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Natural hazards and their management

The categorization of hazards as 'natural' and 'human' (or man-made) is undoubtedly an over-simplification and has been criticized as such. Morren (1983: 285) argues that the economic and political causes of hazards are frequently overlooked and 'particular hazard events must be put in a social, material, and historical context including other hazard events and environmental problems and responses'. The problems of natural hazards and man's adjustments to them have been the subject of research by geographers for more than 50 years.

In the United States, Barrows' (1923) observations regarding the concept of human adjustment to the environment provided the theoretical basis. Later, White (1945) and his colleagues at the University of Chicago developed theoretical concepts of human adjustments to natural hazards, based initially on studies of flood hazards in the United States (Burton, 1962; Kates, 1962, 1965; Murphy, 1958; Sheaffer, 1960; White, 1961, 1964; White et al., 1958). Much later still, a number of valuable alternative hypotheses concerning human responses to natural hazards were discussed by Hewitt (1983c) and his colleagues.

Occupancy of Hazardous Areas

Kates (1971) defined natural hazards as the interrelationships between destructive natural events and systems of human use of the environment. Thus, it is the combination of occupancy of an area by people and a destructive event which creates the hazard. Consequently, the question of why people persist in occupying hazardous areas is an important part of the general subject of research.

White (1974) postulated that people continue to live in regions which they know to be hazardous for several reasons. First, the area may offer superior economic opportunities. A coastal location, for instance, might provide an ideal site for a hotel-resort complex. A fisherman must locate his boat on the waterfront, and he frequently finds that by locating his home nearby he saves time and money. Secondly, acceptable alternative opportunities may not be available. A coastal resident may find it impossible to change his occupation from one based on marine-related activities. The farmer who occupies a flood plain cannot grow his crops as efficiently in another location, nor can he conveniently change to another occupation. Thirdly, the occupant of a hazardous zone may have short-term time horizons. He believes that the hazardous event will not occur during the period of time that he plans to occupy the area. Finally, if the occupant has high ratios of reserves to potential losses, he can afford to take a chance; a natural disaster will not ruin him.

To these four reasons can be added the possibility that persons living in hazard-prone areas simply fail to perceive the true degree of risk. People have a natural tendency to believe that disasters will affect others, not themselves (Mitchell. 1974: 323). The question of how they choose an acceptable degree of risk in exchange for the perceived advantages of their location continues to be the object of speculation. A person selecting an option on the basis of assessment of all the anticipated outcomes is using expected utility methods. More likely, a subjective view of probabilities will be employed, or in technical parlance, subjective expected utility methods. If the choice is made by 'subjective assessment of utility, with something less than the goal of choosing the maximum incremental returns, he is using bounded rational methods' (Burton, Kates and White, 1978: 49).

Not only is there a tendency for people to live in hazardous areas, but there is a strong compulsion for those previously subjected to a disaster to want to rebuild their homes and businesses in the same dangerous locations, despite suffering extreme losses (Burton, 1972; Burton and Kates, 1964; Burton, Kates and White, 1968). The return is frequently followed by large capital investments with only minimal provision for future hazard losses (Bowden, 1970; Kates, 1970). Sometimes, public relief and rehabilitation programmes impede attempts to reconstruct facilities in less at risk areas. Thus, the occupants are prevented, in a sense, from leaving the hazardous zone by various institutional and social factors (Islam, 1972; Kates, 1970).

The five explanations presented above may not tell the whole story. The main reason for continuing to occupy hazardous areas could be much simpler. People may simply have no choice. As Susman, O'Keefe and Wisner (1983: 278) eloquently note, 'they stream back to the chars of the Bay of Bengal only weeks after wind and water has swept away all signs of human life', although modern adjustments to hazards are precluded by lack of capital, effective organizations for disaster relief, and other resources to protect human life and property. The cost of natural hazards is rising, as is vulnerability despite large-scale government efforts to reduce risks.

