The case of Kasepuhan Karang: Secure land rights lead to food security
Photoblog - In 2016, the state forest around the community of Kasepuhan Karang, in Java, Indonesia, was transformed into customary lands. With these newly acquired land tenure rights, the community has started initiatives to use their land in a sustainable and inclusive way. What this means for the community in terms of livelihoods and food security, became clear during a field visit at the start of the Global Land Forum 2018.
Kasepuhan Karang community consists of various villages, located in a mountainous region in western Java, Indonesia. To the community of Kasepuhan Karang, 'forest' is more than only 'land covered by trees'; it also includes the fields and paddies in between the forest areas.
A sign next to the road says 'This forest is no longer a state forest'. In 2016, the community gained communal rights over the land surrounding their villages.
The community has set up a system to divide the customary land between the families, based upon a participatory mapping process. A certificate, the 'Risalah', gives a family user rights over a certain plot, but officially the whole land is owned by the community. Families can sell their user rights to other community members, but not to external parties.
There are certain rules that the community has set up to guarantee the sustainable use of their customary land. For example, the families are allowed to plant rice in their paddies, pick fruits and other products from the forested areas and occasionally fell a tree, but they are not allowed to cut down the whole forest or to start mining.
In order to increase the benefits of their customary land, the inhabitants of Kasepuhan Karang have planted 8.000 trees over the past years, mainly mangosteen, durian, coffee and mango trees. These investments in trees were only feasible for the farmers because of their security of land tenure.
A group of women in Kasepuhan Karang has set up a financial cooperative according to traditional rules. Families can get loans for investments in their land, like tree seedlings, vegetable seeds or equipment. They pay back with harvests from their land. Access to land through tenure security has contributed to productivity and therefore also means access to financial services, which are much needed for investments in land. (Photo by RMI Bogor)
The forest around Kasepuhan Karang is also a source of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP's), like these traditional rattan baskets. They are used to steam rice.
This beautiful place became an ecotourism site after the community gained their customary land rights in 2016. It is managed by a group of youth.
Youth used to have little prospects for a better future in Kasepuhan Karang. Now they manage the ecotourism site, rent rooms and camping equipment, organize walking tours to a nearby waterfall and sell locally produced coffee and other products to visitors.
The policy decision to transfer state tenure of the forest around Kasepuhan Karang into customary tenure of the land has enabled the community to take control over and sustainably manage their surroundings. The people make sustainable decisions that increase food security now and in the future.
For more information
Read more about this subject
Blog / 5 October 2018
From the first moment I arrive in Surabaya, I enter the rollercoaster called ECOTON. I'm visiting them to get to know the work of this long-time Both ENDS partner, and have only three days for this. But ECOTON does a lot, and all of it at the same time. Tirelessly, they work on the protection of the Brantas River.
Blog / 18 December 2017
We pushed the canoe through the turf and climbing on board he suggested I take the helm while he would hoist the sail. Being aboard this fast sailing lightweight canoe, carried by the swell of the blue sea, brought back images so vividly described in Hemingway's book The old man and the sea. After leaving the coast, going further onto the sea we eventually changed track and went north. I learned from the fisherman that the daily catch of fish was very meagre. Fishermen had to leave home early morning, around 4 AM, and had to venture out far off the coast to find fish. When I spotted my hotel near the beach we set course for the coast. When we had reached the shore again, I paid the fisherman and we parted amicably, in good spirit.
News / 15 October 2020
Institut Dayakologi works to preserve Indigenous Peoples' livelihoods and cultures in West Kalimantan. One of their central goals is to gain ancestral land rights for Indigenous communities. This is not only essential for the security of these communities, but also for the forests and ecosystems on which they depend for their livelihood, identity, culture and customs.
News / 22 April 2013
Between 2010 and 2013, Both ENDS, within an alliance of Indonesian and Dutch organisations and universities, conducted a pilot project to improve the spatial planning in the district of Sanggau in West-Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, Indonesia, to help local communities with the recognition of their land rights. We can show you a beautiful documentary about one of the villages in this district, Terusan.
Video / 18 November 2013
Between 2010 and 2013, Both ENDS, together with Indonesian and Dutch organisations and universities, conducted a project in the district of Sanggau in West-Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, Indonesia. The project was meant to help local communities with the recognition of their land rights and. This is a beautiful short documentary about how the people of one of these villages responded to the ever expanding palm oil plantations around them.
Participatory Land Use Planning (PLUP) is a rights-based approach ensuring inclusive and gender-responsive land governance, especially for those whose rights to land are not fully acknowledged.
