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RUPES in Sumberjaya: Rivercare, infiltration pits and conditional tenure

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Sumberjaya located along the west coast of Sumatra and forms the upper watersheds of all major rivers on the island. The subdistrict of 55.000 ha almost coincides with the Way Besai upper watershed. The population was about 87.350 people in 2004 resulting in a population density of about 161 persons/km2. Abou t 40 % of the sub district is classified as “protection forest” and about 10 % as National Park. Nevertheless about 70 % of the area is now covered by coffee gardens. Sumberjaya is a benchmark for conflicts of forest watershe d functions in Indonesia and has witnesse d one of the most intensive ‘eviction’ episodes increasing poverty of squatter families. Current resear ch suggests that these evictions (‘punishing upland people and their environmental services’ = PUPES) have been based on an incomplete understanding of the underlying issues. Getting the watershed functions right in Sumberjaya can not only solve a local problem but also have substantial exemplary value.

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