International Satoyama Intiative

IPSI, the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative, promotes collaboration in the conservation and restoration of sustainable human-influenced natural environments (Socio-Ecological Production Landscapes and Seascapes: SEPLS) through broader global recognition of their value.

Creation and Management of Diverse Secondary Forest in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

  • Group:Agricultural
  • Group:Forest
REGION : South-Eastern Asia
COUNTRY : Indonesia (Central Sulawesi)
Google map: Google Map link to region
KEYWORD : mosaic pattern, customary law, customary land
AUTHOR: Mr. Mohamad Shohibuddin graduated from the Masters program in Rural Sociology at Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia in 2003. He then joined the Brighten Institute, an Indonesian national policy institute focused on agricultural development. His has an interest in land tenure reform, including forest tenure reform, to strengthen people's access and control over local resources as a fundamental means to eradicate rural poverty and sustainably manage resources. He has given courses on agrarian studies in the Faculty of Human Ecology, Bogor Agricultural University.

Mr. Ginzo Aoyama is a Corporate Executive Officer of Japan Wildlife Research Center (JWRC). His academic specialty is forest ecology. He worked in Ministry of the Environment, Japan, from 1974 to 2007, and involved in the management of National Parks and Nature Restoration Projects. He has engages in the work on developing the Coral Reef Conservation Action Plan and the Satoyama Initiative Projects since he joined JWRC. Dr. Masatoshi Sasaoka is a researcher with experience in environmental anthropology and Indonesian studies. He was a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science postdoctoral fellow, worked as a researcher at the Center for Social and Cultural Studies, Indonesian Institute of Sciences from 2002-2005, and at the Forest Economic Research Institute from 2005-2008. After joining at the Japan Wildlife Research Center in 2008, he has been working on projects related to international cooperation for conservation and on the Satoyama Initiative.
LINK: STORMA (Stability of Rainforest Margins in Indonesia)

The Nature Conservancy- Lore lindu National Park

Around Lore Lindu National Park (Taman Nasional Lore Lindu) in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, there is a mosaic-like landscape, due to particular land-use patterns. The indigenous inhabitants recognize the various land-use areas by a detailed description of vegetation using a comprehensive nomenclature system and a rule-based system of resource use.

Toro village (Desa Toro) has been working on the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources through the revival of village customary law ( adat). This reversion to adat began when their customary land ( tanah adat) was included in the National Park.

Regional overview

There is a large expanse of forest in Central Sulawesi, most of which is situated within the Lore Lindu National Park, established in 1993. The Park accounts for about 3% of the provincial land mass and has the highest species diversity in Sulawesi. The 64 villages located around Lore Lindu National Park have a population of approximately 64,000 (based on 2009 data), and Toro village, with a population of 2,000 (based on 2000 data) in 536 households, is one of them.

The village is comprised of different religious and ethnic groups with about 86% of households identifying themselves as Protestant, while the remainder are registered as Muslim. Most of the villagers are farmers, but some work as teachers, pastors and village office workers. Access to cities and local markets is relatively good as there is a bus to the provincial capital of Palu every morning.

Toro village is located near the central western margin of the National Park (figure 1). With the establishment of the National Park most of the village’s customary land, which has been used and occupied by the villagers for generations, was incorporated into the park. Using GPS participatory mapping ( pemetaan partisipatif), Yayasan Tanah Merdeka, an NGO based in Palu, assisted in creating a map to indicate the boundary of Toro village’s customary land. Their appeal for the rights to their traditional land and resources was recognized and an agreement was reached in 2000 between the village and the director of the National Park. Another approach by the villagers to attain self-government and protection of the park has been to reinstate the system of customary law.

Figure 1 – Lore Lindu National Park – Japan Wildlife Research Center

Village livelihood

The customary land area of Toro comprises 22,950 ha (See Note 1), of which approximately 1,000 ha is permanent farm land. The remainder is forest, most of which has been incorporated into Lore Lindu. Of the farm land, 525 ha is rice paddies and the rest is used for cultivation of what local people call “ palawija” or seasonal crops other than rice, and perennial crops including useful trees such as cacao and coffee (Fremery 2002).