There is some evidence that solutions which emphasize technology are increasing rather than decreasing the degree of risk (White and Haas, 1975: 1). Some of the increase in vulnerability is due to population shifts into hazardous areas, in the belief that technological solutions have made the hazard negligible. Many high-risk areas are coastal, and people simply want to live near the seashore. The greater mobility of modern populations means that many people now live in unfamiliar surroundings. They are unaware of the risks associated with their locations and are unfamiliar with available protective measures, shelters or evacuation routes (White and Haas, 1975: 8).

Adaptation and Adjustment

Since people live with natural hazards, they must find means to adapt to the hazardous conditions. Occurrences should not be a surprise: 'most natural disasters, or most damages in them, are characteristic rather than accidental features of the places and societies where they occur' (Hewitt, 1983b: 25), and 'a careful look at a century or two of history in the hazard-prone regions of today generally shows the sorts of geophysical processes associated with disaster to be entirely likely, even inevitable' (Hewitt, 1983b: 26). Numerous examples include tsunamis on the Sanriku coast of Japan and in Hilo, Hawaii; cyclones in Bangladesh; earthquakes in known highly seismic areas on the 'Ring of Fire'; and eruptions of active or recently dormant volcanoes, such as Mount Pinatubo.

Adaptation has been defined as a 'long-term arrangement of activity to take account of the threat of natural extremes' (White and Haas, 1975: 57). Thus, the farmer who harvests his crop before the onset of heavy monsoon rains is adapting; so too is the fisherman who stops his seagoing activities prior to the start of the typhoon season. Adaptation is merely living with the hazard.

Adjustment, on the other hand, consists of 'all those intentional actions which are taken to cope with the risk and uncertainty of natural events' (White and Haas, 1975: 57). Adjustments may take the form of modifying the cause of the hazard. An example would be seeding of clouds to cause rain and thus relieve drought conditions. Reducing the degree of vulnerability to the hazardous event is another class of adjustment. Cox (1978, personal communication) suggests that this modification can be accomplished by: (i) avoidance of the hazard through the use of seawalls, levees or breakwaters, or by raising the ground above flood level; (ii) resisting the hazard by such means as flood-proofing construction or earthquake-resistant design; (iii) the use of warning systems and evacuation of personnel and movable property to minimize exposure to the hazard; (iv) physical insurance, an example of which is the storage of water in tanks as a protection against drought; (v) economic insurance, in the form of a national flood insurance programme, for instance; and (vi) change of land use to reduce the level of occupancy of the hazardous area.

White (1974: 4 5) considered the adjustment to natural hazards in a different way. He defined adjustments according to the technological level of the society and of the strategy adopted, using the categories of folk or pre-industrial, modern technological or industrial and comprehensive or post-industrial:

  1. Folk adjustments are carried out by societies which have not developed a high degree of technology. There is no attempt to control nature, merely living in harmony with it, accepting the degree of risk imposed. According to White, such modifications are carried out by individuals or small groups. are easily abandoned when found to be unsuitable and have low capital requirements.
  2. Modern technological, or industrial, adjustments attempt to exercise some control over nature. They are characterized by high capital requirements, are usually inflexible and require complex social organizations to be effective.
  3. Comprehensive, or postindustrial, adjustment schemes utilize the best features of the folk and modern technological methods. They employ technology for maximum effectiveness, but also strive for flexibility and the avoidance of high capital requirements; and societies would attempt both to live in harmony with nature and to modify it to suit human needs.

The three general methods of adjustment can be considered stages. Most societies have advanced beyond the folk stage to the technological stage. Some are approaching the comprehensive stage, as new insights into the problem of hazard management and new research techniques are developed. Burton, Kates and White (1978: 217) recognize a mixed stage between folk and industrial. Mixed societies are found in developing nations where traditional adjustments, characteristic of folk societies, are being replaced by actions of national governments.

