Update from the field: Indonesia February 2023

By Moira Moeliono and Linda Yuliani

Members of the COLANDS team in Indonesia have been celebrating the promotion of Linda Yuliani, team leader and CIFOR scientist, to PhD in November 2022. Linda’s dissertation Communities at the Crossroads: Forest or large-scale monoculture in Kalimantan, Indonesia, although partly based on earlier work, was enriched by her COLANDS experiences.

Meanwhile, the team’s main focus has been on moving forward with the Danau Sentarum Catchment Area (Daerah Tangkapan Air Danau Sentarum/DTA-DS) collaborative planning activities. A workshop in July 2022 had produced criteria and indicators as part of a theory of change (ToC), which were refined by the team for future discussions.

Drafting of several papers (including one on experiences with collaborative governance in Kapuas Hulu and another on the policy context for landscape approaches in Indonesia) has continued alongside preparation for three training workshops scheduled for the February-March 2023 period.

Through the following activities, information sharing and collaboration with other actors were strengthened:

  • ATR/BPN meetings: 14 September and 11 November 2022

CIFOR colleagues joined Linda at the second Focus Group Discussion (FGD) organized  by the Indonesian National Land Office (ATR/BPN) on 14 September 2022 in Putussibau. There, ATR/BPN presented a more developed and relevant proposal for DTA-DS spatial- and land-use planning and asked for input and ideas. The meeting was specifically intended to develop criteria and indicators for implementation as a basis for incentives and disincentives for managing land sustainably according to regulations. The discussion included who should provide the incentives, based on whose assessment. On 11 November 2022, Linda and Valentinus Heri participated in the third FGD, where discussion focused on roles and responsibilities. Participants were clearly dissatisfied as roles and funding remained unclear. 

  • Tengkawang network meeting Pontianak: 20-21 September 2022

Riak Bumi – a community-based natural resource management NGO and COLANDS partner – represented COLANDS at the fifth meeting organized by the Tengkawang Network secretariat in collaboration with the West Kalimantan Environmental and Forestry Agency, GIZ BioFrame, and CIFOR. The network, established in 2016, is a multistakeholder organization working towards more effective, efficient, and sustainable harvesting, processing and marketing of tengkawang (Shore spp.). At this meeting, a three-year action plan was agreed to: improving communication and information dissemination; strengthening partnerships; advocating for policies in support of tengkawang harvesting, processing and marketing; and promoting social forestry.

  • FLARE conference: Rome 7-10 October 2022

Heri, Linda and Moira participated in the FLARE event and presented three papers based on, and/or linked to, COLANDS work in Indonesia. Linda presented two papers: one on relational values of forest, and one on methods to analyse local communities’ responses towards the oil palm, particularly factors that drove decisions to keep or give up their forest. Moira presented a paper on the results of the Kapuas Hulu experiment in promoting collaborative and integrative governance. While in Rome, team members also attended COLANDS team meetings where, in addition to country updates, several issues were discussed, such as impacts of COVID in the field, possible project extension and further plans.

  • Meeting with Executive Office of the President of the Republic of Indonesia (KSP): October 2022

Linda prepared a brief report and met with staff of the Executive Office of the President of Indonesia to update them on COLANDs activities, and discuss procedures for better collaboration.

  • Forum DAS West Kalimantan Province: 8 November 2022

Riak Bumi also attended a Watershed Forum (Forum DAS) meeting in Pontianak, discussing institutional strengthening for watershed management. The meeting highlighted the existence of several multistakeholder forums in Kapuas Hulu, e.g. the Forum DTA-DS, the Biosphere Reserve Forum, and the Labian-Leboyan Watershed Forum. Therefore, establishing a district-level Forum DAS, as mandated by law, will require careful consideration of its mandate, tasks, and position in relation to these other existing forums.

In the field, Riak Bumi continued to facilitate the process to gain recognition of customary forests under the national social forestry program. The process was supported by a visit from the Customary Territory Registration Agency (BRWA or Badan Registrasi Wilayah Adat) and AMAN on a pre-verification mission. BRWA confirmed that the Ngaung Keruh customary forest had been registered and provided guidance on further verification processes. It also provided advice on what documents are required for the application for Janting village. 

Two other big events were conducted in December: the Danau Sentarum festival and a convocation of the Tama Embaloh customary communities.

As well, in December 2022, Riak Bumi joined several villagers on a study tour in West Java to learn about forest ecosystem services including micro-hydro installation, operation and maintenance, and NTFP marketing. 


Landscape approaches require the willingness of actors to collaborate. Yet the main stakeholder, the Indonesian government, is already busy and not always available to support COLANDS activities. Furthermore, as we are working within the territory of different government agencies, we need to consider the overlapping authorities and mandates, and identify gaps that we are able (and allowed) to fill.

Meanwhile, many other actors have adopted integrated approaches and are organizing multistakeholder meetings.  One example is a meeting held in Pontianak organized by the River Area Agency under the Ministry of Public Works and Housing presenting its assessment of the Danau Sentarum Catchment Area at the same time, the Ministry of Spatial Planning (ATR/BPN) held their FGD on the same topic in Putussibau. Besides creating workshop fatigue, different ways of defining the issues without integrating or aligning activities can create confusion and negates a landscape approach.

In the planning

Through our participatory action research (PAR) process, the COLANDS team identified capacity-building needs – both at the government level, as well as among other actors. In response, we are working on the design of three training workshops for different groups of actors.

One training planned for 22-23 February 2023 in Putussibau focuses on Biodiversity and Citizen Science for Kapuas Hulu Education Service and teachers. The training aims to contribute to the Ministry of Education’s program to strengthen students’ Pelajar Pancasila Profil, and to build knowledge and capacity of teachers on biodiversity, conservation and ‘citizen science’ processes, specifically in support of biodiversity monitoring.

A second training concerns methods for monitoring water quality and fish population for the Betung Kerihun-Danau Sentarum National Park Authority, Environmental Service, BAPPEDA, and representatives of local communities. The training on Sepandan Island in the DSNP is scheduled for 28 February-3 March 2023, led by scientists from the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN).

These will be followed by a COLANDS-led mini-workshop to finalize the DTA-DS principles, criteria and indicators.