To Check Out the Fifth Typology to Solve Smallholders’ Palm Oil Plantations in Forest Regions

Foto by aisan Al Farisi/SawitFest 2021
To Check Out the Fifth Typology to Solve Smallholders’ Palm Oil Plantations in Forest Regions

InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA – Of 4 (four) typology to palm oil plantation conflict in forest regions which is regulated in Government’s Regulation Number 24/2021 about Procedures for Imposing Administrative Sanction and Procedures for Non-Tax Revenue from Administrative Fines in Forestry Sector, Chairman of Asosiasi Petani Kelapa Sawit Indonesia (Apkasindo), Gulat Manurung told, there is one typology called the fifth typology to complete the previous ones in Undang-Undang Cipta Kerja (UUCK) and its supportive.

The fifth typology is specialized to conflict resolution on smallholders’ plantations in production forests (permanent production forests, limited production forests, and converted production forests). The key word of the fifth typology is the first, it has no Cultivation Document but has legal document of ownership; the second, the smallholders do not live in the plantations; the third, forest statute is not decided yet; the fourth, the trees have been planted before UUCK was published; the fifth, the plantations are not overlapping with license; the sixth, the plantations should not be more than 25 hectares. If the plantations require the conditions in the fifth typology, the plantations could be out of forest regions.

The fifth typology can fulfill benefit aspect because the plantations have been developed and delivered economic advantages to welfare the planters in small scale, and the people’s welfare in wider scale. In justice side, it will be good to implement such model because forest region status is not decided yet. Legal area status should not nullify people’s rights which really exists in the field because the country should exist to legalize what the people have had to realize their welfare. This is what a country should realize.

As forestry practitioner, I thought, dissertation mentioned above just prioritizes economic and welfare aspects only. While environmental and forestry law aspects do not come up at all. Forest region release happens not by the right regulation mechanism and based on ‘too late’ aspect because of cultivating palm oil plantations in forest regions without legal permit. Some things that cannot be accepted from the idea of Gulat Manurung in the dissertation can be seen from regular forestry aspects, they are,

The first, many forest status are not decided yet. One key of Gulat Manurung’s typology nullifies the meaning of forest region itself. As if, the areas planted by palm oil are not forest regions or unmastered areas. This is the big misunderstanding and it is wrong at all. In Regulation No. 41 / 1999 about Forestry, it is clearly and obviously mentioned in Chapter 1 that forest regions are certain areas that the government decided or pointed to preserve as permanent forests. While forest area decision is the affirmation to legal issue about status, border, and width of forest regions to be permanent forests. In Government’s Regulation No. 44 / 204 about Forest Plan or Government’s Regulation No. 23 / 2021 about Forest Management, it is mentioned that forest decision is only part of forest confirmation series that consists of designation, demarcation of boundaries, mapping and determination of forest areas to get legal on the status, location, borders, and width of forest regions. It is clear that certain areas or regions that the government designed to be conserved as permanent forests can be called as forest regions. Forest designation has been running since 1982 and regulated in TGHK (Tata Guna Hutan Kesepakatan) map which regulated about forest regions based on the function in every province/district/city. Forest region function means, conservation, protected, production forests (permanent production forests, limited production forests, and can be conserved – production forests). Palm oil in illegal forest regions were mostly developed in reformation euphoria in 1998 and after. The people were free to cultivate forests without supervision or close vigilance, namely by central or regional governments as same as decentralization ran massively at the time.

Regulation No. 44 / 1999 about Forestry, both before and after the substitution of UUCK and Government Regulation No. 23 / 2021 about Forestry Management that forest regions can be released are can be conserved – forests. But the release process should fulfill some certain conditions and it will take some time and be regulated in Regulation of Minister of Environment and Forestry P. 96/2018 dan P. 50/2019.

The second, having legal land ownership. Land document ownership published by the official, such as, Land Document, SKGR (surat keterangan ganti rugi/Compensation Document), HGU (hak guna usaha/Business Rights), and other types, are not the guarantees as legal land mastery ownership. The land ownership documents were published by irresponsible personals in regions (head of village, head of sub district, local National Land Agency officers) to get personal profits. In addition, land mastery/ownership in forestry regions was published after TGHK map in provincial level in 1982. Case told by member of Commission IV Indonesian Legislators, Darori Wonodipuro in the meeting with Ministry of Environment and Forestry in the recent days, revealed that many palm oil plantations in Central Kalimantan are in forest regions that corporates have and they also have had Business Rights that local National Land Agency officers published. But Ministry of Environment and Forestry did and does not process forest release. This is clearly showing that Business Rights belonging to corporate published by local National Land Agency officers are illegal or fake. Many local National Land Agency do it.

The third, seen from social aspect, actually, President Joko Widodo ever since he ruled in the first year, 2014 has had program in agrarian reform – developing from suburbs. In agrarian reform, the government noticed two things, they are, tanah objek reforma agraria (TORA) and social forestry. In the realization, the areas in TORA and social forestry would be in cluster and managed by groups of people namely to empower them in food. But the difference is the rights of utilization. If areas in TORA can be used by rights of belongings, social forestry areas are used by access rights/permit/partnership to cultivate forests. The areas in TORA will have certificates but cannot be sold or divided to inheritors. The areas in social forestry should not break/damage forest ecosystem. The logs can only be cut off in production forests. The government through Ministry of Environment and Forestry provides areas in TORA which lay about 4,1 million hectares while the areas in social forestry lay about 12,7 million hectares. Data from Ministry of Environment and Forestry showed that by December 2018, 2,4 million hectares had been prepared in TORA and by the late of 2020, social forestry just reached 4,7 million hectares.

The fourth, smallholders do not live in the plantations. UUCK accommodates personal or groups of people’s violations that live in and or around forest regions, at least 5 years in a row. They only get administration sanction (not criminal one) by the consideration that the people stay and live there. The local people meant in UUCK are those who live in and/or around forests as one social community based on their sources of living that depend on forests, history, local living bond, and code of conduct arrangement to live together in the name of ‘institution’.

Conclusion: the proposal or idea proposed by Gulat Manurung may be impossible to realize and implement in the fields because many forestry regulations are not obeyed for years but used as references to forest region management in Indonesia.

By: Pramono Dwi Susetyo

Writer once worked at Ministry of Forestry and Environment