In the technological stage, White and Haas (1975: 14) recognize five general adjustment methods. These are relief and rehabilitation, insurance, warning systems, technological aids and land-use management. Relief and rehabilitation following a natural disaster are routinely provided in most modern societies. Most frequently, a government organization has the responsibility, and the necessary funds are provided from the treasury. Thus, all citizens of the community, whether directly affected by the disaster or not, share the financial burdens. White and Haas (1975: 3) have pointed out that the routine provision of relief and rehabilitation funds to victims contributes to a feeling of complacency and, in effect, encourages continued occupancy or reoccupancy of the hazard zone.

This tendency could also apply to the second adjustment method-insurance. Another possible disadvantage of insurance is that people who do not foresee the hazard are not likely to purchase insurance, even a low-cost subsidized type. Those who most need the protection are least likely to have it. Kunreuther (1973: 45) noted that 'although the evidence suggests that people do not voluntarily purchase insurance even if it is subsidized, it is not commonly known what factors are responsible for this behavior'.

Three integrated processes make up basic warning systems: evaluation, dissemination and response (White and Haas, 1975: 187). The effectiveness of the first process, evaluation, is dependent on the nature of the hazard and the level of technology which can be employed to understand and predict the occurrence of the event. In the case of flood prediction, for instance, if rainfall can be measured in the headwater areas of a large river basin, or if a system of gauges is in operation upstream on a long river, warnings of potential flooding downstream are likely to be accurate. On the other hand, earthquake forecasting has not yet reached the same level of reliability. The phenomenon is not as well understood, and the equipment is not yet available to measure the strains within the earth with sufficient accuracy to enable earthquake forecasts to be made with confidence.

Dissemination of the results of evaluation requires a reliable communication system. The public response to the warning depends on the efficiency of the first two phases. If the evaluation of the hazard is uniformly accurate and the information is reliably transmitted to the target population, the public response is likely to be positive. If, on the other hand, confidence in the evaluation potential of the operators of the warning system is lacking, or the information is not disseminated to the majority of those subject to the hazard, the response is unlikely to be positive; the warnings will be ignored.

Technological aids consist of various protective works, ranging from the planting of trees and the emplacement of sandbags to serve as flood breaks, to such elaborate and expensive structures as levees, seawalls, breakwaters and dams. The final adjustment method, land-use management, is a legal device instituted by governments, to preclude certain uses of land in areas subject to natural hazards; for example, in an area subject to flooding, high-density residential use might be forbidden, but agricultural use is permitted. In particularly hazardous areas, only open-space zoning might be allowed, and no permanent habitation or economic investment in buildings or land preparation is permitted. Scientific research, providing information on which the five basic adjustment methods may be based, can, of itself', be considered an adjustment method.

It is, of course, possible to employ more than one adjustment method. Warning systems can be used in conjunction with technological aids or land-use management and, generally, relief and rehabilitation measures will be instituted in modern industrialized societies in addition to, and regardless of, any other adjustment schemes employed. In the case of some hazards, such as floods and tsunamis, the alternative adjustment methods are technological aids and land-use controls, either one of which can operate in conjunction with a warning system.

The choice of an approach will depend, among other things, on the one who makes the decisions. White (1961) and Kates (1971) refer to this person as a 'manager', although it is clear that the decision may actually be made by a legislative body. The selection will be dependent on the manager's perception of the hazard, his awareness of the range of possible adjustments and his evaluation of these adjustments in terms of suitability, technical feasibility, economic efficiency and social acceptability. Before the decision is made, there may be hearings in which technical testimony is presented, and the opinions of the public are solicited. Engineering studies and benefit-cost analyses are frequently part of the decision-making process. The final judgement may consider one or more of the above factors, as well as strictly political ones.

Classification of Adjustments by Time-scale

Another potentially useful way to classify natural-hazard adjustments is to categorize them as either pre-event or post-event. Warning systems, research, land-use controls, insurance and technological aids are pre-event adjustments. Post-event adjustments include rebuilding, and relief and rehabilitation. An extension of this simple classification scheme could employ a larger number of time frames.

