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The emerging power of peasant farmers in the tenurial conflicts over the uses of state forestland in Central Java, Indonesia


  • Maryudi, Ahmad
  • Citraningtyas, Erlita R.
  • Purwanto, Ris H.
  • Sadono, Ronggo
  • Suryanto, Priyono
  • Riyanto, Slamet
  • Siswoko, Bowo D.


There has been an increasing occurrence of spontaneous and organized movements and struggles demanding access to state forestland in Indonesia over the past few years. A sizeable body of literature has explained the driving factors of the land movement but most of them focus on processes at the national level, principally on the changing socio-political landscapes, and the overlapping land use policy and regulations. In contrast, this paper attempts to find explanation of the dynamics of the land movement, and tries to explain the emerging power of peasant farmers at the field. The research was conducted in the forest of the state company of Perhutani Sub-Forest District (BKPH) Kalibodri, Forest District (KPH) Kendal, Central Java, where nearly two-fifths of the forestland is illegally occupied by peasant farmers for agricultural cropping. This paper borrows actor-centred power (ACP) of Krott et al. (2014), which offers an analytical approach to understand the empirical power resources of actors in social-political relationships. It finds the prolonged occupation of the state forestland is due to the combination of the weakened power of the state apparatus and the more consolidated power of peasant farmers. The state apparatus is weakened by its diminishing coercive power. It is also unable to provide concrete incentives that would otherwise alter the behavior of the peasant farmers. At the same time, the peasant farmers accumulate support from a wider society, from local to national level. Even international actors also play a part so that significantly affect how the state company deals with the peasant farmers.

Suggested Citation

  • Maryudi, Ahmad & Citraningtyas, Erlita R. & Purwanto, Ris H. & Sadono, Ronggo & Suryanto, Priyono & Riyanto, Slamet & Siswoko, Bowo D., 2016. "The emerging power of peasant farmers in the tenurial conflicts over the uses of state forestland in Central Java, Indonesia," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 70-75.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:forpol:v:67:y:2016:i:c:p:70-75
    DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2015.09.005

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rosyadi, Slamet & Birner, Regina & Zeller, Manfred, 2005. "Creating political capital to promote devolution in the forestry sector--a case study of the forest communities in Banyumas district, Central Java, Indonesia," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 213-226, February.
    2. Schusser, Carsten & Krott, Max & Yufanyi Movuh, Mbolo C. & Logmani, Jacqueline & Devkota, Rosan R. & Maryudi, Ahamad & Salla, Manjola & Bach, Ngo Duy, 2015. "Powerful stakeholders as drivers of community forestry — Results of an international study," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 92-101.
    3. Brockhaus, Maria & Obidzinski, Krystof & Dermawan, Ahmad & Laumonier, Yves & Luttrell, Cecilia, 2012. "An overview of forest and land allocation policies in Indonesia: Is the current framework sufficient to meet the needs of REDD+?," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(C), pages 30-37.
    4. Schusser, Carsten, 2013. "Who determines biodiversity? An analysis of actors' power and interests in community forestry in Namibia," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 42-51.
    5. Bas Arts & Jan Tatenhove, 2004. "Policy and power: A conceptual framework between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ policy idioms," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 37(3), pages 339-356, December.
    6. Chakraborty, Rabindra Nath, 2001. "Stability and outcomes of common property institutions in forestry: evidence from the Terai region of Nepal," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 341-353, February.
    7. Krott, Max & Bader, Axel & Schusser, Carsten & Devkota, Rosan & Maryudi, Ahmad & Giessen, Lukas & Aurenhammer, Helene, 2014. "Actor-centred power: The driving force in decentralised community based forest governance," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 34-42.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sahide, Muhammad Alif K. & Maryudi, Ahmad & Supratman, Supratman & Giessen, Lukas, 2016. "Is Indonesia utilising its international partners? The driving forces behind Forest Management Units," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 11-20.
    2. repec:eee:forpol:v:91:y:2018:i:c:p:64-72 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Prabowo, Doni & Maryudi, Ahmad & Senawi, & Imron, Muhammad A., 2017. "Conversion of forests into oil palm plantations in West Kalimantan, Indonesia: Insights from actors' power and its dynamics," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 32-39.
    4. Kleinschmit, Daniela & Böcher, Michael & Giessen, Lukas, 2016. "Forest Policy Analysis: Advancing the analytical approach," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 1-6.
    5. repec:eee:forpol:v:104:y:2019:i:c:p:56-64 is not listed on IDEAS


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