Published: 2019-04-23

Bridging social forestry and forest management units: Juxtaposing policy imaginaries with implementation practices in a case from Sulawesi

Doctoral Student at Graduate Program at UniversitasHasanuddin (UNHAS), Makassar, Indonesia/Production Forest Management Agency Regional XIII Makassar, Directorate General of Sustainable Management of Production Forest, Ministry of Environment and Forestry
Laboratory on Forest Policy and Entrepreneurship, Faculty of Forestry, Universitas Hasanuddin (UNHAS), Makassar, Indonesia

Supratman Supratman

Scopus Author ID: 56122207300
Department of Social Economics, Faculty of Agriculture Hasanuddin University (UNHAS), Makassar, Indonesia

Darmawan Salman

Scopus Author ID: 55614228900
Laboratory on Forest Policy and Entrepreneurship, Faculty of Forestry, Universitas Hasanuddin (UNHAS), Makassar, Indonesia

Yusran Yusran

Scopus Author ID: 57194753658
Forest Management Units (FMU) Social Forestry bureaucratic politics


As the priority forestry development programs in Indonesia in recent years, Social Forestry policies (SF) and Forest Management Units (FMU or KPH) still indicate low performance. The SF program in particular, is dependent on the role of the KPH as an institution in realizing its expected goals. Using the theory of bureaucratic politics, this article presents the implementation of the SF program under the KPH system and how both programs can mutually support or inhibit the development of the other. The research was conducted using policy content analysis in the implementation of SF and KPH programs by applying interview methods, questionnaires and field observations that are presented both qualitatively and descriptively. We find that the development of SF cannot be separated from the role of the KPH bureaucracy due to the absence of bureaucratic institutions at the site level. SF sites are located in KPH working areas and perform a central role in all aspects of SF management. However, SF programs are not clearly stated as one of the main tasks and functions of KPHs and the existence of KPH interests in realizing independence without special budget allocations for the development of SF are obstacles to its implementation. KPH also still face regulatory issues that have not fully supported KPH operations resulting in weak institutions and independence to governing hierarchies due to the strong influence of the bureaucracy at the central and provincial levels. On the other hand, the SF program is still perceived as a rival of KPHs in forest management areas and further suffer from rigid regulations that are difficult to apply, making it challenging for SF to support the objectives of KPH programming. Under these conditions, KPH tend to limit SF schemes, thus privileging specific different forestry partnership schemes that are anticipated to support the independence of the KPH.

1. Introduction

The high dependence of people on forest resources and limited access to forest management activities has resulted in an increase in the movement of people demanding access to state forests in Indonesia (Edmunds et al., 2003; Muhajir et al., 2011; Soepijanto et al., 2013; Maryudi et al., 2015). This has also taken place alongside one of the most dramatic transformations in natural resource management policies in modern history with the emergence of devolution policies that allow some form of access for local communities (Edmunds et al., 2003). Social forestry (SF), as a form of devolution is also anticipated to simultaneously improve livelihoods and forest conservation (Maryudi et al., 2012; Schusser, 2013; Moktan et al., 2016). SF in Indonesia is a generic term for devolution of power from the state to local groups of citizens in order to manage forests and land that are under government authority. Since the 1980s SF has become a popular policy throughout Asia, Africa and, more recently Latin America (Thompson, 1999; Fisher, 1999; Suharjito, 2009; Cronkleton et al., 2013; Baynes et al., 2016; Gilmour, 2016).

Devolution of power is the cornerstone of SF governance (Schusser, 2013; Schusser et al., 2014; Baynes et al., 2016). In Indonesia, government attention to SF emerged in the form of allocating the benefits of forest resources as taking place in official policy since the amendment of Forestry Act No. 5 of 1967 to Act No. 41 of 1999 (Yasmi, 2008; Kartodihardjo et al., 2013). The spirit of guiding forest policy for community involvement emerged during the World Forestry Congress III in 1978, which has since helped to make the formal case for SF in Indonesia (Soepijanto et al., 2013). SF in Indonesian forest management takes shape in particular permitting schemes, including Community Forestry (HKm – Hutan Kemasyarakatan), Community Plantation Forest (HTR – Hutan Tanaman Rakyat), and Village Forest (HD – Hutan Desa) (Suharjito, 2009).

