Legislative Basis for Protection and Management
of Biodiversity and Forest Resources

Indonesia’s Constitution of 1945 establishes the foundation for state management of natural resources for the good of the people of Indonesia. From this base, a wide range of laws have been developed both to conserve biodiversity, forests, and natural resources and to regulate their exploration, development and exploitation. Some of the more relevant legislation is briefly summarized below. This section is adapted and updated from Sembiring et al. (1999) except where noted below. Appendix (IV) provides additional detail on these laws and the implementing regulations that stem from them.


Law 5/1990. Conservation of Biodiversity and Ecosystems.
Derived from an earlier Law (No. 4/1982) it is based on the conservation of the potential of and use of biodiversity and ecosystems in a balanced and compatible manner to support community prosperity and quality of life. Conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems is considered the responsibility of the Government and community through the following three activities: (1) protection of life support systems, (2) conservation of the diversity of vegetation and wildlife found in ecosystems, and (3) sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems. The Law regulates understanding of the protection of life support systems, conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of biological resources and ecosystems, nature conservation areas, use vegetation and wildlife, role of the community, and activities related to assistance, investigations, and criminal stipulations.

Law 41/2000. Basic Forestry Law (replaces Law 5 from 1967).
Sets the objective of forest management as obtaining maximum, versatile, and sustainable benefits in the interest of the people and defines how the state will regulate and manage forest use. Defines main forest functions and the need for planning. Includes provisions on participatory forestry planning, people's economic empowerment, transfer of partial authority to regional governments, and community-based forest monitoring.

Law 23/1997. Management of the Environment.
States that natural resources are controlled by the State to maximize the prosperity of the community. Provides that the government will (1) regulate and develop policy for environmental management; (2) regulate the availability, allocation, use, management, and returns from natural resources; (3) regulate the creation of Law and the relationship between people and the Law; (4) mitigate activities that have environmental and social impacts; and (5) develop funds for initiatives to conserve the function of the environment. Replaces Law 4/1982 and provides broader definition of the right to participate, the right to a healthy and good environment, the right to information, the right to inform/report, the right to file a class action suit, the right of NGOs to file suits, and strict liability.

Law 24/1992. Spatial Use Management.
Strives to assure the proper the use of space, while safeguarding the nation's territory and national defense. Seeks to implement the arrangement of protected areas and cultivation areas and achieve spatial organization with a certain quality. This Act regulates the rights and responsibilities, planning, use and restraints of spatial planning, including authority and development. Spatial planning, whether at the national level, provincial level, or regency level, is carried out in an integrated fashion.

MPR Decree No. IX/2001 on Agrarian Reform and
Natural Resources Management.
This decree provides a mandate to the DPR and President of Indonesia to implement policies on agrarian reform and the management of natural resources according to the principles of sustainable development, national integrity, human rights, legal supremacy, justice, democracy, participation and people welfare, taking into consideration the social, economic and cultural conditions of the community and the ecological functions of natural resources. This decree addresses directly the need to conduct a comprehensive inventory of land use, ownership and control and the need to implement reforms on the control, ownership and utilization of land to increase equity. The decree also addresses the need to resolve existing conflicts over agrarian resources and proposes an institutional framework. This decree also clearly recognizes, protects and respects the rights of traditional communities and cultural diversity in the management of natural resources in Indonesia. Bappenas notes in IBSAP (2003) that this initiative “might provide the basis for sustainable management of biodiversity if effectively and appropriately enforced.”

Draft Law on Natural Resource Management.
As a follow up to the MPR Decree No. IX/1999 (above), the Ministry of Environment with support from various NGOs and universities has proposed a reformed framework for natural resources management, which applies a holistic approach, consistent with sustainable development principles, i.e., natural resources are treated as natural capital or stock, as an integral part of natural ecosystem and the local community. This umbrella legislation has provisions to ensure more integrated and cohesive consideration for the carrying capacity and sustainability of the environment under sectoral regulations, such as for mining, forestry, fisheries and irrigation, which may overlap or contain inconsistencies. The draft law is being developed through an extensive public consultation process that is ongoing. (IBSAP 2003) Several laws address management of biological and natural resources in the coastal zone and Indonesia’s marine environment. This legal framework is under revision now through the efforts of the recently established Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Affairs, together with donor support.

