Sumberjaya from conflict to source of wealth

  • A coffee-producing landscape in the mountains of Sumatra had become a hot spot of conflicts between forestry officials and farmers
  • Engagement by research and development partners became known as Negotiation Support
  • Innovative use of policy instruments in Indonesian forestry law did resolve the conflicts
  • In a second phase attention shifted to voluntary, conditional rewards for and coinvestment in sediment reduction

Setting the scene: a 40,000 ha area, home to 100,000 people, with coffee (robusta) production as primary source of income, living in a huge old crater, with consequences for spatial variability of soil properties from various eruptions and lava flows. Adjacent to the Bukit Barisan mountain range that runs along the length of Sumatra island (Indonesia), the Way Besai river feeds one of Lampung’s main rivers. Coffee farming expanded here from start of 20’th century, but a large influx from Java (government sponsored + spontaneous migrants) led to a densely populated landscape. The river became the catchment for a hydroelectrical power plant, developed in the early 1990’s. This started the ‘issue’ that dominated the landscape from that time: evictions of coffee farmers from a ‘protection forest’ part of the landscape, motivated by concerns over water quantity and sediment load. When ICRAF engaged in the late 1990’s, evictions had made it a ‘worst case’ example of conflict. The ‘action research’ here became the basis for a ‘Negotiations Support System’ approach (NSS), where three interacting knowledge systems (local, public/policy and science/modellers ecological knowledge – LEK, PEK, MEK for short) were charted, landscape-level scenarios were explored, as well as reconciliation/ negotiation processes were supported to turn an ugly lose-lose setting into a win-win. The solutions that emerged varied by landscape zone: community-forest management (HKM) agreements for the watershed protection forest, and a number of PES experiments and ES auctions on the private/village lands by the RUPES (Rewarding Upland Poor for the Environmental Services they provide) program1. Now, nearly 20 years after the start of the engagement, the landscape has become a source of inspiration (aligned with the ‘Source of Wealth’ meaning of the name) for watershed management elsewhere in Indonesia.

Figure 9.1 Five aspects of rural poverty3 that were addressed successively in Sumberjaya in a agroforestry action research on agroforestry at landscape, farm and plot level In the cooperation between ICRAF and a range of national and local partners centred on Sumberjaya (Lampung, Indonesia), three ‘learning loops’ can be distinguished. In the first the issue at stake was

  1. Tenure security for coffee farms in the ‘protective forest’ zone (NSS). Once that was on its way to be resolved,
  2. Reducing sediment fluxes from the non-forest zone: voluntary & conditional ES contracts (RUPES) and
  3. Increased income from ES-friendly coffee production systems.
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