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

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Agrarian Source of Peatland Degradation: Origin, Condition and Solution- The Case at Riau. Sumatra, Indonesia
Kosuke Mizuno

Last modified: 2022-06-06


Peatland in Indonesia is seriously degraded especially since 1980’s. Peatland has been largely explored for oil palm, and timber plantation. Many factors have contributed to the degradation. One of the most important, but usually neglected is agrarian factor. Majority of peatlands are located at Kawasan Hutan (State designated forest area), because peatlands are characteristically not suited for agriculture, and has been scarcely settled historically. But along with the large scale exploration of peatland since 1980’s, many people in-flew the area, and settled at the borders between peatland and non-peatland while many people intruded the peatland dome area, and cleared lands.

This study followed the agrarian changes of peatland area since the colonial era at a village of peatland area in Bengkalis District, Riau Province, especially the formation of property rights on peatland. According to the Forestry Law in 1998, all people who make use of the land at Kawasan Hutan should get permit from the Government. Most of the area of the village is located at the Kawasan Hutan, on the other hand nobody have gotten the permit from the Government except the Company that explored the vast area for Industrial Timber Plantation (HTI). Peatland there has experienced repeated fire since the end of 1990’s, and seriously degraded since then. Since 2016 when the Government set up the Peatland Restoration Agency, many efforts have been done to restore the peatland. This study analyzed the process of degradation and rehabilitation from the viewpoint of agrarian changes and property rights on the Kawasan Hutan peatland area based on author’s anthropological field works since 2010 until now, especially on recent changes taken place for 2017-2022. How are these changes of agrarian and property right related to the recent degradation and rehabilitation of peatlands?


Keywords: Peatland, degradation, agrarian changes, property rights, Kawasan Hutan


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