Social approach for forestry development in Indonesia is a requirement to increase community welfare

Social approach for forestry development in Indonesia is a requirement to increase community welfare

The title above is adequately long. It intended to emphasise the main concern need to be put in Forestry sector, i.e.; community welfare, Forestry development and sociology approach.

In the Research Expose Seminar that was held by FORDA Makassar (Balai Penelitian Kehutanan Makassar) at Swiss-Bel Inn, Makassar – 28 June 2012, under the seminar theme: the Role of Science and Technology for Forestry Development and Community Welfare in Wallace region, I delivered paper presentation entitled: Increasing Social Capital of Farmer Forest Groups sustainably.

I received heaps of interesting responses and questions, especially in dealing with community participation, welfare and social capital. Herewith, below, I would like to share some of those.

Responses I received were from various background, such as local government, central government, NGO and forestry extension staff, i.e.:

- It was difficult to deal with community – they are so ‘fuzzy’, i.e. low participation, low motivation, low learning capability. In this sense, what was the cause of these reasons?

- Is there any ‘recipe’ to deal with community to maximise the impact, especially impact to community?

- If there was a government project (example: HKM-Community Forestry), the project was successfully undertaken and providing fruitful results, but, it seemed the local government was not able to ‘grab’ those provided potential positive impact, especially, to enhance community welfare and groups’ capacity. What happened was that – based on experiences – when the government project finished no longer of positive results from the project existed. The worst thing was that community went back to their previous nature or situation as prior to the project executed.

- FFGs were in up and down condition. Up, when groups were attached in a government project/s and Down when there were was no further project or the project was stopped. In this case, what was the effort need to be undertaken to empower FFGs?

- Another feedback was that in Bulukumba, forestry programs was assumed to be paralleled as the emerge of wild boars, ruining their seedlings. It was harmful for them. It supposed to happen due to less coordination between Dinas and FFGs.

Responding to those aforementioned feedback, my responses were:

1. We do need providing more emphasis on social approach for forestry development. Lots of evidences were easily observed, such as:

Many reports mentioned (locally or nationally) that forestry programs which was included community to participate had contributed positively to community. The reason behind that was numbers of seedlings distributed to farmers and seedlings being planted in farmers’ field or how the program was being involved successfully by farmers or community around forests (which they received incentive – such as money – from the program). When I read this type of reports, I was not able to correlate what the relationship between numbers of seedlings planted in their area with the increase of their livelihood income (as the evidence). Of course, then, we were able to argue that farmers could harvest in the future – after the next 6 – 7 years or so. It was absolutely right, just as if there was a guarantee to have all seedlings survived, growing well and farmers received a fair price to the timbers – yet, who was able to be a guarantor? And what would be the measurement to measure this, whether farmers received ‘real’ benefit or not? However, in this case, I’d like to focus on the program as well. If it was mentioned that the program benefitted farmers or community directly, the evidence should be the increasing of farmers livelihood before and after program – to measure this, the program needed to be supported by social approach – measuring and calculating the benefit – the satisfaction the program towards farmers or community.

2. Put farmers as a subject in Forestry development program, not (only) an object.

It came up from the ground, that farmers were expected to be treated as a subject. It meant that they were really keen to be involved in the forestry development process, since the beginning – bottom-up processes, instead of a top-downed one. In this situation, they said, they were able to increase their responsibility to the program as well as their sense of belonging. It was expected to provide impact to the program performance significantly.

3. Asking what they want

They were eagerly to be heard – that what I observed from my research as well. They wanted government put more attention to listen to farmers, i.e.: what farmers needed to improve their livelihood or what training they needed. It was intended to avoid farmers received materials that they did not need. On the other hand, it showed the matter of respectful to party (farmers/community) which involved in the program.

4. Distinguish clearly separated program between forestry program and community program.

It was common to have one forestry program – since the beginning until the end, i.e. reforestation program. The program under reforestation must be included socialisation prior to the program launched – seedlings distribution – planting seedlings in the field and the program finished. The interaction was merely on the socialisation processes or on the similar action. However, there was no certain program focussed for community. The example above – to measure what the program benefitted farmers/community – needed to be undertaken separately, not under the same umbrella of the program. Because, the measurement was better to be carried out after the forestry program finished. If under the same umbrella, how the measurement would be able to be observed?

I’d like to simplify the above explanation into the imaginary graphic as shown below.

Distinguished program graphic

Distinguished program graphic

If those reason above were concerned, it would be certain to see the increase of community welfare was precisely under target and accurately measured – indeed the welfare was achieavable.

Makassar, July, 2012

Bugi Sumirat


Be Sociable, Share!


  • @kangbugi | Jul 31,2012

    [...] Social approach for forestry development in Indonesia is a requirement to increase community welfare 31 Jul [This article was reblogged] [...]

  • @kangbugi | Jul 31,2012


    I do agree with all of the ideas you’ve introduced on your post. They are really convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are very quick for novices. May you please lengthen them a bit from subsequent time? Thank you for the post….

    • @kangbugi | Jul 31,2012

      Dear Amedar, thanks for your visit and concern to the post. Indeed the topic was needed to be widen of the content,absolutely agree with that. however, my attention in this post was merely to ‘touch’ readers, especially, who concern on forestry development and looking at community at the main actor within. I’d like to enrich the idea in another post and thanks for your kind feedback. regards.

  • You must be to post a comment