Local communities have the right to the sustainable use of non-timber products from Lamandau. This meeting was organised to enable stakeholders to raise and discuss any problems or issues. The meeting was facilitated through the Lamandau Ecosystem Conservation Partnership (LECP).
Mr. Ade Suharso (Local Head of the Forestry Department’s Office for the Conservation of Natural Resources) and representatives from the police department and community leaders were invited to contribute to the meeting.
The Chairman of Terantang Consultative Assembly, admitted the community, including himself, is aware that cutting-down trees, especially in the conservation area, is forbidden. However, he demanded that law enforcement needs to be fair. He said that police officers should not have arrested only minor illegal tree-cutters but also the illegal logging syndicates.
The Chairman of Kumpai Batu Bawah Consultative Assembly, has given his support to forest conservation. He added that some villages near Lamandau Reserve, such as Terantang and Mendawai have experienced flooding during the rainy season. He believes this is due to an environmental imbalance that is being created through deforestation of the local area. In the discussion representatives from Kumpai Batu Bawah Village requested the government do more to empower the local community in safeguarding the natural resources. A resident of the village asked for help so the local communities can be assisted to find alternative sources of earning income besides cutting-down trees in the forest.
All the speakers agreed to try and resolve the issues that had been exposed during the meeting. Help has been promised to develop the local community’s economy so that alternatives to illegal logging can be found. Brigadir Harto, from the police department assured villagers that the law enforcement officers will act professionally and fairly as demanded. Mr. Ade Suharso will continue to collaborate with the community so this conservation area can be protected.