The future of forest tenure security for local forest dependent communities in Lampung province is linked to the effective implementation of social forestry (SF) programs, which granted communities management rights to state forests. If SF schemes are implementated effectively, the tenure rights of forest dependent communities will be assured.
Participatory prospective analysis (PPA) by an expert group consisting of governmental and nongovernmental organization representatives, identified six key driving forces that will influence SF implementation in the next 10 years. These include:
- the dynamics of SF regulations including regulation of forest product businesses
- economic options created by communities to improve livelihoods
- community tenure rights to forest resources
- budgetary support from regional government
- human resources capacities of implementating agents such as the Province Forestry Office, Forest Management Unit (FMU) and NGOs
- the clarity of stakeholder roles including community awareness.
The different scenarios, which describe plausible conditions of forest tenure reform implementation in Lampung, range from persistence of the status quo, where communities continue to have partial rights to state forests, to variations that include full ownership rights, complete withdrawal of community rights to forests, and the privileging of economic interests over environmental sustainability.
The desired scenarios are associated with adequate budget allocations including dedicated budgets for implementation. Lack of coordination is a disadvantage and is characteristic of undesired scenarios. The capacity of implementing agents is also a key factor, especially their capacity to work with communities and to support them. Functional forest-based enterprises to support community livelihoods, which in turn provide strong incentives for sustainable forest management, are important. Taken together, the scenarios suggest that devolving SF implementation to the lowest unit, the FMU, is the best option. However, this should be accompanied by community empowerment, the allocation of adequate budgets and support and cooperation among all involved actors.
The expert group developed an action plan for enhancing SF scheme implementation over the next 10 years. Strategies include enhancing budgetary support to the regional government, strengthening the role of the FMU, strengthening community tenure rights and enhancing local livelihoods. Key actions include supporting cross-sectoral coordination, developing PES systems to boost regional government revenues, increasing legal literacy at community level and community/participatory mapping of resources.
The action plan will be integrated into Lampung Provincial Government's forestry development program and will guide Lampung's Social Forestry Working Group.
Overall, the PPA method reveals that the implementation of SF programs is multi-faceted, capturing the diverse concerns and roles of different stakeholders. It also enhances the capacity of stakeholders to jointly analyse problems, to anticipate the future and to design current actions to mitigate future problems or enhance the likelihood of meeting desired objectives.