On the other hand, the broader paradigm of forestry development in Indonesia is more oriented towards economic development, and due to the historical influences of Indonesia’s political economy, has resulted in a strong licensing system and weak forest management at the site level, thus creating various contemporary challenges in the form of deforestation and forest degradation (Soepijanto et al., 2013; Setyarso et al., 2014; Kartodiharjo & Suwarno, 2014). The KPH at the site level has recently become the core policy of forest management reform in the domestic forestry sector in Indonesia (Kartodihardjo et al., 2011; Raharjo & Ulifah, 2014; Sahide et al., 2016). The KPH are envisioned as the main management approach anticipated to solve the problem of the lack of managers at the site level, addressing uncontrolled illegal logging and illegal trade, reducing forest degradation, resolving tenure conflicts, and overcoming economic decline in communities in and around the forests (Kartodihardjo et al., 2011; Rizal et al., 2011; Raharjo & Ulifah, 2014; Ekawati, 2014b; Suwarno et al., 2016; Fisher et al., 2017).

Given that all forest areas in Indonesia are divided into KPH areas, the entire working area of SF for HKm, HTR, HD schemes and forestry partnerships is also managed under the KPH system (Kartodihardjo et al., 2011; Sahide et al., 2016). By applying a theoretical framework of bureaucratic politics, this article aims to analyze the relationship between SF and KPH programs and how the implementation of their agendas can mutually support or inhibit the development of their respective programs. To achieve this goal, we used content analysis to approach our examination of SF and KPH policies. The content analysis is derived from interview methods, questionnaires and field observations within SF and KPH design and implementation.

2. Theoretical framework and context

2.1. Bureaucratic Politics

In decision-making or action, all hierarchical and bureaucratic organizations have formal and informal structures (Wittrock et al., 1982; Hjern & Hull, 1982). Formally, organizations act in accordance with constitutional mandates and established structures and do not make room for informal hierarchies (Krott, 2005; Diefenbach & Sillince, 2015). However, because formal authority structures are rarely specified in full, there is room for informal institutions (Cooter, 1994; Ostrom, 2005). Therefore, the bureaucracy has two main objectives: the first, to formally provide public services that are oriented in accordance with the mandate provided; the second, they informally demand the interests of the organization to survive and expand the organization (Giessen et al., 2014). The theory of bureaucratic politics postulates that some bureaucratic organizations often have different and competing interests in the context of certain policies (Preston & ’T Hart, 1999; Krott, 2005; Hubo & Krott, 2010). Therefore, the theory of bureaucratic politics can be used to identify bureaucratic interests related to problems at various levels and explain behaviors that support or inhibit policy implementation (Sahide et al., 2016). In this study, the theory of bureaucratic politics was used to analyze the structure and mandate of the constitution that was formally established in the bureaucracy related to the KPH and SF programs (policy imaginary). Furthermore, the implementation of formal tasks and informal interests of bureaucratic organizations in the development of KPH and SF programs in the field were analyzed. Consequently, each of the bureaucracies within this dual goal (formal and informal) will have their own patrons. This patron shapes the formal structure hierarchically and is enhanced by interests in the bureaucracies when the political agenda is delivered. In this case the contestation of KPH and SF will lead to contestation of patrons among the bureaucracies.

2.2. The concept of Social Forestry

The definition of SF was first introduced by Westoby (1968) as a forestry activity that guarantees benefits of production to the community (Hakim, 2010; Das, 2015). SF can also be defined as the use of power and influence by local communities in the decision-making process and implementation of forest management including access and regulation of production (Maryudi et al., 2012; Dupuits, 2014). The Ministry of Environment and Forestry defines SF as “a sustainable forest management system implemented in state forests or forest rights concessions/customary forests, undertaken by local communities or legal customary communities as the main actors to improve their prosperity, ensure environmental balance and socio-cultural dynamics, in the form of village forest, community managed forests, people plantation forest, people forests, customary forests and forestry partnerships”. The characteristics of each SF scheme are presented in table 1.

