The Flame

One million hectares of Borneo’s forest were destroyed for Mega Rice Project. Iber Djamal (77)—part of the indigenous communities who opposed this project unsuccessfully—keeps on pursuing the only legal way to protect the forest by obtaining a legal customary forest title for the remaining forest in his area.

Between 2000 and 2012, Indonesia cut down 6 million hectares of its rainforest, equivalent to clearing 1,902 football fields—an area half the size of England—everyday. No other nation is destroying its forests faster. Indonesia is now the largest emitter of greenhouse gases from deforestation. In 2018, President Jokowi committed to providing legal means for indigenous communities in Indonesia who have been both direct users and guardians of the forest to obtain customary forest title. He aimed for 12.7 million hectares of Indonesian forest to be legalised as the customary forest of indigenous tribes who live nearby the forest for centuries. Currently, only 27,000 hectares have been handed back to indigenous communities. Many indigenous communities in Indonesia are still struggling to defend their forests from destructive activities. President Jokowi has also issued a moratorium to stop the new licensing Indonesian forest to companies that will convert the forest into palm oil plantation. The implementation of this moratorium has been challenging; due to corruption and unsynchronized regulations between various departments and governing bodies.