Basic research into the geophysical aspects of the natural hazard is a very long-range tool, while applied research (designed specifically to develop or improve warning systems), insurance programmes, land-use management methods or technological aids would be of long range. Medium-range actions include the establishment of insurance, land-use management, technological aids and education programmes. The provision of warnings and evacuation prior to an event are examples of short-range, pre-event measures. Evacuation and rescue efforts during the emergency are immediate and rebuilding; relief and rehabilitation occur post-event.

Desirable and Undesirable Adjustments

Adjustments to natural hazards can also be considered desirable or undesirable. Clearly, activities such as looting and profiteering are undesirable, while research, warning systems and education would be considered desirable by most people. Evacuation, which can take place before, during or immediately after the disaster, is carried out only because the individual evacuees or government organizations consider it necessary. In that sense, it is desirable.

All other natural-hazard responses are of questionable desirability, since they may result in more, rather than less, hazard in the future. Relief and rehabilitation measures and insurance have the effect of spreading the costs among a larger number of people. There is a tendency therefore to continue to occupy these areas, since the price will be paid by others, not just by those who may be ignorant, foolish or poor enough to continue to take the risks. Technological aids-trees, breakwaters, seawalls and others can sometimes engender a false sense of security, and they may actually result in increased use of the hazardous area. All structures are subject to failure if the hazardous event is of greater magnitude than anticipated.

Land-use management imposes hardships on people. They may be forced to move to less desirable locations. Moreover, the success of this method of adjustment requires accurate assessment of the hazardous area, a difficult process at best. The area re-zoned might not be large enough, and the next flood or tsunami could damage a nearby region which was previously considered to be safe. Conversely, too large an area might be re-zoned, at considerable additional expense both to government and individuals. Building codes must ensure that constructions will withstand damage during subsequent hazardous events. If the requirements are not stringent enough, there will be damage; if they are excessive, unnecessary expense is incurred. In practice, an acceptable degree of calculated risk must be established and the land-use controls and building codes determined accordingly.

Technological and Legal/Social Adjustments

Finally, some adjustments seem naturally to employ technology, and others might be considered to be legal or social measures. The technological aids recognized by White and Haas (1975) obviously fall into the technological category, while land-use controls, insurance, education, and relief and rehabilitation measures are classed as legal or social responses in this study, although ideally they should be based on a scientific knowledge of the hazard. Warning systems, which usually operate in conjunction with education and prior delineation of hazardous areas, have elements of both technological and legal/social responses.


A number of places in South-East Asia are threatened by natural, human or a combination of both human and natural events of a catastrophic or hazardous nature. Human-induced threats can be controlled by sensible regulations and practices. Natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods or volcanic eruptions will happen, regardless of the actions or decisions of individuals or governments, but the effects can be mitigated by technology, suitable landuse controls, provision of insurance, relief and rehabilitation measures and efficient warning systems. Places will always be threatened, but information concerning the nature of the threats (including their intensity and frequency), coupled with appropriate decisions by people acting through their governments or as individuals, can lead to adaptations or adjustments to hazards which will save both lives and property.

The tragedy of the open access

Forest management in Nepal
Managing forest resources in Indonesia
Managing forest resources in Thailand and the Philippines
Management of marine resources
Discussion of common property management



THIS paper argues that the rise of state control of forest and marine resources has often been at the expense of indigenous management systems. The resulting conflict between state resource-management policies and local resource-use systems is a major cause of degradation and mismanagement. In terms of total land area, perhaps the leading threat to 'places' in South-East Asia arises because governments have destroyed local commonproperty systems without establishing viable alternative management structures.

