This article explores the dominant explorations of the failure of forest management in Indonesia within the public discourse of the late New Order period. Drawing on a review of salient literature and relevant case studies, the major part of the article discusses the underlying historical, institutional and political causes of the failure of the state property regime. By taking a narrow view of the issues, public discourse during the New Order (1966-98) avoided discussion of the structure of property relations and the power relations that supported them. However, the forest fires of 1997-8 and the ensuing ecological crisis have revealed that the forest policy that allocated property rights over vast areas of the nation's forests to well-connected conglomerates and politico-business families was inequitable and lacked legitimacy. While new legislative initiatives open up possibilities for co-management, the reforms so far barely engage with the underlying structure of property rights. These issues will need to be more thoroughly addressed if Indonesian is to tackle the bitter legacy of the Suharto period.
|Development and Change
|Published - 2000