The government of Indonesia allocated state land to private companies to establish forest plantations. However, ownership of this land was contested by some Sumatran communities. The plantation company, endorsed by the government, quickly developed a partnership to resolve the conflict, but this was unclear and inequitable. Action research was carried out to facilitate communication among stakeholders. This communicative action changed some perceptions and shared values began to emerge. A forum was established, which contributed to equitability producing a better partnership. This research is a model for empowering local communities in climate change, bio-energy and food security negotiations.