Resource Details

Smallholder timber plantation development in Indonesia: what is preventing progress?

Literature: Journal Articles

Obidzinski, K. & Dermawan, A. 2010, "Smallholder timber plantation development in Indonesia: what is preventing progress?", International Forestry Review, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 339-348.

Contact Info

Corresponding Author:


Forests and Governance Programme, Center for International Forestry Research, PO Box 0113 BOCBD, Bogor 16000, Indonesia


International Forestry Review

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Species Info

  • Shorea sp


  • This study evaluates a government smallholder/community timber plantation program in Indonesia (Hutan Tanaman Rakyat). Authors conclude that the program is failing: few plantations have been established and the policy runs the risk of illegal forestry activities.
  • National forestry activities have problem of high demand for wood and low (legal) supply of timber. Despite high growth in industrial plantations, demand continues to outstrip supply.
  • With this policy, the national government attempts to increase plantation on up to 12.3 million ha of degraded forest land (often government owned land). Smallholders in the projects are given loan deferment and access to other sources of capital. Projects use multiple species of exotic eucalyptus and acacia, as well as native Shorea sp. (Meranti is the local name)
  • Authors find:
  1. Timber prices are too low (and plantations don't produce enough timber) to make the projects financially viable.   
  2. Land tenure is an issue: the policy permits tenure for 60 years, and cannot be traded, transferred, or inherited.
  3. Too much upfront funding is available and creates accountability risk
  4. Deforestation risk: the policy is not clear on how "degraded" the land needs to be in order for a plantation to be built - it runs the risk of permitting the clearcut of "degraded" lands
  • Recommendations:
  1. Prioritize land that is actually severely degraded.  
  2. Clarify legal status (and boundaries) of lands.  
  3. Provide greater tenure incentives (positive examples in Vietnam – see Sikor 2001).               
  4. Ensure that financial support is being used effectively.  
  5. Consider short term needs of the smallholders (subsistence) while managing for longer term timber.

Geographical Region

  • Insular Southeast Asia
  • Country

  • Indonesia
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