Historically, slash and burn techniques were used to grow upland rice, but this practice was discouraged by the government and stopped in early 1970. Many villagers make their living by cultivation of wet paddy rice, beans, maize, vegetables, and tubers. Cacao and coffee are also grown and villagers supplement their livelihood with collection of forest products such as rattan ( Calamus leptostachys, Calamus zollingeri, etc).

Some villagers farm edible freshwater fish. Wet rice farming constitutes an important cash income as well as a staple food source (picture 1). Coffee production, introduced to the region by the Dutch during the colonial period, also became a major source of cash income together with rice, although its significance has recently been overtaken by cacao which commands a high price in the current market (picture 2). For households with access to small farming areas, the sale of rattan is the most important source of income (picture 3).

Note 1 ) This number of customary land area resulted from participatory mapping conducted by YTM and Toro people in 1999. Through negotiation process with the park authority, this number mentioned in the official letter of park authority no. 651/VI.BTNLL.1/2000, dated 18 July 2000, recognized the customary area of Toro inside Lore Lindu National Park comprises of 18.360 ha as part of their total customary area of 22,950 ha.

Characteristics of landscape

Toro village has rice paddies, irrigation ponds, sago palm and cacao plantations, land for shifting cultivation, and secondary forest in fallow shifting cultivation areas. The diverse ecological environment is created and maintained through human alteration and is scattered in a mosaic-like pattern. Local people distinguish each of them and call them by different names (figure 2, table 1, picture 4-8) . For each category, characteristics of land and vegetation are recognized and designated with detailed rules on resource collection.

Table 1: Folk categorization of land

Wana ngkiki Forest situated near the mountain peak, dominated by low moss forest. Logging and hunting are strictly prohibited.
Wana Primary forest and water source forest. Many trees have large diameter. Logging and farmland development is prohibited. Collection of dammar resin, rattan, pandanus leaf, and medicinal herbs are allowed. Previously used as a hunting area, but villagers say hunting was discontinued after the establishment of the National Park. Dammar trees, scattered through the forest, have a clearly recognised owner.
Taolo Slopes on both sides of a river. Also means areas recognized as “sacred places”. Logging and cultivation activities are strictly prohibited.
Pangale Old secondary forest. Land abandoned after swidden and left to become forest as vegetation recovers. Trees have grown to a large diameter. Forest used for the collection of dammar resin, rattan, pandanus leaf, medicinal herbs and material for building.
Pahawa pongko Secondary forest where substantial time has passed after swidden. (Forest where trees have grown larger than in Oma Ntua, the category below.)
Oma Young secondary forest and land that has been left fallow after swidden. It consists of sub-categories, as noted below;
Oma ntua Secondary forest with tree width equivalent to a person’s thigh
Oma ngura Bush with trees of small-diameter. This secondary vegetation can be cut by mountain sword and does not require the use of an axe.
Oma nguku Bush abandoned less than three years.
Balingkea Cultivated field that needs to be left fallow due to low productivity, or field immediately after abandonment.
Pampa Permanent field and farming forest for perennial cash crops such as coffee, cacao, vanila and clove and for edible fruit such as durian, langsat and jackfruit.
Polidaa Rice paddy land. Irrigation channels are dug around the paddies. Scattered irrigation ponds and former rice paddies still filled with water are used for farming edible freshwater fish. The area is scattered with sago palms for use as roofing material.
Pongataa Settlements, residential area and home garden.

Adapted from LMA Ngata Toro & OPANT (2004) and interviews.

(Note: This table categorizes the major divisions only and does not constitute a comprehensive list.)

As indicated in figure 3, residential area in Toro is mainly developed around the two rivers, Bola and Pono. Rice paddies are distributed in strips along the two rivers and their tributaries and these areas are surrounded by Oma. Balingkea, permanent fields and farming forest are scattered throughout the Oma in a mosaic-like pattern. The outer periphery of Oma is interwoven with Pahawa pongko and Pangale (some cacao farms and coffee farms are also found here), and deeper into the mountains is a vast expanse of Wana.

