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  • Estate Crops More Attractive than Community Forests in West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Estate Crops More Attractive than Community Forests in West Kalimantan, Indonesia

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FTA

Authors: Langston, J.D.; Riggs, R.A.; Sururi, Y.; Sunderland, T.C.H.; Munawir, M.

Smallholder farmers and indigenous communities must cope with the opportunities and threats presented by rapidly spreading estate crops in the frontier of the agricultural market economy. Smallholder communities are subject to considerable speculation by outsiders, yet large-scale agriculture presents tradeoffs that they must navigate. We initiated a study in Sintang, West Kalimantan in 2012 and have returned annually for the last four years, building the baselines for a longer-term landscape approach to reconciling conservation and development tradeoffs in situ. Here, the stakeholders are heterogeneous, yet the land cover of the landscape is on a trajectory towards homogenous mono-cropping systems, primarily either palm oil or rubber. In one village on the frontier of the agricultural market economy, natural forests remain managed by the indigenous and local community but economics further intrude on forest use decisions. Conservation values are declining and the future of the forest is uncertain. As such, the community is ultimately attracted to more economically attractive uses of the land for local development oil palm or rubber mono-crop farms. We identify poverty as a threat to community-managed conservation success in the face of economic pressures to convert forest to intensive agriculture. We provide evidence that lucrative alternatives will challenge community-managed forests when prosperity seems achievable. To alleviate this trend, we identify formalized traditional management and landscape governance solutions to nurture a more sustainable landscape transition.

Publication Year: 2017

ISSN: 2073-445X

Source: Land 6(1): 12

DOI: 10.3390/land6010012

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  • Forest use in Nicaragua: Results of a survey on gendered forest use, benefits and participation

Forest use in Nicaragua: Results of a survey on gendered forest use, benefits and participation

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FTA

Key results

  • Generalizations about gender and forests are misleading; detailed, comparative studies are needed to understand important contextual differences not only among world regions but also, as demonstrated here, within countries, among different cultures.
  • Gender biases lead men to underestimate women’s work related to forests and overestimate their benefits and role in decision making, relative to women’s own estimates.
  • In Nicaragua, forest resources, particularly firewood, are important for the vast majority of rural households studied; indigenous households, as well as indigenous women specifically, use and benefit from a much larger variety of forest resources than non-indigenous communities.
  • Of all the forest products mentioned by respondents, men extract more than women, except for craft materials in some locations.
  • Indigenous women are much more involved in the sale of forest products than non-indigenous women and are more likely to control the income from the products they sell.

Source: CIFOR Publications.

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  • Stronger rights for the commons: A new generation of challenges

Stronger rights for the commons: A new generation of challenges

The Dayak indigenous people are fighting to regain their rights on their ancestral lands and regenerate the ecosystem of West Kalimantan’s Semenduk lake. Photo: Diah Tantri for GLF 2015 photo competition
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cifor

Nearly 20 years ago, in 1996, the Namibian government granted rights to wildlife—elephants, black rhino, lion and many species of antelope—to newly formed community conservancies. Now, Namibia has 82 of these community conservancies, covering 20 percent of its territory. These community conservancies have generated work for several thousand local residents and revenue from tourist lodges that goes to building schools and clinics. The environment is faring better too, as people have given up their livestock in favor of wildlife that are better suited to Namibia’s semi-arid environment.

Something similar happened in Guatemala in 1990, when the government created the Mayan Biosphere Reserve, and set aside about 40 percent of the reserve as community forestry concessions. The concessions have generated considerable income, primarily through the sales of sustainable high-value mahogany and teak. Rates of deforestation in these concessions have declined considerably.

These are two examples of initiatives that sought to build new commons institutions and enterprises—in short, they sought to connect locally produced goods and services to high-value markets.

And in both cases, local residents have reaped significant social, economic and environmental benefits.

This next generation of challenges is, quite clearly, no less daunting than that of earlier eras.

Steven Lawry

COLONIAL LEGACY

These cases exemplify the gains that some communities relying on communal forests and other natural resources in the developing world have made over the past 20 years in regaining a greater share of the use, management and other rights to those forests—areas that, during and after the colonial era, were held and administered by government agencies, often to the detriment of these communities.

Developing country governments tended to retain the colonial model of state ownership even after their countries gained independence. Where state regulation of timber extraction and development were weak, local people bore the environmental and social costs of land and watershed degradation. But they had little or no power to protect their local land and forests from encroachment by outsiders. Local rules for assigning resource rights lost force, and local institutional capacity for governing resource use often withered.

PANEL DISCUSSION
Community rights to resources in Indonesia

State regulation of forest use could also be aggressive and punitive. Local people could often use resources only if they managed to gain permission or paid fees. In some places, traditional uses of forests, such as subsistence hunting and collection of non-timber forest products, were criminalized. In several Sahelian West African countries, farmers had to secure permits to cut down trees they had planted on their own farms. The result: fewer trees planted.

In general, then, the progress made over the past 20 years shows how tenure security and clarification of rights can create conditions for better management of resources, for attracting outside investment, and for the more equitable sharing of commons benefits.

This topic will be featured at the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum.
View the event details

NEXT GENERATION

Yet we have now moved into what might be called the “next generation” of challenges in the management of common property resources: Communities have newly strengthened resource rights—but then what?

Because despite the gains, local resource governance arrangements tend to be fragile, and local enterprises tend to be weak. What’s more, progress in the devolution of rights has drawn attention to the persistent poverty in many communities reliant such commonly used resources as pastures, fisheries and water, wildlife and forests.

So at the top of the list of next-generation challenges is this: How to ensure that communities with newly strengthened resource rights can build strong local economies based on the sustainable use of local natural resources.

For a start, this will require new forms of local governance arrangements and local enterprises that are capable not only of bringing high-value local goods and services to markets, but of doing so in ways that provide fair benefits to local right holders. Intermediaries—sometimes NGOs—can be key to building local business acumen and brokering deals with outside enterprises and investors—which can also build trust among parties not accustomed to working together.

We have now moved into what might be called the “next generation” of challenges in the management of common property resources: Communities have newly strengthened resource rights—but then what?

Steven Lawry

Also important is an understanding of how people’s ability to participate in commons enterprises can vary according to their age, education, gender, health and other social and demographic factors. An appreciation of these differences, and how they manifest in power dynamics, can help build safeguards against elite capture of commons enterprises and fashion benefit-sharing arrangements that ensure all right holders get a fair share of the benefits of commons ownership.

This next generation of challenges is, quite clearly, no less daunting than that of earlier eras.

Exploring solutions is part of the aim of the panel discussion on “Commons Tenure for a Common Future,” at the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum on Saturday 5 December. By identifying these issues and delving deeply into them, we can help common tenure lead to common benefits.

See the rest of the story at mysite.com

Related:
Community rights to resources in Indonesia: A conversation
Climate isn’t everything … so welcome to the Global Landscapes Forum
‘Forgotten guardians’: Local communities in natural resource management

Source: Forests News English


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