The people of Kasepuhan Karang, Lebak, Banten can now breathe a sigh of relief. The reason? The three-year fight to obtain recognition from the government regarding the rights to their indigenous forest has finally succeeded. After going through the verification and validation stage twice since the filing of the October 5th 2015 establishment of indigenous forests, today (30/12) President Jokowi has established the status of the indigenous forest as large as 486 hectares. This area has been managed by generations of the indigenous people of Kasepuhan Karang.
The area of the Kasepuhan Karang indigenous forest that has been officially established is 485.366 hectares which consists of:
- 207 hectares of community-held forests and entrusted forests
- 96 hectares in the area of Mount Haruman – which is within the area of the Kasepuhan Karang indigenous people.
This established area, which is determined in the Decree of the Established Indigenous Forests, is officially stated as being 486 hectares with the explanation that 462 hectars are under the region of the TNGHS (the National Part of Mount Halimun Salak) and 24 hectares are under the region of APL (Area of Other Uses).
“Alhamdulillah, our indigenous forest is now officially recognized by the government. The minister really understands what the indigenous community needs. This, of course, becomes part of what invigorates our spirit to strengthen our management, including involving the indigenous youth,” said the Chief of Jagaraksa Village, Jaro Wahid, as the representative of Kasepuhan Karang.
Administratively, Kasepuhan Karang is within the region of Jagaraksa Village, Muncang Sub-District, Lebak Regency, Banten. In December of 2015, the Lebak Regency Government issued Local Regulation No. 8 of 2015 regarding the Recognition, Protection, and Empowerment of Indigenous Laws of the Kasepuhan People. Included among them was Kasepuhan Karang. The commitment and attention that the Lebak Regency government gave in striving for the rights of indigenous people was an important role in the fight of the indigenous people of Kasepuhan Karang.
“After this, we need to organize the next step after the official establishment of the indigenous forest, primarily for empowerment of our people that is in line with the indigenous laws that have been enforced for generations,” insisted the Vice Regent of Lebak, Ade Sumardi.
The Executive Director of RMI, Mardha Tillah, believes that returning the management of indigenous forests to the community is a good step in the path to preserving forests and its natural resources. Like other indigenous people, the people of Kasepuhan Karang, who have stayed in their region and managed their forest since the Dutch colonial era, also has traditional laws and wisdom in their management of their forest.
“Today, 9 indigenous forests will be officially recognized and appointed to be preserved by President Jokowi. Even though the total area of the indigenous forest which have been recognized – which adds up to 13,100 hectares – is still considered small compared to the area of the forests of Indonesia that are managed by corporations, this is still a good step and it is also in line with Jokowi’s Nawacita Program,” added Mardha Tillah.
Author : Indri Guli – RMI Knowledge Management Staff
Translator : Amanda So