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Collaborative Management of Protected Area in Indonesia
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Collaborative Management of Protected Area in Indonesia
-A step for a sustainable natural resources management-
By Mahmuddin Rahmadana

Collaborative management is an emergent form of participation and engagement in policy making process (Dovers et al., 2015). The emergence of collaborative management in protected areas likely related to the facts that this site encompasses an extensive biophysical and socio-ecological systems. These facts lead to the friction of interest among stakeholder around this area. Indonesia is among the countries that are facing such challenges due to its large protected areas and a huge range of stakeholder.
It is argued that protected area is a legacy of the modern view of natural resources management (Jepson and Whittaker, 2002). However, in some regions in the world, the practices of protecting natural resources has been part of the traditional culture and believed to be had happened in the world about one thousand years (Infield et al., 2010). Those practices are varied in name but bringing the same principles and concepts. The principle is deliberating the efforts of sustaining environmental services and natural resources for future generation. Furthermore, the traditional practices which unintentionally established by the local community, sometimes without clear notion nor institution. It was likely more to be the desire to protect their resources than simply putting it into a legal basis institution. The example of this practices is the myth about “hutan larangan” or “sacred forest” in many parts of Indonesian archipelago. These myths are commonly containing the story about the spirits or the ancestor spirits who lives in that forest. They want to live in peace and will haunt the intruder of their territory. This lead to a condition of intact forest area that never been touched by human activities. Furthermore, based on landscape interpretation, this part of forest likely has a significant value for the community itself such as for water conservation. Thus, Uyeda et al. (2014) conclude that conservation value of the traditional community enhanced by the availability of the myth or taboo about the forest as a sacred place. It is supported by Colding and Folke (2001) who suggest incorporating the informal institution such as “cultural taboo” in biodiversity conservation effort among developing countries. Because more advantage will be acquired when this method is being utilise along with conventional one. Especially when the protected area lies near a traditional ethnic. Traditional ethnic community likely will hold the value of social norms strongly to avoid the social punishment from the community.
Collaborative management is increasingly important in the context of natural resources management. It is likely part of the global trend of governance where the demand for involvement and engagement of people in policy making process is increased, as well as the emergence of “sharing power” concepts among the community (Dovers et al., 2015). The implication of this global trend is the high demand for collaboration in managing protected areas around the world. Since protected areas are unlikely able to stand alone in the middle of global and local development.
Collaborative management in protected area emerges because of deforestation and degradation of forested landscape or protected area as well as the growing understanding about the conflicts of interest among stakeholders around protected areas. Conflicts arise because of the interest on ecosystem services of protected areas. Different stakeholder will have their own preferences of the desired ecosystem services. However, the object of interest is limited and vulnerable, which are the protected areas. Therefore, conflicts of interest easily emerge. This contestation should be reduced to avoid further degradation on the environmental features. Collaborative management is likely able to be the melting point of those interest.
The need for access to the natural resources by local community around protected areas also among the reasons of why collaborative management is necessary. Local community either indigenous people or migrated community usually need access to the natural resources in protected area. The purpose of access to this area is vary, but in most cases the principal purpose is for fulfilling their socio-economic and cultural needs. The social and economic fulfillment of the local community from the environmental services are sometime vital in supporting their livelihood.
Another essential reason for access is the cultural attachment of indigenous people to the landscape of protected area. For example, Tenggerese people in Bromo Tengger Semeru national park Indonesia are part of the landscape and possess a high cultural attachment to the landscape (Hakim, 2011). The attachment to this landscape is mostly because of the spiritual activities. They undertake ritual of worshiping God through some ceremony in a part of this landscape. One of the biggest ceremony namely “Kasada”, held annually on the tenth month of Tengger lunar calendar. It takes place on the edge of Bromo crater. This crater is the main feature of the park. This attachment to this landscape is crucial. Tenggerese will lose the feeling of being Tengger people when their presence in this national park landscape rejected. And the park itself will lose its identity as well when Tengger people excluded from the park. The two parties bear and share each other name and identity. To guarantee the local community access, their involvement in the co-management practice is highly recommended. It is part of the policy framework that hopefully adequate in acknowledging local community power in managing protected area (Dovers et al., 2015).
