Indonesia possesses some of world’s richest forests in terms of biodiversity, carbon values and sheer beauty.
The nation’s forests have fostered a diversity of cultural systems and are home to around 32,000 forest villages representing 36 percent of the country’s rural population. For centuries, rural communities have utilized and protected these forests, recognizing their economic, cultural and spiritual importance.
Communities act as stewards of endangered biodiversity and terrestrial carbon stocks that must be retained to slow global climate change. Yet, the important national and global services that Indonesia’s forest communities provide are often poorly understood or recognized by planners and the public.
During the colonial period, the rights of forest people were largely unrecognized under agrarian laws that claimed vast forest regions as state land....