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Suitability of Local Resource Management Practices Based on Supernatural Enforcement Mechanisms in the Local Social-cultural Context

Masatoshi Sasaoka, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
Yves Laumonier, Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD)


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Environmental anthropological studies on natural resource management have widely demonstrated and thematized local resource management practices based on the interactions between local people and supernatural agencies and their role in maintaining natural resources. In Indonesia, even though the legal status of local people’s right to the forest and forest resources is still weak, the recent transition toward decentralization presents a growing opportunity for local people to collaborate with outsiders such as governmental agencies and environmental nongovernmental organizations in natural resource management. In such situations, in-depth understanding of the value of local resource management practices is needed to promote self-directed and effective resource management. Here, we focus on local forest resource management and its suitability in the local social-cultural context in central Seram, east Indonesia. Local resource management appears to be embedded in the wider social-cultural context of the local communities. However, few intensive case studies in Indonesia have addressed the relationship between the Indigenous resource management practices closely related to a people’s belief in supernatural agents and the social-cultural context. We illustrate how the well-structured use of forest resources is established and maintained through these interactions. We then investigate how local resource management practices relate to the social-cultural and natural resources context of an upland community in central Seram and discuss the possible future applications for achieving conservation.

Key words

forest management; game resources; hunting; local resource management; local social-cultural context; Seram; supernatural enforcement mechanism

Copyright © 2012 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087