FOREST MANAGEMENT BY THE LOCAL PEOPLES IN ARU DISTRICT, SOUTHEAST MALUKU Herman Hidayat*
The Aru people in Southeast Maluku province have for generations practiced participatory forest management based on local knowledge, traditional values and wisdom. Local people have utilized forest products to meet their needs, but not for commercial purposes. In contrast, the logging company, P.T. Budi Nyata, a branch of Jayanti Group, with its concession 98,000 ha of forest has been cutting many trees and using them as raw material for plywood industries in Ambon. Although the company appears to make an effort to replant new trees, instead of allowing forest degradation, because of the lack of inspection from governmental forestry agents and the lack of law enforcement, its replanting efforts are not fruitful. Key words: participation, forest management, sasi, and Southeast Maluku. Introduction This research deals specifically with the Aru Islands in Southeast Maluku province of Indonesia. Well-knonw for its thousands of small islands, this province has great potential forest and marine resources. However, while Indonesia is generally rich in natural resources, Aru Islands are much more limited and have specialized natural resources upon which to draw for sustainable forestry. The primary purpose of this paper is to discuss participatory forest management in the Aru district, where deforestation is taking place gradually. What is participatory forest management? Conceptually, participation means empowering people to mobilize their own capacities, be social actors rather passive subjects, to manage the resources, to make decisions and to control the activities that affect their lives. In practice, this means involving people in the identification of their priorities and needs, as well as project design, implementation and evaluation (Wells, 1990: 13). Participation must therefore be seen as a fundamental building block and not just as another element of projects.The level of participation in local development (Aru District) should be taken into consideration. It appears that level of participation can be categorized into three approaches: (1) a participatory top down approach; (2) a professional-guided participatory approach; and (3) an indigenous bottom up approach. This paper aims to describe what category are practiced by the people of Aru. It is divided into six parts: an overview of general description of the research sites; discussion of a customary forest management system; a brief description of the utilization on forest products; an evaluation of forest utilization from the perspective of sustainable forestry; a description of the concept of “sasi” in forest practices; and a discussion of economic activities. Methodology Selection of the research sites I conducted comparative studies on two villages (Jabulenga and Tunguatu): one subsists by fishing; the other by gathering forest products and hunting. Most of Aru people are fishermen, rather than farmers, because of the geographical conditions – Aru territory includes big and small islands and the sea. The selection two types of villages allows a fair representation ofthe people being investigated. The transportation system is one major constraint of field research in Aru, as Aru is made up of many islands. On the other hand, sea factor also becomes indispensable item must be noticed whether in west and east season (musim Barat dan musim Timur). I identify this reason for any researchers to be more success in conducting a field research in the future in this region. The Aru district (see figure) had a population of 62,893 in August, 1998 (32,048 males, 32,299 females, in 12,713 families), an annual population growth of 2.41 percent and a geographical area of 6,292 sq km. The most populated is located in Dobo, the capital of Aru with 589 persons/sq km and sq kmand the lowest is about 2 persons/sq km in Tunguatu village. Most Tunguatu people subsist on are hunting in the forest. Field data collection My field research was carried out from middle of August to the first of September 1998. Issues studied were customary forest or land management systems, land tenure systems, utilization of forest products, changes in forest utilization, the influence of sasi principles on forest management systems, economic activities, and models of participatory forest management.