Since the publication of The Tragedy of the Commons (Hardin, 1968), commonproperty systems have become the subject of careful study by economists, sociologists, anthropologists, social geographers, historians and political scientists. This work has clarified some of the myths and confusion associated with the 'tragedy'. Contrary to public perception, common-property systems are not free-for-alls. They consist of welldefined ownership arrangements within which management rules are developed, group size is known and enforced, incentives exist for co-owners to follow accepted institutional arrangements, and sanctions work to ensure compliance (Bromley and Cernea, 1989).

Resource degradation often originates in the destruction of local-level institutional arrangements whose very purpose was to create sustainable resource-use patterns. When these institutional arrangements are undermined or destroyed, common-property regimes are gradually converted to open access-a free-for-all in which the rule of capture drives each player to get as much as possible before others do. While this has been referred to as the 'tragedy of the commons', it is, in reality, the 'tragedy of the open access' (Bromley and Cernea, 1989).

Many of the common-property management regimes that once existed throughout Asia have collapsed in recent decades under a variety of pressures (Jodha, 1990). Population growth and commercialization of forest products are two of the major factors behind this breakdown. But perhaps the greatest influence has been the extension and intensification of state authority that has placed control of rural communities and resources in the hands of government agencies and corporations that lack either the will or the means to manage forests in a sustainable manner. Through this process, communities lose the means to restrict use of state forest land, while government forestry personnel lack the organizational capacity to regulate access (Poffenberger, 1990b).

This problem is not insignificant. In the Philippines, for example, more than 50 per cent of the country's total land area is upland forest under the authority of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) (Lynch and Talbott, 1988), and over 14 million indigenous people and migrant settlers live inside state forests (Cruz, 1986a). In Indonesia, the Ministry of Forestry, with a staff of 50,000, attempts to regulate human use of 74 per cent of the nation's entire land area (Poffenberger, 1990b). Much of the state-claimed forest land is inhabited by swidden and sedentary farming communities. Estimates of the numbers living on or near this land range up to 30 40 million people (Poffenberger, 1990c: 101). In Thailand, the Royal Forest Department (RFD), with a staff of 7,000, administers 40 per cent of the land area (Poffenberger, 1990b). While the governments of South-East Asia have been relatively successful in claiming large areas of forest for the nation, they have been less successful in establishing management structures that ensure the sustainable use of this land.

The arguments that apply to forests apply to coastal and marine environments as well. Coastal communities of small-scale fishermen use a variety of marine tenure practices, rules and institutions, which historically have regulated access to and pressures upon the marine coastal environments (Zerner, 1990). Today, many of these systems are being converted into government-owned regimes that do not recognize community rights. Driven by the destruction of their traditional management systems, impoverished coastal residents themselves become the cause of further biotic and habitat impoverishment.

The discussion begins with a brief description of forest tenure in Nepal, chosen because the history of forest tenure demonstrates the argument made here in a relatively simple and straightforward manner. The chapter then proceeds to use examples from South-East Asia to demonstrate how governments have destroyed indigenous management systems and left large areas of forest unprotected. Attempts by forest departments in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines to develop more sustainable management systems are described. The conclusion suggests that part of the solution to this problem lies in empowering local communities to manage their local resources.

Forest management in Nepal

Before 1950, most forests in Nepal were managed either as common-property resources by groups living in and around the forest or as private resources by landowners granted this right by the monarch. The diversity of management systems found across Nepal is reviewed by Fisher (1991). In 1957, the government sought to increase its control over the nation's natural resources through nationalization of forests. The Department of Forests, however, did not, and does not yet, have the financial or personnel resources to manage the estimated 30,000 forest patches (King and Shepherd, 1987). The 1957 nationalization undermined the customary rights of communities to use forests and did not replace these rights with an alternative management system (Bajracharya, 1983; Messerschmidt, 1986; Wallace, 1981). The nationalization act also forbade the cutting of green forest products, which are essential to the survival of most people, and thereby placed the Department of Forests personnel in direct conflict with local forest users (Nield, 1985).

