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The impact of decentralisation on forests and forest peopleInstitute of Southeast Asian Studies Singapore
After decades of central government control, the recent decentralization laws devolvedauthority in many areas, including natural resource management, to local governments.This article examines the initial process of decentralization in Indonesia within thecontext of forestry. Preliminary analyses suggest that decentralization has profoundlyaffected the course of forest resource management, though in many cases it has alsobeen influenced by the spirit of reformasi. Local governments, motivated both bynecessity and opportunity, attempt to generate local revenues from forest resourceswithout adequate consideration of the social and environmental consequences. Itappears that with decentralization, local people may only gain limited short-termbenefits from timber production.