Indonesian protected area as well as another part of the world experiencing the similar challenge in managing its protected land. In general, the challenge that currently being faced by protected area in Indonesia can be defined as three major driving factors, based on the nature of the problem. Firstly, the contestation that related to the social and cultural domain. Secondly is the economic benefit from protected area, and the last is the institutional or governance problem in relation to Indonesia political context. The emerging solution to tackle such challenges is collaborative management. Because this kind of management at least provides room for participation and communication in policy making process. It is in line with the emerging policy concept, engagement, and involvement as well as power sharing between stakeholders (Dovers and Hussey, 2013).
The social and cultural challenge in protected area management generally occurs in the area where indigenous ethnic people are living around it. The challenges arise because the protected areas were designated in their ancestor land. And during the designation process, the government were hardly involving the local ethnic group. Neither consultation process nor the decision-making process. It resulted in the claim of the land possession from the local ethnic group to the government on the protected areas land. In Indonesian context, we named it as the “Hak Ulayat/Hak Adat” claims.
Economic benefit sharing from protected areas also often becomes the major issue among stakeholders. These conflicts undermine the process of managing protected land in Indonesia. The interest of sharing varies between stakeholders, and also differ regarding the locality of the sites. Local community demand of the land for agriculture activities, generally for subsistence purpose, still among the highest rate of the threats for the protected areas. In a different local region such as in the mountain protected area, firewood collecting could be a more severe damage and threaten the sites Hakim (2011). Illegal logging and wildlife poaching are still happened and become more severe. It threatens the biodiversity of the sites and accumulates in the total rate of biodiversity loss of the world.
Another point where economic benefit sharing become a serious issue is in the context of tourism revenue sharing. Goodwin (2002), state that tourism revenue sharing could become a threat or an opportunity. It depends on how the management authority treats this issue. The ignorance of the issue will lead to the larger conflicts of interest. The victim in this dispute is undoubtedly the site itself. Uncontrolled tourism activities hosted by local people will result in environmental degradation because local community is likely unaware of the negative impact of tourism (Goodwin, 2002). By this, it is suggested that collaborative management process being adopted in eco-tourism management. It will provide ways of sharing the benefit in more fair and controlled manners. Also, conflicts over tourism activities also happen among parties, such as travel agents, the ministry of tourism, local governments, and the user itself or visitors. Therefore, managing tourism in protected areas is in high demand for good communication efforts among parties.
Management of protected areas in Indonesia is centralised. The authority of managing the protected areas is undertaken by Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Whereas the physical unit of protected areas lies in the local government administration. The implication of this situation is the support from local authorities on the effort of conservation tend to be low. In the future, it is strongly recommended to engage local government in policy making process of protected area management. The ultimate purpose of it is the increasing of belonging’s senses to the protected areas of their governance.
It is clear that Indonesia supposed to adopt the concept of collaborative management in protecting its valuable landscape and biodiversity. However, to what extent and what kind of co-management initiative that can be adopted is in needing of further elaboration. Dovers et al. (2015) provide guiding to initiate the process of engagement based on four “primary variables of engagement and participation” including; who, why, how, and when.
One particular stakeholder that represent the majority group of stakeholders in the Indonesian context is the local community around protected areas, whether it is an ethnic group or resident without any particular ethnic identity. Based on the concepts in Dovers and Hussey (2013), local community would engage,through input into management plans, through inclusion on statutory controls boards, participation in community-based monitoring, community-based or cooperative management arrangements, through mediation or conflicts resolution, as employee or worker in tourism activities, and as the holders of rights. All of those forms should address the initial purpose of why the engagement and participation being held. The extent could be vary but the general purpose is likely the same, which are policy making engagement, resources sharing and sustainability of the protected area itself.
Dovers et al. (2015) provide guidance on when the engagement should happen by dividing it into three simple ways including; one-off or ad hoc, regular but occasional and ongoing. With the local community as the focal point in this section, the engagement would be vary as well, depends on the circumstances. For example, the timing for engaging local community people in tackling a wildfire would be one-off. But the monitoring process on the resources extraction or extent of tourism required an ongoing process. Regular but occasional engagement could take place for instance on culling implementation for particular wildlife species. To sum up , it is argues that the engagement will likely work well if the differentiation of the stakeholders is clear. Differentiation is important because it determines the adequate form of engagement. Also, Indonesia should take the local community involvement as the focal point because the biggest problem in protected areas seems to be strongly linked with the fulfillment of local community needs.


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