Law 5/1983. Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
The oceanic area of Indonesia delimits the Exclusive Economic Zone, determined based on the Act regarding Indonesian Waterways, and bounded as far out as 200 miles, measured from the starting point of Indonesia’s marine area. Asserts Indonesia’s sovereign right not only to explore, use and manage, but also to conserve biological and non-biological natural resources from the ocean floor and the land underneath it.

Law 9/1985. Fisheries.
Strives to implement the “management of fish resources in an integrated fashion with the preservation of fish resources as well as its environment for the prosperity and success of the Indonesian community.” Forbids activities that cause pollution and destruction of fishery resources and their environment, except for research and scientific activities. To protect natural fisheries, the government determines the species that are protected and/or the location of the waters as fishery reserves based on the factors that are critical for a species of fish and/or the area.

Draft Coastal Zone Management Law.
A new law to develop coastal zone management programs has been drafted and subjected to a public participation process. Framework is based on United States Coastal Zone Management Law of 197x). The law is now being considered by Indonesia’s House of Representatives (DPR). (CRMP 2003) There are several key pieces of legislation that affect biodiversity preservation and natural resource management indirectly through the determination of roles and responsibilities of the various levels of government. These are the primary laws and regulations that define Indonesia’s decentralization framework, although this summary is not exhaustive.

Law 22/1999. Regional Governance.
Provides for regional autonomy over all administrative and operational processes of governance, except defense and security, foreign policy, monetary and fiscal policy, judiciary and religious affairs, which are retained at the center. Eliminates the hierarchical relationships between the various levels of government and places them in parallel status. Outlines a system of shared responsibility between the three levels of government with regard to natural resource management and environmental conservation. The central government retains the planning and policy authority that pertain to national economic development, natural resource use, conservation, implementation of international conventions, and environmental management issues related to trans-national and trans-provincial boundaries. The provincial and local governments are both responsible for implementing these national level policies at the local level. Article 10 outlines other significant responsibilities for provincial governments over natural resource management issues related to trans-district boundaries and conservation of coastal zones (12 nautical miles from shore). Article 11 outlines the eleven governance sectors that will fall under the domain of local government: public works, health, education and culture, agriculture, communications, industry and trade, direct investment, environmental management, land use, cooperatives, and labor. Article 7 states that forest conservation policy is the authority of the central government, but it does not provide for any central or regional mechanism.

Law 25/1999. Fiscal Balance between Central and Regional Governments.
Articulates the revenue sharing mechanisms that define how natural resource revenues will be allocated and which levels of government will manage them. Provincial governments receive 80% of the tax revenues from fisheries, forestry, and mining, 15% of the oil revenue, and 30% of the gas revenue. Because this Law bases revenue allocations on natural resources, which are unevenly distributed throughout the country, a General Allocation Fund will include 25% of national domestic (own source) revenues to be allocated 10% to the provincial level and 90% to the district/municipality level. This general fund will be allocated among the regions according to the needs and development potential of the region. A Special Allocation Fund will address special development needs, including unpredicted needs, committed needs or national priority needs, at the regional level.

Biodiversity and Tropical
Forests in Indonesia
Biodiversity and Tropical Forests in Indonesia
Indonesian Biodiversity Patterns
Indonesia’s Marine Environment and
Region Specific Biodiversity
Legislative and Institutional Structure
Affecting Biological Resources
Legislative Basis for Protection and Management of Biodiversity and Forest Resources
Biodiversity Sumatra and Associated Islands
Biodiversity Kalimantan
Biodiversity Java and Associated Islands
Biodiversity Sulawesi
Biodiversity Nusa Tenggara and Maluku
Biodiversity Papua

Other laws regulate matters related to development, management, and use of natural resources and land, especially extractible resources. While these laws are not directly related to biodiversity and forest conservation, their implementation and interpretation can have influence the effectiveness of conservation efforts. Some sectoral laws are not fully consistent with the nature conservation and environmental management laws noted above, giving rise to uncertainty in interpretation and application. Some of the more important sectoral laws include Law 5/1960 the Basic Agrarian Law, Law 44/1960 on Oil and Gas Mining, and Law 11/1967, the Basic Mining Law.

Source : Report on Biodiversity and Tropical Forests in Indonesia, USAID/Indonesia, 2004. Prepared by : (1) Steve Rhee, M.E.Sc. (2) Darrell Kitchener, Ph.D. (3) Tim Brown, Ph.D. (4) Reed Merrill, M.Sc. (5) Russ Dilts, Ph.D. (6) Stacey Tighe, Ph.D.

biodiversity burning