GAGGA rallies the collective power of the women's rights and environmental justice movements to realize a world where women can and do access their rights to water, food security, and a clean, healthy and safe environment.
Indigenous communities in Paraguay saw their attempts to regain their ancestral lands thwarted by German investors. In Indonesia, US-based mining companies succeeded to roll back new laws that were meant to boost the country’s economic development and protect its forests. This is the level of impact that investment treaties can have on social, environmental and economic development and rights. Why? Because of the ‘Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement’ clauses that are included in many such treaties.
Event / 28 February 2019, 14:00 - 15:30
This webinar will feature experiences from several grassroots initiatives and highlight how they fight for women's improved access to and control over land and other natural resources and to scale up women's land rights.
Press release / 18 September 2020
Boskalis doesn’t have to share documents on controversial project; fishing communities will not get crucial information
18 september - The court in Rotterdam today ruled that Dutch dredging company Boskalis does not have to make information on the social and environmental risks of its sand extraction operations in the coastal zone near Makassar, Indonesia, available to local fishing communities affected by the activities. Environmental and human rights organisation Both ENDS had initiated legal action against the company. The court declared Both ENDS inadmissible and did not consider the case. Both ENDS brought the action on behalf of Indonesian fishing communities after Boskalis had rejected repeated requests to provide information on the impact of its activities.
Press release / 1 September 2020
Both ENDS brings legal action against Dutch dredging company on behalf of fisherfolk in South Sulawesi
Environment and human rights organisation Both ENDS is bringing legal action against Boskalis, after the Dutch dredging company continually ignored requests for information on a controversial sand extraction project in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Boskalis is extracting sand off the coast of Sulawesi for expansion of the port in the capital, Makassar. The extraction activities are affecting fishing grounds, making it impossible for local fisherfolk to earn their livelihoods.
News / 9 December 2019
At the end of November, the organisations WALHI South Sulawesi (part of Friends of the Earth) and Both ENDS filed a formal complaint with the Dutch export credit agency Atradius DSB. Despite the warnings from local communities for the negative consequences of a land reclamation project in the bay of Makassar, Atradius DSB advised the Dutch government to provide dredging company Boskalis with insurance for the execution of the project. The consequences for the fish stock, the beach and the lives of thousands of small-scale fishing communities are severe. Atradius DSB has not sufficiently investigated these harmful consequences beforehand.
Video / 30 June 2017
Farmer in Kiungkang, West-Kalimantan, talks about the effects of the palm oil plantation around his village on food production and the health of the population.
News / 26 October 2018
The sixth High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was held at the UN Headquarters in New York in July 2018. The HLPF provides an opportunity to review global progress towards achieving the SDGs and for countries to present their own Voluntary National Reviews of the implementation of the SDGs. At this year's HLPF, SDG 15, known as the 'Life on Land'-goal, was under review.
Blog / 8 March 2019By Tamara Mohr
Together with five women from the Platform Suace Pyvyvõhára, I travel to Mingã Pora in the east of Paraguay. Around 45 families from the indigenous Tekohá Suace community settled here in 2016. In Guaraní, Tekohá means 'the place where we are what we are'. They reside in tents - self-made out of waste materials - on a small strip of land with a soy field on one side and a nature reserve owned by the Itaipu company on the other.
The production of palm oil is causing social and environmental problems worldwide. Both ENDS is working to make the sector fairer and more sustainable and is promoting alternatives for palm oil.
Blog / 29 January 2018By Michael Rice
Pak Japin is a quiet, slim, and softly-spoken man from the village of Silat Hulu, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. I met him at a recent documentary screening in Bali on the fringe of the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) annual conference, where he spoke about his community's nine year-long conflict with palm oil company Golden Agri Resources Ltd (GAR).
Publication / 15 August 2017
Blog / 16 June 2020
In September 2019, the streets of Jakarta were filled with angry demonstrators protesting against the Omnibus Employment Law. The law will ease the rules for mining, make it much more difficult to hold companies liable for criminal acts and severely restrict the power of the national anti-corruption committee. At the moment, such protests are completely impossible in Indonesia because of the COVID-19 crisis and the associated lockdown measures. And Indonesian people already had few other means of exerting influence on decision-making and legislative processes.
News / 2 July 2019
The water quality of East Java's largest river, the Brantas River, is increasingly deteriorating due to a combination of industrial and household waste. This environmental pollution has a disproportionate impact on women. Yet, their participation in decision-making remains lacking. ECOTON is working to improve the situation.