I used three methods for collecting data: a library research ; interviews with heads of twelve households (eleven of whom were customary elders), and participatory observation. With this approach, I strove to understand and see how the local people hunt, fish, gather forest products, cultivate the land, and other activities. A. General Description 1. Geography This research deals specifically with one Indonesian province, Moluccas (Maluku). This province consists of 1,027 islands for whichMaluku is famous. The total area is 851,000 km, of which the sea surface is 765,272 sq km, and land surface 85,728 sq km. The province is situated between 30 and 8 degrees south latitude and between 124 degrees and 135 degrees east longitude (Moluccas in Figures, 1996). The land is mountainous and lakes can be found in almost all regencies. There are 16 mountains, the highest being Mount Binaya with an altitude of 3,055 m, located on the island of Seram, in central Moluccas. Administratively, the province of Moluccas consists of four regencies (Kabupaten), namely, southeast Maluku, central Maluku, north Maluku, and central Halmahera; one municipality (Kotamadya Ambon); fifty six (56) districts (Kecamatan) and 1,516 villages (desa). The focus of this field research,the Aru Islands, is located in the southeast Moluccas (see map). Dobo, the capital of Aru is about three hours by Cessna aircraft from Ambon City or one night by ship. The Aru Islands covers 6,269 sq km, of which the land area is 1,200 sq km, divided into 5 big islands and many small islands. The five big islands are: Trangan, Maikoor, Wokam, Kobror,and Kola. The Aru district consists of 119 villages, including 117 larger villages (desa), and 2 hamlets (kelurahan), Siwalima and Galedubu, located in Dobo. 2. Climate The Moluccas Islands have a tropical and seasonal climate, which is very much affected by the seas and the rhythm of the seasonal climate which prevails here. There are two seasons in the Aru Islands. The west season is from October to March, and is characterised by strong winds, and abundant fish, which is a bounty for fishermen, whose incomes rapidly are good in this season. The east season is from April to August, and is characterised by lighter winds, a lack of fish, and poorer fishing conditions. September is the transitional month, usually accompanied by strong winds and rain. According to the Meteorological and Geophysical Agency of the Moluccas, the average temperature ranges from 24.2 to 27.3 degrees C. The minimum and maximum temperatures at Geser are 20.5 C and 29.0 degrees C. Humidity in the Moluccas is relatively high, with averages ranging from 74.0 to 87.5 percent, owing to the tropical and maritime character of the region. 3. Fauna and Flora There are many animals in Aru island, includingdeer, pig, crocodile, dog, macropus major (kanguru), civet (kastuari), and cassowary (kasuari), etc. Birds include cendrawasih (bird of paradise), red nuri, and kakak tua (white, red, black (king) and green cockatoo)(Burton, 1962). The catching of some birds is strictly forbidden for local people by the Nature Protection and Conservation Agency of the Ministry of Forestry, such as cendrawasih and kakak tua. However, but in reality the trading of birds still takes place and is difficult to control in the field. Maluku is rich in forest resources. The total forest area is 5,758,172 ha. The forests are divided into three categories: protection forest occupying 1,809,634 ha and designated to preserve water resources, prevent soil erosion and conserve the overall environment; conservation forest occupying 2,294,913 ha, which can be converted to other land uses; and limited production forest occupying 1,653,525 ha which can be harvested under government-approved management plans. Thirty-six logging companies are registered and operate for plywood production in some parts of the regencies (Moluccas in Figures, 1996: 347-349). This research was conducted in Southeast Maluku which has 261,882 ha for limited production forest, 207,116 ha for conservation forest, and 26,260 ha for protected forest. This research concentrates on the Aru Islands contain 66.487 ha of nature conservation forest, 217,866 ha of limited production forest, and 457.991 ha of conservation forest. one logging company is working in Aru, P.T. Budhi Nyata, which is a the branch of Jayanti Group Logging based Sk No.114/Kpts/II/1989 with 98,000 ha of forest. Many species of trees are logged, including kayu Besi (Eusideroxylon Zwageri), kayu Kenari (Canarium amboinense) kayu Gofasa (Vitex cofassus), kayu Merah (Eugenia Rumphii), and kayu Bawang. (Dysoxylum euphlebium). In addition, local people cut kayu Burung, kayu Dompet, kayu Nyato, and kayu Gofasa for house-building and furniture-making. Budhi Nyata absorbs 312 workers, some of whom are locals, but the majority of workers come from outside the Aru Islands. Forest degradation is occurring on the islands, for example onWokam and Maikor Islands. The main causes are the lack of control by forest administrators over the exploitation of forests by Budhi Nyata,………
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