What is success? Gaps and trade-offs in assessing the performance of traditional social forestry systems in Indonesia

Indah Waty Bong, Moira Moeliono, Grace Yee Wong, Maria Brockhaus


Despite the growing interest in social forestry (SF), how much do we understand the social, economic and environmental outcomes and the conditions that enable SF to perform? In this article, we use a content analysis of literature on existing traditional SF practiced throughout Indonesia. It examines the outcomes of these systems and the conditions that enabled or hindered these outcomes to understand possible causal relations and changing dynamics between these conditions and SF performance. We discuss the gaps in how SF is assessed and understood in the literature to understand the important aspects of traditional SF that are not captured or that are lost when the diverse traditional systems are converted into other land uses. It aims to understand the potential trade-offs in the State’s push for formalizing SF if these aspects continue to be ignored.


Traditional social forestry; Indonesia; outcomes; assessment; enabling conditions; gaps and trade-offs

Full Text:



Agarwal, B. (1997). Environmental action, gender equity and women's participation. Development and change, 28(1), 1-44.doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-7660.00033.

Agarwal, B. (2001). Participatory exclusions, community forestry, and gender: An analysis for South Asia and a conceptual framework. World development, 29(10), 1623-1648. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/s0305-750x(01)00066-3.

Agarwal, B. (2009). Gender and forest conservation: The impact of women's participation in community forest governance. Ecological economics, 68 (11), 2785-2799. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.04.025.

Agrawal, A., & Chhatre, A. (2006). Explaining success on the commons: Community forest governance in the Indian Himalaya. World Development, 34(1), 149-166.doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2005.07.013.

Baland, J.-M., Platteau, J.-P. (1999). The ambiguous impact of inequality on local resource management. World development 27 (5), 773-788. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/s0305-750x(99)00026-1.

Brodbeck, F., Hapla, F., Mitlöhner, R. (2003). Traditional forest gardens as “safety net” for rural households in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. In Conference on: Rural Livelihoods, Forests and Biodiversity, Bonn, CIFOR.

Brosius, J.P., Tsing, A.L., Zerner, C. (1998). Representing communities: Histories and politics of community‐based natural resource management. Society & Natural Resources, 11(2), 157-168 doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/08941929809381069.

Budidarsono, S., Arifatmi, B., de Foresta, H., Tomich, T.P. (2000). Damar agroforest establishment and sources of livelihood a profitability assessment of damar agroforest system in Krui, Lampung, Sumatra, Indonesia. Southeast Asia policy Research Working Paper, (17).

Chen, B., Nakama, Y., Yogi, T., Ichwandi, I. (2010). Agroforestry by Baduy Community in Banten province, Indonesia. 琉球大学農学部学術報告, 17-30.

Christanty, L. (1989). Analysis of the sustainability and management of the talun-kebun system of West Java, Indonesia (Doctoral dissertation, University of British Columbia).

Colfer, C.J.P., Daro Minarchek, R., Cairns, M., Aier, A., Doolittle, A., Mashman, V., Odame, H.H., Roberts, M., Robinson, K., Van Esterik, P. (2015). Gender analysis: Shifting cultivation and indigenous people, In Shifting Cultivation and Environmental Change: Indigenous people, agriculture and forest conservation. Routledge.

Dale, V.H., Joyce, L.A., McNulty, S., Neilson, R.P., Ayres, M.P., Flannigan, M.D., Hanson, P.J., Irland, L.C., Lugo, A.E., Peterson, C.J. (2001). Climate change and forest disturbances: climate change can affect forests by altering the frequency, intensity, duration, and timing of fire, drought, introduced species, insect and pathogen outbreaks, hurricanes, windstorms, ice storms, or landslides. AIBS Bulletin, 51(9), 723-734.

De Foresta, H., Michon, G., Kusworo, A., Levang, P. (2004). Damar agroforests in Sumatra, Indonesia: domestication of a forest ecosystem through domestication of dipterocarps for resin production, In: Forest products, livelihoods and conservation: case studies of non-timber forest product systems. volume 1-Asia. CIFOR, Bogor, Indonesia.

De Royer, S., Van Noordwijk, M., Roshetko, J. (2018). Does community-based forest management in Indonesia devolve social justice or social costs? International Forestry Review, 20(2), 167-180. doi: https://doi.org/10.1505/146554818823767609

Dove, M.R. (1993). A revisionist view of tropical deforestation and development. Environmental conservation 20(1), 17-24. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/s0376892900037188.

