The future of social forestry in Indonesia

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In Kalibiru, a national park in the Menoreh mountains to the west of Yogyakarta, tourists scale precarious-looking ladders up timber trees to take Instragrammable photos of themselves on treetop wooden platforms overlooking lakes and lush forest. This place wasn’t always quite so photogenic. Two decades ago, the state-owned production forest was severely degraded due to forest encroachment and illegal logging. Then, in 2001, a group of locals set up a community forestry cooperative, and set about applying for management rights under the national community forestry scheme (Hutan Kemasyarakatan, or HKm in Bahasa) to boost livelihoods and improve the health of the ecosystem. It took time, but in 2008, the government finally granted them the mandate to manage the forest for 35 years under its landmark social forestry program.

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