Customary law organization and prohibited acts

Since the government designated the area as part of Lore Lindu National Park, Toro village has worked on the revival of custom. Villagers intensified their appeal against National Park officials for customary right to the forest. As part of this process, customary law has been put into statutory form and compiled into a series of documents along with many others.

According to these documents, three actors play important roles in the execution of customary law in Toro. The village mayor (formerly Maradika and currently Ketua Ngata) coordinates the relationship between the settlements. Meetings of the elders ( Totua Ngata) uphold the rules of customary law which are approved at the community gatherings ( polibua). They also oversee observance of the law and decide on penalties for those who violate it ( Maradika also has an influence in this decision). In addition, they play a role in conflict resolution, religious services and rituals. The Tina Ngata are women very knowledgeable in regard to farming, so they play an advisory role on farming activities to village leaders. This traditional role is recently revitalized by forming Adat women organisation called OPANT (Organisasi Perempuan Adat Ngata Toro).

There are several customary bans ( toipetagi) that govern use of natural resources in Toro, most of which focus on controlling deforestation. For villagers, the forest is important for their livelihood and the value of the forest can be summarized as its ability to secure sustainable water resources necessary for rice farming.

The following items are examples of acts prohibited in the village:

  • ・Deforestation in Wana ngkiki and Wana
  • ・Deforestation and farm development on the slopes alongside rivers that are considered a water source
  • ・Logging of building material without reporting to Totua Ngata
  • ・Any commercial logging
  • ・Logging in Taolo and Holy land ( dumpolo)
  • ・Cutting trees useful for medicine ( beringin or melinjo)
  • ・Farm development without permission in Pangale, Oma and Balingkea
  • ・Rattan collection during prohibited moments (raombo), for instance when paddy in the field began to bear grains

“Tondo Ngata” is an organization that monitors observance of the above customary bans. With the initiation of conservation agreements in 2000, the National Park has promoted participatory park management by encouraging the villagers to be involved in patrolling the park. In keeping with this, villagers reorganized Tondo Ngata to become the main body responsible for observance of rules governing use of land and resources. In the event of violation, Tondo Ngata reports to the head of the village ( Ketua Ngata) or the elders ( Totua Ngata).

It is difficult to thoroughly monitor the vast area of the National Park with only the limited resources of the Park personnel and Tondo Ngata functions as a grass-root restraint against illegal logging and encroachment from outsiders. It is believed that their ongoing efforts will contribute to the preservation of the primitive nature in the Park and the secondary nature surrounding it.

Relationship between secondary nature and rare species of wild animals: Cacao trees example

Within the secondary nature, there is a possibility that cacao trees, important for village livelihood, are also functioning as a foraging site for a number of threatened species such as the tarsius. The tarsius is an endangered animal species endemic to Sulawesi. This species frequents the cocoa trees in order to eat insect larvae such as locusts and night flies which are abundant there. Villagers, while not actively protecting the tarsius, do not exterminate or capture them as they are aware of their beneficial role in reducing the number of harmful, leaf-eating insects. According to several research projects on tarsius in Central Sulawesi (Merker and Muhkenberg 2002, etc.), there is a relatively high population within human-disturbed habitat such as small cacao farms in primary forest areas.

About this research

This research was conducted through review of published research papers and fieldwork by Japan Wildlife Research Center, Ginzo Aoyama, Masatoshi Sasaoka, Bogor Agricultural University, and Mr. M. Shohibuddin as one of the projects commissioned by the Ministry of Environment.

Fieldwork was carried out from January 7th to 16th 2009 and researchers stayed in Toro village from January 10th to 12th. In Toro, research mainly focused on the Bola settlement (boya Bola). A group of leaders were interviewed such as the head of customary law, village mayor and the head of forest management organization “Tondo Ngata” as well as local people by walking around farms and forests near the settlement. Information was also gathered through participant observation.

Documents on socio-economic condition of Toro and its resource management were gathered by visits to NGO offices (Yayasan Tanah Merdeka, The Nature Conservancy, etc.) around Palu. An interview was also conducted with the management bureau of the Lore Lindu National Park about current park management and opinion sought regarding the “Conservation Agreement” from a management perspective.


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