As a country considered as land-based economic resources, Indonesia has shown that the expansion of plantation areas and Industrial Plantation Forests (HTI) in this country is growing rapidly. These sectors provide economic solutions and fulfill the market needs. However, environmental degradation and social conflicts caused by the land changes are against the goal of sustainability. The use of the land itself is a manifestation of power competition between actors with an interest in land. In the process of land allocation, various actors with an interest in land will compete with the power they have. The most powerful actors will take control of the land-use based on their decisions. Therefore, to obtain a comprehensive understanding of Indonesia's land cover and land-use changes, identification is needed to reveal the trends. It will also show how big the land cover and land-use changes, the land-use conditions at the site level as well as the understanding of the strong actors determining the process. This study has a general objective to explain land-use and land cover changes spatially and to describe the dynamics of the actors’ power in the land-use for oil palm and HTI plantations. These research objectives can be achieved through intermediate objectives namely: (1) Understanding the process of land cover and land-use change and its actors in an empirical case study; (2)Produce a map of land-use change from 1990-2019; (3) Describing the powerdynamics of actors through ACP and SNA approach and identify the most powerfulactors.
This study was conducted in three stages; systematic review, spatial analysis, analysis of the actors’ strength and social networks. This systematic review is an approach to determine the limits of existing knowledge so that further research builds on that knowledge. This study used a spatial approach to determine the locations that have experienced changes, the extent to which changes in the landscape have occurred, transitions of land-use changes, and the most critical changes in a certain period. It aims to understand the magnitude of the impact caused by the actor and what conditions affect the land change over a certain period. Image interpretation carried out in this study is visual interpretation (digitization on-screen) to classify land cover into several classes and perform accuracy tests based on the coordinates taken in the field. The final stage of this research is the analysis of the actors’ power and their networks by combining the Actor Centered Power (ACP) and Social Network Analysis (SNA) approaches. The combination of these approaches is a form of developing an analysis of the actors’ power in contesting the use of land resources. The case study was conducted in Bengkalis Island, Riau. Actors and their relationships were obtained through literature studies, semi-structured interviews with snowball sampling techniques, observation, and triangulation.
The results of this study indicate that the direct causes of landscape changes in Sumatra and Kalimantan are dominated by oil palm plantation expansion, timber extraction/logging, and HTI expansion. This condition is affected by institutional and policy factors produced by the government. The issue of land ownership and
the weakness of government institutions in carrying out its role as the highest hierarchy in control of land governance are the major causes of the uncontrolled landscape changes in the two regions. All aspects that cause landscape change are the result of the roles of the actors in it. Local and national governments are the actors that most contributed to landscape change through the policies and decisions they make. Farming communities (both indigenous and non-native) and companies are the actors who mostly carry out activities that directly cause changes in the landscape. On Bengkalis Island, a very significant decrease in forest cover began in 1990, followed by an increase in community-managed mixed gardens and oil palm plantations, both managed by large-scale companies and independent companies. On 2019, the forest cover on the island, which is one of the Hydrological Peat Areas (KHG), was only left to 10% of the total island area.
The institutional problems in this area have led to the formation of informal networks for land management. Based on this finding, the most powerful actors in the land-use contestation process came from the actors at the site level, not the central government who holds the highest authority in controlling land governance. The site actors namely farmer activists and village officials, have been the most powerful actors in two different periods. This is based on the value obtained from the analysis of the two actors. Farmer activists have the highest eigenvector value and have the potential to be leaders. Meanwhile, the village officials with the highest betweenness values were found to be manipulating information to develop oil palm plantations in smallholder management areas that overlap with HTI concessions. SNA is a robust framework for developing ACP theoretical frameworks in analyzing actor’s power. SNA can explain several concepts that could not be covered by ACP, including: (1) In comparison to strong ties, the weak ties could encourage the formation of collective action because these ties encourage broader relationships with more diverse actor (the strength of weak ties), (2) SNA describes that an actor can use his power against other actors without interacting directly (action at a distance); (3) SNA can describe that the source of power between one actor and another is interlinked.
To improve the condition of land governance by using a network perspective, the governments as decision-makers and generate policy should understand social network analysis in policy processes. This understanding serves to produce policy interventions that focus on central actors. Farmer activists are central actors who have the potential to become opinion leaders in a collaborative forum to improve land governance. In contrast to the village officials who play a role as intermediaries, while taken advantage of their position to manipulate information through the issuance of land legality documents need to be coerced by actors who develop and implement laws in Indonesia.
Keywords: Actor Centered Power, land governance, spatial analysis, Social Network Analysis, systematic review