Table 1. Characteristics of various social forestry schemes

Aspects Community Forestry Schemes (in state forest areas) Customary Forest
Community Forest (HKM) Village Forest (HD) People Forest Plantation (HTR) Forestry Partnership/ Conservation Partnership
Definition State forests in which its uses are primarily intended to empower the community State forests managed by villages and utilized for village welfare Plantation forest in production forests built by community groups to increase the potential and quality of production forests by applying silviculture in order to ensure the sustainability of forest resources Cooperation between local communities and forest managers, license holders of forest utilization, rent and use licenses utilize forest areas, or license holders of primary industrial business of forest products. Forests that are within the area of management by indigenous peoples.
Location Production forest (HP) and protected forest (HL) Production forest (HP) and protected forest (HL) Production forest (HP) Production forest (HP), protected forest (HL) and Conservation forest (HK) Outside of the forest area
Managing entities Farmer groups and Cooperatives Village institution Individual, Farmer groups and Cooperatives Community and forest management Customary communities
Period 35 years 35 years 35 years Based on agreement, and 5 years for conservation partnership Not specified
Forest utilization Utilization of the area, utilization of environmental services, utilization/collection of non-timber forest products, and utilization/collection of timber forest products (specifically for production forest) Utilization of the area, utilization of environmental services, utilization/collection of non-timber forest products, and utilization/collection of timber forest products (specifically for production forest) Utilization of timber forest products Environmental services, utilization/collection of non-timber forest products, and utilization/collection of timber forest products (specifically for production forest) Utilization of genetic resources, utilization of environmental services, utilization/collection of non-timber forest products, and utilization/collection of timber forest products

2.3. The concept of KPH

The concept of KPH was introduced in 1999 with the enactment of Act No. 41 of 1999. KPH is defined as “the smallest forest management unit according to its main function and designation, which can be managed efficiently and sustainably, including protection of forest management units (KPHL), production forest management units (KPHP), conservation forest management units (KPHK), community forest management units (KPHKM), customary forest management units (KPHA), and watershed management units (KPDAS)”. Furthermore, in Government Regulation 6 of 2007, KPH is defined as “a forest management area in accordance with its main function and designation, which can be managed efficiently and sustainably”. With this concept of KPH, all forest areas in Indonesia would be divided into KPH areas. In one area the KPH can consist of more than one main function of the forest whose name is determined by the function of the dominant forest area. KPHs are managed by government organizations that conduct forest management functions (Kartodihardjo et al., 2011). KPH are thus the building blocks of forestry development that seek to solve specific problems at the site level and can become enabling conditions for achieving sustainable forest management (Supratman, 2007; Setyarso et al., 2014). KPH serves to manage certain areas to realize a balance of economic, ecological and social functions (Hardjana, 2010; Djaenudin, 2014). With this mandate, KPH also has technical functions. For example, they are tasked with arranging forest management plans and forest utilization. KPH perform managerial functions such as planning, monitoring, evaluation, and outlining forestry policies, as well as conducting business functions such as encouraging investment in the region (Ekawati, 2014a).

In programmatic terms, besides having their own characteristics, KPH and SF also have several similarities (Figure 1). KPH and SF are forest management systems at the site level that aim for sustainability by striving for forest management through improved economic, ecological and social outcomes. These goals support a strategy for forest management for both SF and KPH pursued through area management, institutional management and business management (Hakim, 2010; Raharjo & Ulifah, 2014).

Figure 1. Characteristics and relationship between KPH and SF programs

APBN : State Budget; APBD : Regional Revenue and Expenditure Budget

3. Methods

The theory of bureaucratic politics is used to analyze the policies and implementation of SF programs under the KPH system. Data was collected using four different methods, namely: content analysis of policy documents, semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and field observations.

  1. The content analysis of the policy was used to analyze the most relevant and up-to-date policy documents to find out the formal structure and mandate of bureaucracies that deal with KPH and SF (following Sahide et al., 2016). The policy documents analyzed included: laws, government regulations, ministerial regulations and director general regulations. Various statements relevant to our research have been extracted to explain all aspects related to the KPH and SF program.
  2. Semi-structured interviews were conducted from March 2017 to April 2018 with personnel from various government entities (MOEF, provincial government, KPH), NGOs and communities that have obtained SF permits.
  3. Questionnaires were delivered to KPH officials examined how forest management is carried out by KPHs and their role in developing SF programs. Selected respondents were structural officials at the KPH (generally the Chief of KPH) from 18 KPHs in South Sulawesi, West Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi and Central Sulawesi.
  4. Field observations were conducted to examine the KPH and SF implementation programs in the field. Field observations were made during various implementation stages of KPH and SF programs in the regions of South Sulawesi, West Sulawesi and Southeast Sulawesi provinces.

