Importance of the traditional land-use and land-tenure systems of Waraka, Seram Island, Maluku

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In Indonesia, natural resources are under pressure from both urban development and commercial exploitation. In Seram Island, Maluku, oil palm plantations are expanding in the north. In the south of the island, a State-owned cocoa company and a private logging enterprise are exploiting the vast territory of Waraka, an ancestral village established on the coast. The set of customary laws and principles of this village, locally called adat, is still powerful and is the basis of the traditional land tenure and land-use systems. In order to promote the socioeconomical development of his community, the king or raja of Waraka interacts with both companies within a dual and uncertain legal framework. The methodology in this study is based on the institutional framework analysis developed by Ostrom (1994) and a preliminary literature review. It also encompasses qualitative interviews. The evolution of the land tenure and land-use systems of Waraka is related to the strength of adat's recognition and the ability of the raja to conduct deals with both companies. The study finally discusses the possibilities for all stakeholders to manage the land in a more sustainable way through the implementation of a tree-nursery program funded by credit carbons or the use of reduced impact logging practices.

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