Conservation Commentary: Privatizing Indonesia’s Conservation Efforts

photo of rainforest from the Orangutan Conservancy archives

Erik Meijaard & Gabriella Fredriksson in the Jakarta Globe

The Indonesian conservation authorities have been quietly experimenting with the privatization of conservation management, a plan announced by the Forestry Minister in 2010. There is an urgent need to expand this experiment.

Presently, not much is working well in Indonesia’s protected area and threatened species management. A study in the Indonesian Journal of Conservation showed that Indonesia’s protected areas lost an additional 2.6 percent of their forest cover between 2000 and 2010. Other studies show protected areas all over Indonesia are losing species, such as orangutans, and a myriad of fish and corals, at very high rates.

People living in and around Indonesia’s protected areas often tell us that the legal monitoring of the area has no relevance to them. Communities habitually ignore regulations, and use the land for agriculture, hunting, uncontrolled fishing or other purposes. For all they care, protected areas might as well not exist.

A 2012 study in the journal Conservation and Society shows that communities are often supported by local politicians and opportunistic schemers who consider the protected areas to be a constraint on economic development. In doing so, they ignore or are oblivious to the often vital environmental services that these areas provide.

In short, protected area management in Indonesia is in serious trouble.

This excerpt from an opinion piece appeared in and is courtesy of the Jakarta Globe and can be read in its entirety here.



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