Why social forestry: Securing the sap

In a forest in southwestern Sumatra, Dedy Aprianto starts clearing the undergrowth below a damar tree on which he’ll be working. With only a woven rattan belt as a harness, he steps onto the triangular niches hammered into the tree during past harvests to collect the damar’s sap, which goes into products ranging from food to varnish and incense. Using the old niches as footholds, he climbs up the tree to carve new nooks. “This tree is about 50 years old,” says Aprianto. “It was handed down for generations. This is our family’s land, and damar is the main source of livelihood for our community.” However, the land has been a place of contention, as governmental changes to land status have clashed up against customary tenure practices. For this reason, researchers from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) investigated tenure insecurity issues here as part of the Global Comparative Study on Forest Tenure Reform (GCS-Tenure). What the scientists found was that implementation of social forestry schemes could be the answer to the latent challenges. Read the full story on Forests News.