Faced with large-scale forest destruction and extensive land degradation, the Nepalese government realized that sustainable forest management required the involvement of local people. New laws passed in the mid-1970s turned up to 125 hectares of degraded lands (Panchayat Forest) and 500 hectares of existing forests (Panchayat Protected Forest) over to each local government unit (Manandhar, 1981).

The destruction and eventual revival of a forest-management system is illustrated by a village in the middle hills of Nepal, where the author studied forest condition and forestuse practices in 1980 and again in 1990. The most valuable forests in this village were traditionally managed by members of the local elite who were granted this privilege (birtha) by the monarch. In 1957, they were nationalized and the private managers (mukiya) lost all control. As a consequence, this land became open-access, managed neither by the local community nor the government.

In 1980, there were approximately 26 trees per hectare on open-access forest land in this village with a total wood volume of 9 cubic metres per hectare (J. M. Fox, 1983). In 1990, the corresponding figures were 450 and 46 (J. M. Fox, 1991). In the intervening decade, the population of the village continued to grow at an annual rate of approximately 3 per cent (from 600 to 750 people), and none of the local forests had been officially recognized as village forests. But something important had happened-the villagers, sensing the change in government forest policy, had initiated forest-protection committees to exert control over the availability of forest products (J. M. Fox, 1991). The future of the seven forest-protection committees established by this village now depends on the direction of government forest-management policy. To the extent that the government openly supports these 'users' committees', they may continue to exert a positive influence on forest-use practices.

This village presents a clear example where the rise of state control over forest lands destroyed a local system of management, resulting in increased forest destruction and land degradation. When the government returned control of forest lands to the community (if not formally, at least in the minds of the people), the villagers were able to establish efficient mechanisms for managing forest-use practices. The Nepalese government is not idealistic; it is not returning forest lands to local management out of a sense of fairness or equity, nor does it underestimate the difficulty of achieving stable local management. The government does, however, recognize that the only method of stopping forest degradation is to develop collaborative schemes that bring foresters and communities together in using and protecting the forests for the good of the nation and rural people.

Managing forest resources in Indonesia

In South-East Asia, the situation is more complex than it is in Nepal, primarily because of the role of business interests, both national and foreign, as discussed by Potter (Chapter 5). Logging and population expansion are the primary forces driving deforestation. Governments in search of revenues have encouraged rapid timber exploitation. Population growth floods the forests with migrants searching for farmland. While the forestry establishment frequently blames peasant and tribal communities for forest destruction, government officials support the commercial exploitation of vast areas by multinational and local timber companies. Laws regulating forest ownership reflect the concerns of governments in promoting the commercialization of timber harvesting and in controlling the use of forests by native people. Several recent publications have reviewed the history of forest tenure legislation in South-East Asia (Barber, 1989b; Lynch, 1984; Pragtong and Thomas, 1990; Zerner, 1990).

Brookfield (Chapter 1, p. 7) has argued that in South-East Asia, 'in both colonial and post-colonial times, the environment has been treated as an open-access common resource around private property, and that there is a need to develop the institutions of a managed commons'. This chapter lends support to that argument by considering examples of the destruction of indigenous systems of land management in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines and by reviewing attempts in the 1980s by these countries to facilitate local management. An example of coastal-resource management in Indonesia is also presented.

Public Policy and Forest Management in the Outer Islands of Indonesia

Indonesia is often described as consisting of Java and the other 13,000 or more islands-the outer islands. The outer islands account for 93 per cent of the land mass of Indonesia, but only 37 per cent of the population (Biro Pusat Statistik, 1986). They contain nearly all of the country's forests (98 per cent); 78.4 per cent of the area is controlled by the Ministry of Forestry (1986). Indonesia's tropical forests contain the most biologically rich ecosystems in the world and her forest area encompasses more than half of the rain forests remaining in tropical Asia (FAO' 1986).

