Alternative land use remains a controversial issue in Indonesia, particularly with regard to regions outside Java. This paper aims to highlight forest land use dynamics in Indonesia, and particularly the difficulties of resolving the conflicts between conservation, the need to preserve local livelihoods, the demands of the logging industry, both legal and illegal, and the pressures to convert land from forest use to other uses, mainly agriculture, plantations and mining. The paper also stresses the importance of more research into who benefits from these competing uses of forest lands, and how these benefits have been distributed within Indonesian society. In conclusion, this paper argues that the underlying causes of deforestation in Indonesia are complex, and cover various aspects of market failure, inappropriate policy implementation in relation to forest management, lack of governance capacity at central and district levels, and other, broader socioeconomic and political issues.
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