It is now recognized that addressing deforestation and forest and peatlands degradation and destruction in Indonesia requires improvements to land and forest governance. It is also accepted that further research is required into this large field of study and practice. In particular needs have been identified for better links between theory and practice, and between academic analysis and work in the field. To respond to this gap, this study investigates the underlying drivers of deforestation, and forest and peatlands degradation and destruction (herein called deforestation and peatlands degradation) with the intention of identifying interventions that will improve land and forest governance in Indonesia. Through a Delphi process, a panel of experts on forest and land governance identified three main drivers of deforestation and peatlands degradation. These were: (1) unclear land tenure and uncertain land classification (agreed by 88% of respondents); (2) business and political interests that influence policy-making and regulations (70% agreement) and (3) ineffective land use planning (53% agreement).
In response, the panel recommended three priority governance interventions relating to the following issues: (1) increasing the capacity of local communities to manage and monitor forests and natural resources (65% agreement); (2) gazetting forests to clarify land boundaries and determine which areas should be village, community and state forest zone (58% agreement); (3) integrating participatory maps into spatial plans to protect local communities and indigenous peoples' development needs (53% agreement). A research theme with the highest agreement was the following: action research involving the government, private sector and community (64% agreement).
This study finds that there is strong support for community level approaches to forest management. Securing community forest tenure through clarifying land claims and integrating local land tenure into spatial planning is a key step to achieving sustainable forest management. The concluding recommendations suggest that the most efficacious interventions to be taken by researchers, government, donors and civil society to improve Indonesia's forest and land governance processes include: Support community institutions; Accelerate forest gazettement using local community institutions to clarify community forest claims; Integrate participatory maps into spatial plans; Support local communities' ability to monitor forests; Conduct action research involving all stakeholders; Address financing of the forest and land sector; Engage political economy analysis.