Fisher, M., Moeliono, M., Mulyana, A., Yuliani, E., Adriadi, A., Judda, J., Sahide, M. (2018). Assessing the new social forestry project in Indonesia: recognition, livelihood and conservation? International Forestry Review, 20(3), 346-361. doi: https://doi.org/10.1505/146554818824063014.

Fisher, R.J. (1995). Collaborative management of forests for conservation and development. IUCN Gland, Switzerland.

Gönner, C., Seeland, K. (2002). A close-to-nature forest economy adapted to a wider world: a case study of local forest management strategies in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Journal of Sustainable Forestry, 15(4), 1-26. doi: https://doi.org/10.1300/j091v15n04_01.

Gritten, D., Greijmans, M., Lewis, S., Sokchea, T., Atkinson, J., Quang, T., Poudyal, B., Chapagain, B., Sapkota, L., Mohns, B. (2015). An uneven playing field: regulatory barriers to communities making a living from the timber from their forests–examples from Cambodia, Nepal and Vietnam. Forests, 6(10), 3433-3451. doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/f6103433.

Hariyadi, B. (2008). The entwined tree: Traditional natural resource management of Serampas, Jambi, Indonesia. University of Hawai'i, Honolulu.

Hendarti, L., Yeo-Chang, Y. (2008). Traditional knowledge on forest resource management by Kasepuhan people in the upland area of West Java, Indonesia. IUFRO World Series, 21, 73.

Hendra, M., Guhardja, E., Setiadi, D., Walujo, E.B., Purwanto, Y. (2009). Cultivation practices and knowledge of local rice varieties among Benuaq farmers in Muara Lawa District West Kutai, East Kalimantan-Indonesia. Biodiversitas, 10(2), 98-103.

Hijjang, P. (2014). Pasang dan Kepemimpinan Ammatoa: Memahami Kembali Sistem Kepemimpinan Tradisional Masyarakat Adat dalam Pengelolaan Sumberdaya Hutan di Kajang Sulawesi Selatan. Antropologi Indonesia, 29(3), 255-268. doi: https://doi.org/10.7454/ai.v29i3.3545.

Ichwandi, I., Shinohara, T. (2007). Indigenous practices for use of and managing tropical natural resources: A case study on Baduy community in Banten, Indonesia. Tropics, 16(2), 87-102. doi: https://doi.org/10.3759/tropics.16.87.

Joshi, L., Wijaya, K., Sirait, M., Mulyoutami, E. (2004). Indigenous systems and ecological knowledge among Dayak people in Kutai Barat, East Kalimantan–a preliminary report. ICRAF Southeast Asia Working People.

Kamoto, J., Clarkson, G., Dorward, P., & Shepherd, D. (2013). Doing more harm than good? Community based natural resource management and the neglect of local institutions in policy development. Land Use Policy, 35, 293-301. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2013.06.002.

Larson, A.M., Barry, D., Dahal, G.R. (2010). Forests for people: Community rights and forest tenure reform. Earthscan. doi: https://doi.org/10.2989/20702620.2010.507467.

Larson, A.M., Ribot, J.C. (2007). The poverty of forestry policy: double standards on an uneven playing field. Sustainability science, 2(2), 189-204. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-007-0030-0.

Li, T.M. (1999). Marginality, power, and production: Analysing upland transformations. Transforming the Indonesian uplands, 1-44.

Lubis, Z. (1997). Repong Damar: Kajian tentang pengambilan keputusan dalam pengelolaan lahan hutan di Pesisir Krui, Lampung Barat. CIFOR, Bogor, Indonesia. doi: https://doi.org/10.17528/cifor/000080.

Lynam, T., De Jong, W., Sheil, D., Kusumanto, T., Evans, K. (2007). A review of tools for incorporating community knowledge, preferences, and values into decision making in natural resources management. Ecology and society, 12(1), 5. doi: https://doi.org/10.5751/es-01987-120105.

Marjokorpi, A., & Ruokolainen, K. (2003). The role of traditional forest gardens in the conservation of tree species in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Biodiversity & Conservation, 12(4), 799-822.

Maryudi, A., Devkota, R.R., Schusser, C., Yufanyi, C., Salla, M., Aurenhammer, H., Rotchanaphatharawit, R., Krott, M. (2012). Back to basics: Considerations in evaluating the outcomes of community forestry. Forest Policy and Economics 14(1), 1-5. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2011.07.017.

Maskey, V., Gebremedhin, T.G., Dalton, T.J. (2006). Social and cultural determinants of collective management of community forest in Nepal. Journal of forest economics, 11(4), 261-274. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfe.2005.10.004.

