Universitas Indonesia Conferences, The 8th International Symposium of Journal Antropologi Indonesia

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Tilling the Peatland: The Transition of Coastal Community Towards Land-based Accumulation in Bakongan, South Aceh
Muhammad Syafiq, Quadi Azam

Last modified: 2022-06-06


The peatlands frontier in Bakongan of South Aceh was once considered an unexploited ‘wasteland’, a potential area for two conflicting development schemes: conservation and oil palm plantation. The latter has been much greater along with interest in the palm oil economy since the post-civil war in Aceh, which was characterized by the opportunity to create the peatlands frontier as a new kind of environmental subject. It began with local authorities prompting the release of a part of the national park areas, allocating and distributing the land to the coastal communities of Bakongan who were the victims of the 2014 tsunami. This study provides an account of small-scale fishers who have been encouraged to leave their previous livelihoods by turning and tilling the peatlands to engage in palm oil production. It shows that the formal land distribution includes weak measures to protect the beneficiaries transitioning towards land-based accumulation, leaving them vulnerable to dispossession or loss of land.

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