Traditional Forest Management among the Dayaks

The effect of government policies on local systems of forest management in the outer islands can be seen in the province of West Kalimantan. Customary law (hukum adat) has long governed the patterns of forest management among Dayak swidden cultivators in the province. The rights to convert or use particular forests are conceived in nested sets of adat access rules. These rights vary slightly among villages and tribal groups. The broadest adat realm consists of all Dayaks in the same language group who live in contiguous villages and who conceive 'their territory' as including the forest falling within particular geographical markers such as mountain ranges or rivers. The next largest territory consists of three or four villages sharing the same language and a 'lieutenant' customary law (temenggung adat).

Privatization of forest resources is recognized as a result of prior claims or the investment of labour in a product's management (that is, production, protection or maintenance). Swidden fields provide an obvious example of this principle. In addition, clearing the brush around a tree to facilitate exploitation imparts rights to the clearer. Similarly, protecting a resin (Agathis) tree from fire during swidden clearing, or wounding the tree to collect its sap or resin, involves the investment of labour in tree management. Planting trees in the forest or in old swiddens clearly imparts private rights to the planter.

Those who break these rules are required to pay fines to the wronged party and to sponsor a meal between the parties concerned and the arbitrators (adat experts). There is also the psychological fine of having been publicly shamed. The fear of this shame (ma/u) is arguably a more powerful deterrent to would-be rule-breakers than the economic costs. Outsiders wishing to extract forest products from a village's territory are required to pay a 'tax' to the village as common-property owner or, if applicable, to a claimant who has been vested with private rights by prior claim and management. In the past, this payment has been 20 per cent of the harvested product.

The decision-making process by which access to a resource is granted once it becomes scarce is important. In a village called Sungai Dalam, (1) scarce resources were valued more highly than their exchange value on the local market would have dictated; for example, slender rattans are used for making baskets, mats and tools for the production and storage of rice. Rattan mats and baskets are also an important source of cash income. In 1989, no one in this village would sell their baskets because rattan sources were dwindling. The villagers did not cultivate rattan; rather they limited its use and sale.

Legal Forest Tenure in Indonesia

The substantive framework for forestry policy in Indonesia is the Basic Forestry Law of 1967 (Undang-Undang Pokok Kehutanan Nomor 5 Tahun 1967). It is a comprehensive statement of state forestry policy and the primary source of authority and guidance for the structure of forest administration, setting of regulations and policy implementation. The Constitution of 1945 (Article 5) is reaffirmed by this statement: 'A]l forests inside the Indonesian Territory, including their natural resources, are controlled by the State.' The law makes it clear that the extent of forest lands is determined by state definition, not by forest cover: 'forest areas' are zones with or without trees that have been designated by the government as forest (clarification to Article 4) (Barber and Churchill, 1987).

The role of adat in the Basic Forestry Law is subordinate to national law and policy. Unlike the Basic Agrarian Law of 1960, the Basic Forestry Law does not say that adat is the foundation for forest land use; instead, it clearly states that adat must not interfere with the implementation of forestry law and policy as mandated in the Basic Forestry Law (Article 17): 'Implementation of social rights, traditional rights as well as individual rights to obtain advantage from forests, must not interfere with the goals stated in this law' (Barber and Churchill, 1987).

The Impact of Conflicting Tenure Systems on the Extraction of Ironwood: A Case-study

Ironwood (Eusideroxylon zwageri) extraction in Borneo is an example of how state tenure policies can accelerate destruction of a common-property resource. Ironwood is perhaps the hardest, most dense tropical hardwood. Its most valuable characteristic is its resistance to termites and other woodeating insects and fungi. For this reason, the Dayaks have traditionally used this timber for house construction and roofing. Because of its weight and the lack of roads into Sungai Dalam, it was seldom cut for sale until 1983. Foresters typically considered ironwood as a 'people's species' because of its use in village subsistence systems, and because it is too dense and heavy to transport by water.