McWilliam, A. (2001). Prospects for the sacred grove: Valuing lulic forests on Timor. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 2(2), 89-113. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14442210110001706125.

Mendoza, G., Prabhu, R. (2004). Fuzzy methods for assessing criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management. Ecological Indicators, 3(4), 227-236. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2003.08.001.

Mendoza, G. A., & Martins, H. (2006). Multi-criteria decision analysis in natural resource management: a critical review of methods and new modelling paradigms. Forest ecology and management, 230(1-3), 1-22.doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2006.03.023.

Mendoza, G. A., & Prabhu, R. (2000). Development of a methodology for selecting criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management: a case study on participatory assessment. Environmental management, 26(6), 659-673. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s002670010123.

Mendoza, G. A., & Prabhu, R. (2003). Qualitative multi-criteria approaches to assessing indicators of sustainable forest resource management. Forest ecology and management, 174(1-3), 329-343.doi. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0378-1127(02)00044-0.

Mendoza, G. A., & Prabhu, R. (2005). Combining participatory modeling and multi-criteria analysis for community-based forest management. Forest Ecology and Management, 207(1-2), 145-156..doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2004.10.024.

Mertz, O., Leisz, S.J., Heinimann, A., Rerkasem, K., Dressler, W., Pham, V.C., Vu, K.C., Schmidt-Vogt, D., Colfer, C.J., Epprecht, M. (2009). Who counts? Demography of swidden cultivators in Southeast Asia. Human Ecology, 37(3), 281-289. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-009-9249-y.

Mertz, O., Wadley, R.L., Christensen, A.E. (2005). Local land use strategies in a globalizing world: Subsistence farming, cash crops and income diversification. Agricultural systems, 85(3), 209-215. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2005.06.007.

Millang, S. (2010). Struktur, Komposisi, dan Pemilihan Jenis Komponen Sistem Agroforestry Di Desa Makuang, Kabupaten Mamasa. Universitas Hasanuddin, Makassar

Millar, C. I., Stephenson, N. L., & Stephens, S. L. (2007). Climate change and forests of the future: managing in the face of uncertainty. Ecological applications, 17(8), 2145-2151. doi: https://doi.org/10.1890/06-1715.1.

Mizuno, K., Mugniesyah, S. S., Herianto, A. S., & Tsujii, H. (2013). Talun-huma, swidden agriculture, and rural economy in West Java, Indonesia. Southeast Asian Studies, 2(2), 351-381.doi: https://doi.org/10.20495/seas.2.2_351

Moeliono, M., Thuy, P.T., Waty Bong, I., Wong, G.Y., Brockhaus, M. (2017). Social Forestry-why and for whom? A comparison of policies in Vietnam and Indonesia. Forest and Society, 1(2), 78-97. doi: https://doi.org/10.24259/fs.v1i2.2484.

Myers, R., Intarini, D., Sirait, M.T., Maryudi, A. (2017). Claiming the forest: Inclusions and exclusions under Indonesia's ‘new’forest policies on customary forests. Land Use Policy, 66, 205-213. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2017.04.039.

Nanang, M., & Inoue, M. (2000). Local forest management in Indonesia: a contradiction between national forest policy and reality. International Review for Environmental Strategies, 1(1), 175-191.

Newman, L., Dale, A. (2005). The role of agency in sustainable local community development. Local environment, 10(5), 477-486. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/13549830500203121.

Njurumana, G.N., Hidayatullah, M., Butarbutar, T. (2008). Kondisi Tanah pada Sistem Kaliwu dan Mamar di Timor dan Sumba. Info Hutan, 5, 45-51.

Pagdee, A., Kim, Y.-s., Daugherty, P. (2006). What makes community forest management successful: a meta-study from community forests throughout the world. Society and Natural Resources, 19(1), 33-52. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/08941920500323260.

Parikesit, Takeuchi, K., Tsunekawa, A., Abdoellah, O. (2005). Kebon tatangkalan: a disappearing agroforest in the Upper Citarum Watershed, West Java, Indonesia. Agroforestry systems, 63(2), 171-182. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/bf01846828.

Pattinama, M.M.J., Nanere, M.G., Nsubuga-Kyobe, A. (2008). The Ethnobotany Of Traditional Agriculture And Agroforestry System Of The Geba Bupolo, Buru Island, Maluku, Indonesia.

Peluso, N.L., Padoch, C. (1996). Changing resource rights in managed forests of West Kalimantan. Borneo in transition: people, conservation, and development, 121-136.

