Environmental rationales and land management: the case of Central Kalimantan

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Date(s) - 24/09/2015
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

N102 meeting room, Level 1, the Menzies building,


Environmental rationales and land management: the case of Central Kalimantan

 Presented by: Suraya Afiff (Universitas Indonesia)


Dear friends and colleagues,

We are fortunate that Suraya Afiff (UI) has agreed to speak at Monash on short notice after her recent appearance at the ANU Update. Please note the venue – this talk will be held on the first floor of the Menzies Building (Clayton Campus).

Big thanks to Craig Thorburn for organising this talk.

Looking forward as always,

Julian Millie   (CSEAS Curator)


Environmental rationales have provided important justifications for both land claims and enclosures. In the colonial period, the Dutch passed a nature conservation law to establish nature reserves in Java. This process accelerated during the New Order, as international conservationists saw Indonesia as a key global site for biodiversity conservation. This paper will focus on the recent development of policy narratives and programs that use the environmental agenda as a way to claim land. The global science policy discourse on carbon sequestration, REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation), and carbon trade has led to new conservation agendas. A one-map policy seeks to address the problems of overlapping and conflicting land-use permits passed by different government sectors and levels. Since 2011, the Forest Moratorium policy has sought to limit the expansion of plantation agriculture into ‘primary forest’ and peatland, while another initiative has sought to support ecosystem restoration. Most importantly, this global science policy discourse, combined with Constitutional Court decision 35/2012, has given civil society groups the political opportunity to advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples over land and forest resources. This paper will examine the impacts of these (sometimes competing) discourses and associated policies in Central Kalimantan. It will discuss how local actors (the state, communities, corporations and civil society groups) and diverse political and economic interests — as well as alliances between and networks of these diverse actors — shape the impacts of policies and programs on land arrangements and livelihoods on the ground.



Biosketch: Suraya Afiff

Suraya Afiff has been teaching in the Department of Anthropology, in the faculty of Social and Political Sciences, at the University of Indonesia since receiving her PhD in 2004 from the University of California, Berkeley. Since 2007 she has also served as the director of the University of Indonesia’s Centre for Anthropological Studies. Her current research interests include land and forest tenures, climate change, green development debates, the political ecology of REDD+, and agrarian and environmental justice movements in Indonesia.