The invisible rights of indigenous people in Indonesia have suddenly appeared

Community carbon measurement in Merauke, Papua province, Indonesia. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Degi Harja

Community carbon measurement in Merauke, Papua province, Indonesia. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Degi Harja

Indigenous people in Indonesia have, until recently, been invisible in the debate over land rights. But the situation is starting to change, says Masayu Vinanda.

Over the past few decades, although much of the forest land in Indonesia has been converted to other uses or severely degraded, some indigenous communities with their local wisdom still continue to manage forests in a sustainable manner.

However, these communities have long been excluded from the political decisions over the utilization of, and access to, land and resources. Meanwhile, other groups have successfully used the resources for large-scale commercial purposes, such as mining, timber and crop plantations.

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