Opportunities to exploit forest products, particularly ironwood, were facilitated by roads built for the timber industry. First, there was a rapid individualization of all standing ironwood trees, regardless of their size and the needs of village households. As traders began to seek out ironwood, most village men hurried into their forest territory and painted their names on as many trees as they could. Formerly, only one or two trees would be claimed in advance, because this was sufficient to build a single structure for a household. The new practice resulted in claims by individuals to whole sections of the common territory. Traders made arrangements with individuals rather than the village as a whole; 'taxes' on contracted trees also went to individuals.

Next, a variety of tenure arrangements emerged for sharing rights, contracting trees, buying ironwood 'territories' and transferring rights. Then followed the development of a range of trading arrangements for selling the wood products. Villagers, however, were at a distinct disadvantage. Although they could buy or rent chain-saws and invest their labour in cutting and hauling timber to the roadside, they could not afford to buy or rent trucks, to pay the unofficial 'user fees' required of all non-company trucks using the logging roads or to buy fuel for their chain-saws. The lack of capital led to the development of working arrangements with outsiders. Neither the locals nor the outsiders tried to prevent the over-exploitation of ironwood or to protect micro-ecosystems where they might regenerate. Outsiders were unconcerned with the future of the local land and forest. Villagers, seeing outsiders flocking into their territory with the means to extract their forest products rapidly, responded by trying to benefit in whatever way possible before others.

To its credit, the forestry department had, in 1980, implemented a policy requiring permits to harvest minor forest products. This policy sought to formalize and to protect the rights of forest-dependent communities to harvest and sell commercial forest products through the establishment of formal state-controlled co-operatives. Three kinds of minor-product concessions were provided for in these HPHHs (Hak Pemungutan Hasil Hutan, permit to harvest forest products). Proposals and plans for an HPHH were to be submitted to the provincial forestry office by village KUDs (Koperasi Unit Desa, Village Unit Cooperatives, the state-created co-operatives).

In Sungai Dalam, however, the HPHH permits failed to stop the exploitation of ironwood, largely because villagers were never informed of their existence. Five or six years after the main logging road passed within walking distance of the village, no one in Sungai Dalam had heard of the HPHH permit system. Nor was a co-operative ever formed for the sale of forest products. In much of Kalimantan, no KUD has ever been established, either for food or forest-product marketing. Nor is it clear whether foresters or other officials should have organized the establishment of a KUD. When it was time to collect and sell ironwood, no officials ever encouraged the villagers to set up a KUD.

Today, the HPHH permits have been discontinued for wood collection in West Kalimantan, and ironwood production and trade are illegal activities. Because no one manages ironwood in the forest, it has become an open-access resource. The sub-district office does not attempt to manage the wood-cutting or trade. The timber company, which the forest service placed in charge of managing ironwood within its concession, is not willing to manage what the local people perceive as their forest resource. In addition, along with the traders, the company has a financial interest in the continuation of the trade. A traditional village system of management lacks both the legal basis and economic incentives to stop this destruction. Though locals realize the environmental and economic implications of their accelerated cutting of ironwood, they are practical about the implications of non-participation (that is, an absolute loss of benefits).

Commercial opportunity is the main driving force behind the destruction of ironwood in Sungai Dalam. Traditional adat management was not adapted to the constraints and opportunities of the modem economic system. However, it could be adapted to modern conditions if the forestry department would recognize the existence of a community system for controlling access to ironwood within locally defined territories, and if the department would support this system in procedures of conflict management.

The ironwood problem symbolizes the basic conflict of natural-resource management found in South-East Asia. Communities lack the authority and the incentive to restrict the use of state forest land. while the Ministry of Forestry lacks the organizational capacity to control access. In the early 1990s, the outer islands of Indonesia are unique in SouthEast Asia in that the Ministry has not yet developed any policy instruments that empower local people to manage local forest resources. It seems appropriate to suggest a more explicit approach to joint management of these lands. This requires a solid legal basis for recognizing traditional management institutions as embodied in local customary laws. as well as methods and sanctions for supporting these systems in procedures of conflict management. Both Thailand and the Philippines have been able to develop this legal framework.

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