in: Forest Policy and Economics, 81, 1-9
Indonesia has attracted increasing global attention in recent years due to concerns over large-scale deforestation. The island of Sumatra in particular is severely affected by the rapid expansion of monoculture cash crops. Since Dutch colonial times, land tenure regulations here have generally favored such resource exploitation. The current National Development Plan continues to see Sumatra as a center of resource production in order to eradicate poverty and accelerate national development. This developmental focus, however, is accompanied by contested land use scenarios.
Taking a historical perspective, this research discloses different layers of past and present land tenure regulations to understand present contestations of land use, resource exploitation, and their social consequences. Based on a village case study, the research demonstrates how different political eras and their accompanying land tenure approaches are inscribed in today's local landscape. We found that de jure regulations which were added to customary laws created a situation of legal pluralism. Our case study explains how local actors craft institutional arrangements in a process of institutional bricolage to use ‘their’ resources.