Indonesia Community-Based Forest Management

Supporting the establishment of one of the country's first Village Forests

Fast Facts

Status: Completed


Years: 2008 - 2010


Focal Country: Indonesia


Donor: Ford Foundation

Partners: Hasanuddin University



In December 2009, this Ford Foundation-funded project led to the formal recognition of the first Village Forest (Hutan Desa) in Sulawesi, and one of the first in all of Indonesia.

The rural poor in South Sulawesi depend heavily on forests for their livelihoods. They face increasing challenges because local forests continue to be degraded, and their rights to those forests are insecure.

With support from the project, villagers from three communities in Bantaeng district attained Village Forest Management Licenses in November 2010, securing tenure over local forest lands for 35 years. Those resources will be managed by local village enterprise bodies (referred to as BUMDES) under Village Forest Management Regulations. The communities established both of these structures through the project.

Representatives from local communities, civil society organizations, and local and provincial government authorities worked together to draft a roadmap for a community-based Forest Management Unit in South Sulawesi, using Bantaeng district as a model. The formation of such units is one of the Ministry of Forestry's priority policies, designed to create myriad forest management models that respond to different landscapes across the country.

Bantaeng's experience has been widely publicized locally and nationally. The practical demonstration here in developing the Village Forest serves as a valuable model for other communities to follow, particularly as the Ministry of Forestry has set ambitious targets for the expansion of the Village Forestry (2.5 million hectares by 2015) and the development of Forest Management Units (120 units by 2012) around the country. There is now significant interest and vast potential to scale up the model and its impacts across Indonesia.

In another part of Sulawesi, the project helped local stakeholders develop an approach to resolve a conflict over local forest lands that had recently been declared a part of Bantimurung-Bulusaraung National Park. The project focused on a compromise solution of establishing a Group Regulation (Peraturan Kelompok) on traditional zone management for the area. It allows the community to use the contested resources in many places as they had before the forest was declared a protected area, as long as they maintained the integrity of the national park and avoided using resources in select zones.  Although some issues remained unresolved by the end of the project, both local communities and park authorities have an understanding of the other's interests and a willingness to find a win-win solution.


  • The government formally recognized the first Village Forest in Sulawesi, and arguably all of Indonesia.
  • On average, the sale of coffee grown in the Village Forest augments a family's income by 50%.
  • The consortium of forestry stakeholders is advancing a roadmap for a community-based Forest Management Unit in South Sulawesi. This shows that decision makers recognize the potential for Village Forestry to become a basis for effective forest management.
  • The Village Forest Development Program in Bantaeng district serves as a reference model for the Ministry of Forestry's future projects.
  • Interest in Village Forestry across Sulawesi has grown significantly since the project. West Sulawesi provincial authorities have asked RECOFTC to help with village forest development for their province.