan are permitting communities to manage small-scale forest areas in cooperatives. Moreover, in some national protected areas there have been pilot collaborative governance arrangements with communities. However, overall most communities still have very little say in forest management. On the other hand, the new, more independent court system has also been an important venue for channeling local claims over forest rights, although to date decisions have not favored decentralization. For instance, the Dayak used the court system to ask for the withdrawal of concessions in West Kalimantan and seek retributions from loss of timber benefits, and environmental and cultural damages from these concessions; many villagers have brought this type of challenge during the Reformasi (Potter, 2009). For more details on this partial decentralization, see e.g. Ardiansyah & Jotzo (2013), Arnold (2008), McCarthy (2004).