Ziwei Zhang


Land Grabs and Land Grants: Social Forestry as New Governmentality in West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Advised by Sai Balakrishnan and Michael Woolcock

In Indonesia, many farmers have been dispossessed of land and economically marginalized by extractive industries since the colonial regime. The hegemony of the state over the resource is challenged by the increasing strength of indigenous, democracy, and environmental movements. Social forestry is a program that is widely advocated by the government and NGOs in Indonesia in response to critics and crisis. By granting land back to villagers and calling for participatory management, it claims to solve the injustice in resource distribution. This thesis aims to reposition social forestry in the history of the democracy movement in Indonesia to explore in more depth by whom, how, and why spaces for participation/decentralization are being opened and filled. It also helps to understand how land and labor conflicts are dismissed and depoliticized in this process.

Ziwei Zhang, MDes. Aerial photo showing the community forestry that is surrounded by massive palm oil plantation.
Ziwei Zhang, MDes. Three villages locate proximate both to extractive land use and conservation land use.
Ziwei Zhang, MDes. Map of NGOs working on social forestry in West Kalimantan. A map of the world with red lines connecting Indonesia to multiple places in Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States. Below that are the following headings: Sustainable Wood-driven Trading, Non-timber Product Trading, Government, Conservation, Forest Community Development, Indigenous Activists. Below each heading are logos for various organizations.
Ziwei Zhang, MDes ULE. Map of forest concession in Indonesia.