4. Results

4.1. The messy governance of KPH and SF : A b ureaucratic p olitics perspective

To support implementation of KPH and SF programs, MOEF established bureaucratic organizations at the centraland regional levels, while the provincial government forms the Provincial Forestry Service and KPH at the provincial and site level (Figure 2). In terms of bureaucratic structure, KPH programs have more complete bureaucratic organizations all the way to the site level, whereas for SF, management structures only reach the regional level. Under these conditions, the implementation of SF programs in the field depends on KPH institutions as the only forestry institution at the site level.

Bureaucratic organizations at the central level generally have the authority to make regulations, establishing KPH and issuing SF permits, approving budget, and ratifying long-term forest management plans (RPHJP). At the regional level, there are the Technical Implementation Units (UPT) of MOEF, which generally have the authority for planning and managing the national budget, supervising and facilitating KPH and SF programs. Furthermore, at the provincial level, there is the Provincial Forestry Service that plays a role in the formation and submission of KPH institutions to MOEF, providing budgetallocation, human resources, facilities and infrastructure for KPHs. At the site level, there are KPH institutions that perform forest administration and management functions.

Figure 2. The bureaucratic patron of KPH and SF programs

DG PDAS & HL: Directorate General of Watershed Management and Protected Forest,

DG PHPL: Directorate General of Sustainable Management of Production Forest,

DG PSKL: Directorate General of Social Forestry and Environmental Partnership,

BPSKL: Social Forestry and Environmental Partnership Agency

Various regulations have been issued to support the implementation of KPH and SF programs. However, regulations on the overall operationalization of KPHs have not yet been applied consistently. Amendments of Act No. 23 of 2014 has impacted KPH, especially in South Sulawesi Province. Several KPHs have been formed with the oversight of district governments, but which subsequently changed due to the Amendment of Act 23 by mandating the establishment of new institutions under the provincial government. Furthermore, independence in forest management is still an obstacle because of weak regulations governing KPH authority in the management and utilization of forest products in the region. The forestry partnership pattern is expected to be a means of KPH implementation but is still not feasible because of the strong dominance of the central government and the provincial forestry service in implementing cooperation agreements. Likewise, with the implementation of forest rehabilitation programming, which is one of the main tasks of the KPH, interpretations of the regulations state that such functions are still under the authority of the central government.

Furthermore, KPH institutions – as the only bureaucratic organization at the site level – are expected to be able to support the realization of the SF program objectives. However, synchronization of regulations to support the development of SF and KPH programs are still lacking and proceeding in parallel, rather in coordination with one another. Although some regulations have regulated the role of KPH in the development of SF (Table 2), this role cannot be carried out maximally because of the limitations of KPH institutions.

Table 2. The roles of KPH in SF development

Stage/SF Activities The roles of KPH
Identification of SF location Identification of potential and conflict-prone mapping in KPH areasIdentification and mapping of community rights or claims in the KPH area
Reserve of SF area Determination of blocks for empowering communities and certain regions
Licensing process Part of the technical verification team requests the SF scheme permit
Approval of HD/Hkm and HTR Management Plans Forestry extension agent for RKU and RKT in one village Head of KPH for permit cross-village work areas
Monitoring the SF scheme permit activities Monitoring for SF activities in the work area
Partnership with the community KPHs can act as community partners in forest management
Mentoring Providing extension agents as SF assistants
Community empowerment Conducting activities related to community empowermentBusiness and community institutional development with KPH partners

On the other hand, the support of bureaucratic organizations on the development of SF is still weak. To encourage the development of the SF program, MOEF relies on BPSKL by providing a budgetallocation that has continued to increase. However, the limited personnel available at BPSKL and the absence of institutions at the site level pose the main obstacles in its implementation. Technical staff at the PSKL in the Sulawesi region are limited compared to the extent of their work area responsibilities. The number of civil servants amount to only 57 people, assisted by 22 contract employees. With such a limited number of personnel, the hope of realizing the objectives of the SF program for such a vast geographic scope will be difficult to realize even though it is supported by a relatively large budget. The absence of organizations at the site level also resulted in protracted licensing processes in the reporting bureaucracy to the central level, resulting in a slow licensing process.

