Islamic Views on Main Debated-Forest Policies under New Order Government in Indonesia

Author (s): 

Forestry sector provided an enormous impact for Indonesian economy in the period 1966-1998 of New Order era. On the other hand, massive timber extractions have increased the rate of deforestation and land degradation, and lead to many adverse effects such as land conflicts between indigenous people and forest companies, the collapse of forest industries due to the lack of raw materials, unpaid companies’ debt and continuously environmental disasters. Many forest-related policies under New Order government generated debates among academics, practitioners, politicians and bureaucrats. The author then examines these policies using sharia principles of natural resource management conducted by the companions of the Prophet Muhammad. The objective of this study is to find out the policies which are unfit with Islamic rules. As the result, there are five main policies on forests contrary to the Islamic rules, namely: unclear of land ownership, unsustainable rate of forest harvesting, obscurity of raw material source for private companies, injustice distribution of benefits from forests, and log export ban. These failures then lead to many damages called fasad on forest and people. To overcome the problems the author proposes three basic of sharia rules on forest management as solution. First, all forestlands throughout the country, except private forest and state forest, have to be managed by the state on behalf of the citizens. The government then allocates the land in appropriate uses such as conservation forest, protected forest and production forest based on scientific assessment and state policy. Second, only production forests could be distributed to selected citizens (farmers) for their own livelihoods as well as to the state-owned enterprises for state income generating. Third, the earns from forest management have to be returned to the people as public services such as free education and health services, cheap public transportation and public security. Through this ways of management all of citizens will get benefit from forest resource.