Peluso, N. L., Vandergeest, P., & Potter, L. (1995). Social aspects of forestry in Southeast Asia: a review of postwar trends in the scholarly literature. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 26(1), 196-218.doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/s0022463400010584.

Pham, T., Moeliono, M., Wong, G., Brockhaus, M., Le, N. (2018). The politics of swidden: A case study from Nghe An and Son La in Vietnam. Land Use Policy, In Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2017.10.057.

Pokharel, R. K., & Larsen, H. O. (2007). Local vs official criteria and indicators for evaluating community forest management. Forestry, 80(2), 183-192. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/forestry/cpm005.

Rahu, A. A., Hidayat, K., Ariyadi, M., & Hakim, L. (2014). Management of Kaleka (traditional gardens) in Dayak community in Kapuas, Central Kalimantan. International Journal of Science and Research, 3(3), 205-210.

Rufinus (2011). Hutan Adat Tomawakang Ompuk Sanjan Menanti

Pengakuan, In Kehutanan Masyarakat: Pengalaman dari Lapangan. FKKM, Bogor, pp. 29-44.

Sahide, M. A. K., Supratman, S., Maryudi, A., Kim, Y. S., & Giessen, L. (2016). Decentralisation policy as recentralisation strategy: forest management units and community forestry in Indonesia. International Forestry Review, 18(1), 78-95.doi: https://doi.org/10.1505/146554816818206168.

Setyawan, A. D. (2010). Biodiversity conservation strategy in a native perspective; case study of shifting cultivation at the Dayaks of Kalimantan. Nusantara Bioscience, 2(2), 97-108. doi: https://doi.org/10.13057/nusbiosci/n020208.

Sherry, E., Halseth, R., Fondahl, G., Karjala, M., & Leon, B. (2005). Local-level criteria and indicators: an Aboriginal perspective on sustainable forest management. Forestry, 78(5), 513-539. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/forestry/cpi048.

Suharianto (2007). Penerapan Hukum Adat Dalam Pengelolaan Sistem Agroforestri Parak (Studi Kasus di Kanagarian Koto Malintang Kecamatan Tanjung Raya, Jabupaten Agam Propinsi Sumatera Barat). Universitas Sumatera Utara, Medan.

Syaifuddin, Ibrahim, A., Hadi, S. (2012). Usulan Pengakuan Hutan Mukim di Aceh, Sebuah Pengalaman Praktis, In Kehutanan Masyarakat: Pengalaman dari Lapangan. FKKM, Bogor, pp. 45-64.

Takandewa, Y. (2012). Mutiara Hijau di Bumi Cendana, Pengelolaan Hutan Adat di Timor Tengah Selatan, In Kehutanan Masyarakat: Pengalaman dari Lapangan. FKKM, Bogor, pp. 3-28.

Taylor, P. L. (2000). Producing more with less? Community forestry in Durango, Mexico in an era of trade liberalization. Rural Sociology, 65(2), 253-274. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1549-0831.2000.tb00028.x.

Thaler, G. M., & Anandi, C. A. M. (2017). Shifting cultivation, contentious land change and forest governance: the politics of swidden in East Kalimantan. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 44(5), 1066-1087. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/03066150.2016.1243531.

Torpey-Saboe, N., Andersson, K., Mwangi, E., Persha, L., Salk, C., & Wright, G. (2015). Benefit sharing among local resource users: the role of property rights. World Development, 72, 408-418.doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2015.03.005.

Wiersum, K. (2004). Social and community forestry, In: Encyclopedia of forest sciences. Elsevier, pp. 1136-1143. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/b0-12-145160-7/00118-6.

Wiersum, K. F. (1997). Indigenous exploitation and management of tropical forest resources: an evolutionary continuum in forest-people interactions. Agriculture, ecosystems & environment, 63(1), 1-16.doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/s0167-8809(96)01124-3.

Wollenberg, E. (1998). A conceptual framework and typology for explaining the outcomes of local forest management. Journal of World Forest Resource Management, 9(1), 1-35.

Workman, T., Fischer, M., Mulyana, A., Moeliono, M., Yuliani, L. 2015. Keluar dari sarang singa, masuk ke mulut buaya?: Pelajaran dari mengembangkan kebijakan hutan adat di Bulukumba. World Agroforestry Centre-ICRAF Southeast Asia Regional Office, Bogor, Indonesia

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24259/fs.v3i1.5184


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Forest and Society is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

View My Stats

Forest and Society has been indexed/registered/mentioned in : 


View full indexing services