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Forest Conservation, Mining and Local Responses: Drawing the Boundaries in Batang Gadis National Park, North Sumatra, Indonesia.

Nasution, Zaid Perdana (2018) Forest Conservation, Mining and Local Responses: Drawing the Boundaries in Batang Gadis National Park, North Sumatra, Indonesia. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

After more than 32 years under centralized government, Indonesia underwent a process of political decentralization starting in 1999. However, the management and control of natural resources, particularly in the forestry and mining sectors, is still largely under the authority of central government. At the same time, global calls for conservation and sustainable development that require state territorialization have also influenced policy and practice at the local and national levels. They have encouraged a process of state territorialization that has had a distinct affect on the land-based institutions that form the customary sense of territoriality of rural villagers. Within this overall context, this thesis starts by introducing an international conservation project that led to confrontation involving local government and a mining company. The thesis focuses on the establishment of Batang Gadis National Park in North Sumatra, the drawing of forest conservation boundaries and the impact this had on the mining company and in particular on the rural villagers and their customary territoriality. Through interviews and analysis of documents and media, this work discusses conflict over competing land claims by conservation and development forces and their entanglement with the customary institutions of territoriality. My findings lead me to argue firstly that the process of state territorialization engenders elite conflict over land and resources and that this usually undermines the interest of local villagers and their customary territoriality. Secondly, local government can switch its allegiance – in this case, from conservation to development – without accounting for this change either to central government or in particular to rural villagers. Thirdly, customary territoriality has the potential to be the basis for the formation of cogent demands for accountability of powerful actors. In reflecting these findings, this study concludes that, in the context of a decentralized Indonesia, it is important that the state territorialization process recognize and entertain a dialogue with the institutions of customary territoriality, which it sees as best placed to protect the interests of local people and the environment from external and elite intervention.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: state territorialization, customary territoriality, national park, accountability, natural resources politics.
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Geography (Leeds)
Depositing User: Mr Zaid Nasution
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2018 14:53
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2018 14:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19809

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