Furthermore, supporting the implementation of KPH and SF programs requires a substantial budget. From 18 sample KPH, budgeting still depends on state allocations (Table 3) with a small additional allocation for the SF program. Although there seems to be a substantial budget from several KPH for SF allocations, the budget is generally for the development of partnership programs between KPHs and the community, and does not include the SF permit category that follows the community partnership procedure as stipulated in MOEF regulation No. 83 of 2016.

The SF development budget depends on state budgets through the Director General of PSKL and BPSKL Region Sulawesi. Specifically, for the budget at the BPSKL Region Sulawesi, there is an increase in the budget for the period 2016-2018 (Figure 3). In addition to administrative operations, the budget is allocated for regional preparation activities and the development of business for SF and customary forests. Even though the budget looks large for a government agency at this scale, the vast working area covering 6 provinces or 81 districts / municipalities splinters the budget into small pieces.

Government policies in budgeting for KPH and SF programs also appear inconsistent. This is evident from the budgetallocation from MOEF in 2019 allocated for forest rehabilitation activities. Even though this allocation indicates the notable importance of restoration activities and improving forest cover conditions, it also implies a significant reduction in the budgets for KPH and SF program implementation. An example is the budget for the operationalization of KPHP through BPHP Institution in Region-XIII Makassar, which in 2018 had a budgetallocation for 12 KPHs, but in 2019 only allocated for 3 KPHs. This certainly has an impact on the low achievement of the program in the KPH including the development of SF.

Table 3. KPH’s operational budget and budgetallocation for SF

Province and KPH sample 2017 2018
KPH Budget (in million)   Allocation for SF (in million) KPH Budget (in million)   Allocation for SF (in million)
State Budget Regional Budget State Budget Regional Budget
Southeast Sulawesi (8 KPH) 11.148 253 1.183 6.803 463 1.786
South Sulawesi (2 KPH) - - - - - -
West Sulawesi (3 KPH) 6.096 200 1.355 4.110 1.165 1.672
Central Sulawesi (5 KPH) 7.797 4.334 256 5.961 7.344 171

Figure 3. The BPSKL budget for Sulawesi in developing SF

4.2. SF practices in KPH areas

Principally, the SF and KPH programs aim to improve community welfare and forest sustainability. Therefore, these two programs received strong support and commitment from policy-makers and are used as priority programs in forest management in Indonesia. Furthermore, the implementation of the SF program cannot be separated from the KPH bureaucracy because the working area of SF in the forest area is in the working area of KPH either zoned in the empowerment blocks or in other area (Figure 4). Given these spatial overlapping conditions, the success of SF program are contingent upon the role of the KPH.

Figure 4. Illustration of zoning blocks and locations of SF permits in KPH areas

Until 2018, the role of the KPH in the development of SF was envisioned to facilitate the increased issuance of SF permits in the KPH area (Table 4). Increasing permits, especially in the HKm and Village Forest schemes, from across 18 KPHs among the research samples highlighted that several KPH did not yet have SF scheme permits in their areas. From the various KPH roles, increasing the realization of SF programs in the field have continued to present challenges. Aside from budget constraints, the challenges to the development of SF schemes in KPH areas include:

1) the low capacity of human resources in KPHs to support SF development. Extension agents are not evenly distributed across KPH areas and some KPH do not yet have extension agents (see Table 4). In addition, extension agents in the KPH have previously served in the Executive Agency of Extension Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (BP4K). Furthermore, they are rarely involved with activities in forestry so that they are weak in their technical understanding of forestry.

2) The existence of KPH interests in realizing independence makes them selective in determining SF schemes they are willing to support. In this case, most KPHs tend to favor the forestry partnership schemes because the role of the KPH is greater and there are also opportunities to benefit from profit sharing.

Table 4. Progress of issuance of SF scheme permits

Province Before KPH (District Forestry Office) After KPH Total forestry extension officer
HKm HD HTR Partnership HKm HD HTR Partnership
Permit Area Permit Area Permit Area Permit Area Permit Area Permit Area Permit Area Permit Area
Southeast Sulawesi (8 KPH) - - - - 12 5.140 - - 3 1.110 - - 3 1.817 - - 50
South Sulawesi (2 KPH) 35 9.652 13 7.425 7 1.369 - - 8 3.015 25 7.666 - - - - 21
West Sulawesi (3 KPH) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 3
Central Sulawesi (5 KPH) - - - - - - - 19 9.289 24 16.421 - - - - 35

On the other hand, the low realization of SF programs in the field has made this program unable to provide significant contributions to the achievement of KPH objectives. As SF is also envisioned to support conflict resolution goals on state forest lands, the application of such roles among the KPH are still limited. In addition, the existence of the SF program is still perceived as a rival to the KPH in the management of forest areas. This perception emerged due to the limited role of the KPH in the management of the SF program area and the absence of direct income contributions to the KPH.

