Forest Climate center


State of Indonesian Forest

State of Indonesian Forest

Indonesia is endowed with some of the most extensive and biologically diverse tropical forests in the world. Tens of millions of Indonesians depend directly on these forests for their livelihoods, whether gathering forest products for their daily needs or working in the wood-processing sectors of the economy. The forests are home to an abundance of flora and fauna unmatched in any country of comparable size. Even today, almost every ecological expedition that sets out to explore Indonesia’s tropical forests returns with discoveries of new species.

But a tragedy is unfolding in Indonesia. The country now finds itself the unwelcome center of world attention, as domestic and international outrage mounts over the rampant destruction of a great natural resource. Indonesia’s “economic miracle” of the 1980s and 1990s turns out to have been based, in part, on ecological devastation and abuse of local people’s rights and customs. For example, one of the country’s fastest growing sectors, the pulp and paper industry, has not established the plantations necessary to provide a secure supply of pulpwood. Instead, pulpmills rely largely on wholesale clearing of natural forest. The economy is plagued by lawlessness and corruption.

Forest Management in Indonesia

Indonesia has a long established framework of forest land use which forms the basis for its forest resources and land use planning.  Land is essentially either designated as forest land (kawasan hutan) or non forest land. The forest land,  currently of the order of 112 million ha or about 60% of the land surface, has been administered by the Ministry of Forestry as a national resource for the nation, while the balance of the land has been administered for agriculture and settlement by the other line agencies, including the Ministry of Agriculture (and Estate Crops).  Forests are divided into Protection Forests, Conservation Forests and Production Forests. Several forest categories have also been designated to promote community based forest management over the past decade. 






the New Order period.

Deforestation and Degradation

Many efforts to address deforestation in Indonesia over the last few decades have not shown significant results. Currently, government policies that drive forest conversion are justified on the basis of their potential to promote development. If REDD can provide an alternative source of income that can compete with the revenues available from other land uses, it could provide a rationale for change.

Land Tenure

Land tenure issues have long plagued the forestry sector in Indonesia. The bulk of Indonesia's forest is owned by the state, which historically has doled out large concessions — often tens of thousands of hectares in extent — to logging companies. Local communities mostly lose out, leaving some to seek opportunities from illicit timber harvesting. Without clear ownership rights to land, communities have little incentive to reject illegal logging or manage forests for the long-term. The model — which has contributed to the abandonment of traditional land stewardship in many areas — has driven large-scale devastation of Indonesia's rich forest ecosystems.

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