“Critical note about the loss of natural forests in Indonesia”
Since the last few decades, natural forests in Indonesia have continued to experience serious deforestation (loss of natural forest cover) and have experienced a decline in both quantity and quality. The condition of natural forests in 2017 was an accumulation of weak forest governance that occurred from time to time. Changes of regimes and policy developments in forest management have not been able to bring about the good forest governance.
Slowly but surely, the natural forests continue to experience tremendous shrinkage. The results of the FWI analysis from year 2000 to 2017 have shown that the deforestation rate is still high. In the year 2000 to 2009, Indonesia lost natural forests of 1.4 million hectare per year. The period of year 2009 to 2013, the forest loss has decreased to 1.1 million hectare per year. It has increased again in the period of 2013-2017 to 1.4 million hectare per year.
In the past, timber commodification has always been the core of forest exploitation as the country’s most reliable source of income and foreign exchange. The forestry sector once had a major role in the recovery of the national economy in the era of the 1970s, before it was taken over by the oil and gas sector. The forestry sector experienced rapid growth and drove the exports for the economy in the 1980s and 1990s, even though this expansion was achieved at the expense of forests, because forestry practices were not sustainable (PKHI, 2001).
Forest destruction is caused by forest governance policies that are influenced by global economic forces. This is evident in the political economy policies that are pro-investment, for both foreign and domestic investments, in the forestry, agriculture and mining sectors. These policies aim to increase the economic development, which have contributed to forest destruction in Indonesia. This pro- investment political economy policy was very evident in the colonial era, New Order era and post-New Order era.1
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