5. Discussion

5.1. Bureaucratic patron

The policy of establishing KPH organizations is inseparable from the development of SF in the field. The existence of KPHs allows identification of land rights in forest areas and supports the needs of rural populations. Permits and collaborations are more likely to achieve regulations that provide support for community rights and access to forest resources in the long term (Kartodihardjo et al., 2011). However, the messiness of KPH governance has impacted the low realization rates and has also impacted the ability to achieve SF program objectives in the field.

Institutional strengthening needs to be pursued to support extensive forest management and to provide opportunities for greater access for intended parties (Kartodihardjo, 2006). This shows the importance of the bureaucratic structure of a program to reach the site level. It is unfortunate that the implementation of SF programs are not equipped with a bureaucratic structure to the site level and depends on the role of KPH institutions. However, this has become a separate problem because in the regulations relating to KPH institutions, SF programs are not clearly stated as one of the main tasks and functions of KPHs. Therefore, although the SF and KPH bureaucratic structures are different, the people who become clients are sometimes the same, resulting in conflicts or competition between bureaucracies (Sahide & Giessen, 2015). In addition, although the central government perspective is that SF is a priority program, local governments tend to considers the forestry sector as a ancillary program, so that there is an imbalance in motivation between the central and regional governments in the development of SF (Suhirman et al., 2012).

Furthermore, KPH institutions themselves are still in the early stages of development and faced with regulations that have not fully supported KPH operations (Ekawati, 2014b; Fisher et al., 2017). The existing regulations still indicate the weak position of KPH in forest management, and the strong influence of the provincial forestry service and the central government. This is evident in regulations related to forestry partnerships, forest rehabilitation and budgeting. The results of Sahide et al. (2016) illustrate how the central government through KPH and SF is in the process of regaining its authority for forest administration and management, what they describe as a recentralization strategy. Therefore, the government should revise several regulations to support KPH in the development of SF, among others, regulations related to the role of KPH in the development of HKm, HTR and Village Forests (Ekawati, 2014b).

On the other hand, these messy governance conditions also affect regulations related to the development of SF. In general, regulations still embody top-down policies (Gelo & Koch, 2012; Hajjar et al., 2013) and centralized management practices (Jusuf & Fahrul, 2011; Schusser, 2013) so that they have an impact on field conditions that cannot adequately respond to local needs. For example, licensing regulations that are long and complex have implications for the slow process of issuing SF scheme permits (Rahmina, 2011; Muhajir et al., 2011; Wiratno, 2014; Praputra et al., 2015). Therefore, the delegation of SF implementation to the site level through KPH oversight is also supported with budgets and capacity building that can help to address existing implementation conditions (Herawati et al., 2017).

5.2. Budget politics

Success of KPH and SF implementation programs is largely determined by the central or regional government budgetallocation. KPHs, though assigned formally to oversee site level implementation in forest management still faces budget problems. The system implemented by MOEF regulates operational budgeting for KPHLs through the Director General of PDAS HL, while for KPHP, it is conducted through the Director General of PHPL. However, the inconsistency of budget allocation from the central government by increasing the rehabilitation budget has resulted in reduced budgetallocations for KPH operations. As a result, many KPHs do not receive operational budgetallocations from the central government. The budgetallocation from the local government also turns out to be very limited and does not fully support the operation of the KPH (Suryandari & Alviya, 2009).

Furthermore, the budget for SF development comes directly from the ministry or in coordination with BPSKL, while KPHs face budget constraints and do not receive special budget allocation to support SF. This condition shows the low commitment of the government in budget allocation for the development of SF through the site level management systems (Agbogidi et al., 2007; Suhirman et al., 2012) impacting the role that KPH can play in supporting SF. An example is the lack of a budget for forestry extension agents budgeted by BPSKL. This has an impact on the low quality of community assistance and administrative services by forestry extension agents. The development of SF is therefore dependent on, and inseparable from the role of forestry extension agents (Falconer, 1987; Gautam, 1999).

