Forest Management Unit (FMU) is the spearhead of forest management at the site level in the Republic of Indonesia. Conceptually, the presence of FMU replaces the portion of forest management from forest administrator to forest manager. Thus, it is expected to be able to solve the problems that have been collided among actors (society, country, company). For example, the overlapping permits cases and social conflicts. FMU, in its context as the mandate of Act No. 41 of 1999 regarding the Forestry, should be able to provide legal protection for anyone, including protect the
indigenous people who have lived and utilize the forest areas long before the concept of forest management existed.
The process of FMU development has experienced several obstacles in the past decade. For example, the establishment of FMU areas in each province divided forest areas into FMU areas that were not fully accepted by society. A portrait of the review results by FWI in 5 provinces showed that the stagnant of FMU development started from the boundaries arrangement process, which tended to fulfill the administrative needs only. The community legitimacy often became the other side that was accidentally missed, so it became a past burden for FMU that was needed to be resolved first.
Until 2014, since the release of Act No. 23 of 2014 regarding the Regional Government, it was effectively implemented in last 2016, which ordered to retract all forest management authorities by FMU to the Province Government Behind the difficulty in the process of personnel delegation, funding, facilities and infrastructures, and documents (P3D) that caused slow of FMU institution establishment in each province, it caused a vacuum in forest management and even the termination of field staff due to the Province Government inability to pay contract workers. Since the chaotic process of FMU development after the implementation of Act No. 23 of 2014 regarding the Regional government was passed. At least in early 2017, the FMU institution began to be re-established by the Governor in each province with the management area that had merger and separation.
In the book entitled Panduan Penilaian Kinerja Pembangunan dan Pelaksanaan Pengelolaan Hutan di Wilayah KPH versi 2.0, there are 9 criteria, 28 indicators, and 62 quality elements. It explains the important factor of forest management that should be internalized in every plan and realization of forest development and management in the FMU areas that is held by the Government or Regional Government.
Consider the importance of FMU in forest management in Indonesia, at least at 2015 until 2019, FWI has conducted the assessment in the performance of FMU development in 8 FMU areas. Three of them are the FMU that the management portrait is discussed in this publication,which is the KPHL Bukit Barisan of West Sumatera, KPHL Unit I Aceh, and FMU Keerom Papua. The three FMUs are considered to have unique characteristics from the regional aspects, social economic conditions, institutions, governmental authorities, and community’s social-economy conditions.