The Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) has determined the status of 15 Customary Forests covering an area of approximately 68,326 hectares in the Gunung Mas Regency, Central Kalimantan Province in Indonesian Borneo. As a result of this designation, Gunung Mas Regency is now listed as having the largest Customary Forest area in Indonesia.
The 15 Customary Forests were handed over to:
- Rungan Indigenous Law Community (MHA),
- MHA Dayak Ngaju Lewu Tehang Manuhing Raya,
- MHA Dayak Ngaju Lewu Tumbang Bahanei,
- MHA Dayak Ngaju Lewu Tumbang Malahoi,
- MHA Dayak Ot Danum Himba Atang Ambun Liang Bungai,
- MHA Dayak Ot Danum Lowu Tumbang Hatung,
- MHA Dayak Ngaju Lewu Tumbang Kuayan,
- MHA Dayak Ot Danum Lowu Tumbang Anoi,
- MHA Dayak Ot Danum Lowu Tumbang Mahuroi,
- MHA Dayak Ot Danum Lowu Lawang Kanji,
- MHA Dayak Ot Danum Lowu Karetau Sarian,
- MHA Dayak Ot Danum Lowu Karetou Rambangun,
- MHA Dayak Ot Danum Lowu Tumbang Maraya,
- MHA Dayak Ot Danum Lowu Tumbang Posu,
- MHA Dayak Ot Danum Lowu Tumbang Marikoi.
“The designation of 15 Customary Forests in Gunung Mas was announced as part of our commemoration of World Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which is celebrated every August 9,” said Deputy Minister of the Environment and Forestry, Alue Dohong, who was accompanied by the Director General of Social Forestry and Environmental Partnerships (PSKL), Bambang Supriyanto, in Jakarta last Tuesday (08/08/23).
Alue explained that the determination of these Customary Forests is expected to improve people’s welfare, providing real benefits for future generations.
Indigenous Law Communities are becoming increasingly prominent in social and economic life in Indonesia.
“Local wisdom and traditional knowledge, as maintained and carried forward by the Indigenous Law Communities, provide an important counterweight to globalisation and industrialisation, which seldom account for sociocultural and geographic realities,” he added.
PSKL Director General, Bambang Supriyanto, said that various efforts were underway to accelerate the recognition of Indigenous Law Communities and the determination of Indigenous Forest Status.
“Towards this goal, we initiated a partnership between the KLHK Integrated Team and related Ministries and Institutions, including the Provincial Government and the Gunung Mas Regency Government, as well as CSOs (Civil Society Organisations) and assistants,” he said.
The Integrated Team worked under the direction of the Minister of the Environment and Forestry with supervision from the PSKL Director General to develop a recommendation, which was then passed on to the Regent of Gunung Mas. This recommendation to issue 15 Decrees on the Recognition and Protection of MHA then became the basis for the Minister of the Environment and Forestry’s determination of indigenous forests, covering a total area of 68,326 hectares.
Meanwhile, the CEO of BNF Indonesia, Juliarta ‘Arta’ Bramansa Ottay, said that the assistance provided by BNF Indonesia to develop a proposal for MHA Rungan was done in full accordance with the rules set out by the Indonesian government.
“Aside from this, we would like to congratulate MHA Ot Danum Lowu Tumbang Anoi and all the other Indigenous Law Communities decreed here. Our thanks also to the Government of Gunung Mas Regency and the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry for their hard work determining these 15 MHAs,” he continued.
Arta was excited that the new MHA in Gunung Mas Regency is now the largest in Indonesia. Because the MHA in Gunung Mas Regency is the largest in Indonesia. MHA Rungan is also interesting, as it combines two villages of Gunung Mas Regency and one village of Palangka Raya City.
“The real challenge now is establishing how best to assist with managing the Customary Forest, which will be a long-term collaborative effort. It could be managed as a research forest or a village forest,” he explained.
Ultimately, Customary Forests are about returning management rights and responsibilities to the community, with lasting benefits for local people, partners, and the Government.
Written by Yohanes Prahara, Content Creator and Media Liaison