5.3. Bureaucratic preferences

The central challenge in the development of SF is how the program can support the objectives of the KPH, especially in realizing the independence of the KPH. The strong demand to realize independence in forest management (Subarudi, 2014) makes KPH selective in the type of SF scheme, preferring a specific type over others. In most cases KPH tend to prefer forestry partnership schemes compared to other SF schemes because of the possibility of profit-sharing. The position of SF permits is principally the same as other permits, so that the requirements and procedures for implementing the program tend to be equated with a large-scale permit. Whereas the SF scheme permit holders are often people from rural areas who have low formal capital and capacity (financial, institutional, physical, human, social), implementation thus requires facilitation by government and other partners to support managing land blocks and facilitate larger-scale business ventures (Setyarso et al., 2014).

On the other hand, the government bureaucracy responsible for the implementation of the SF program continues to struggle to develop SF schemes other than the forestry partnership scheme. Efforts are supported by the characteristics and desires of people who sometimes want to be independent in implementing the SF program. This is still a problem because of the strength of the KPH bureaucracy in blocking the development of SF schemes. These conditions thus show that the state bureaucracy still views increasing authority as the main goal of the organization, ignoring their broader responsibility for managing forest resources for the welfare of communities (Poffenberger, 1990). Therefore, the government must issue and refine regulations related to the implementation of the SF scheme to be flexible in accordance with field conditions that are easy enough to implement (Sumanto, 2009). These must be in sync with regulations related to KPH policies, because in the context of KPHs that directly interact with the operationalization of various SF schemes, the responsibility for their success requires detailed roles that can be performed by the KPH (Setyarso et al., 2014).

6. Conclusions

Supporting bureaucratic structures that reach the field site is a major obstacle in the development of the SF program. The implementation of SF depends on the role of KPH institutions that have a bureaucratic structure to the site level. However, SF programs are not clearly stated as one of the main tasks and functions of KPHs. The weakness of KPH institutions and independence caused by the strong influence of the central government and provincial forestry service, as well as the absence of special budget allocations for SF development in KPH, has influenced the role of the KPH in providing optimal support to the development of SF programs. In addition, KPH interests to create independence makes the KPH selective towards particular SF schemes (the forestry partnership scheme) that offer profit sharing and do not necessarily always keep in mind the broader goals of SF.

On the other hand, bureaucratic organizations with a mandate for SF have not always involved KPH institutions. Budget structures and allocations clearly attest to this point. The budget for SF comes from parallel and uncoordinated ways from the Directorate General of PSKL and the BPSKL. Even though SF management structures have limited personnel, there was no visible commitment and willingness from MOEF to distribute SF development budgets to KPH institutions. In addition, the regulations governing SF programs still appear rigid and difficult to apply, showing the dominant authority and administrative control of the central government.

This overall contrast of policy imaginary and implementation reality indicates that the formal objectives of SF and KPH policies are not always in accordance with the informal objectives of the bureaucratic organizational authority (Sahide et al., 2016). Different interests of bureaucratic organizations indicate that they informally push for their survival and expansion (Giessen et al., 2014). With the competitive and adversarial conditions, the hopes of realizing the broader goals of KPH and SF programs will be difficult to realize. Therefore, efforts to review and refine various regulations to synchronize SF and KPH policies become an urgent need to be performed (Setyarso et al., 2014; Ekawati, 2014b).

Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest. The founding sponsors had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, and in the decision to publish the results.


We are grateful to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry for funding this research through the Center of Forestry and Environment Education, Training, and Human Resources Development, and all persons who have helped in conducting this research.


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Regulations Materials

Law 41 of 1999 on Forestry. Undang-Undang Nomor : 41 Tahun 1999 tentang kehutanan

Law 23 of 2014 on Local government. Undang-Undang Nomor : 23 Tahun 2014 tentang pemerintahan daerah.

Government Regulation 6 of 2007 on forest governance and forest management planning and forest utilization. Peraturan Pemerintah Nomor : 6 Tahun 2007 tentang tata hutan dan penyusunan rencana pengelolaan hutan, serta pemanfaatan hutan
MOEF Regulation P.83 of 2016 on Social Forestry. Peraturan Menteri Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan Nomor : P.83/Menlhk/Setjen/Kum.1/10/2016 tentang perhutanan sosial.