IV-9. “A Preliminary Study of Aid and Community Organization in Degraded Peatland Areas of Indonesia” (R2-3 FY2020-2021)

  • Project Leader : Hosobuchi Michiko (Rikkyo University, Rikkyo Institute for Global Urban Studies)
  • Collaborators : Almasdi Syahza (Riau University, Institute for Research and Community Services)
  • : Suwondo (Riau University, Faculty of Teacher Training and Education)
  • : Besri Nasrul (Riau University, The Graduate School of Agriculture)
  • : Kozan Osamu (Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies)

Outline of Research

The purpose of this study is to compare the impact of aid on local people in degraded tropical peat areas in four provinces of Indonesia (Riau, Riau Islands, Central Kalimantan, and Papua) given the level of local autonomy at the community level.

The study compares the environmental, economic, political, and social impacts of local self-governance at the local and regional levels, considers appropriate indicators of support, and examines the creation of mechanisms multi-disciplinary review of peatlands societies mechanisms existing community organizations. We will conduct research that includes both a practical model and theoretical analysis in order to propose a sustainable model of community organization in devastated tropical areas.

By adopting a multi-disciplinary approach, this study promotes collaboration among a variety of stakeholders, including government officials, experts, researchers, companies, practitioners, and communities.


The purpose of this research is to understand the nature, economy, politics, and society of tropical peat wastelands (wetlands and drylands) in Indonesia, to present an analytical framework for the construction of “appropriate” community organizations, and to consider how to provide nonburdensome and non-dependent assistance and cooperation in consideration of environmental and economic sustainability.

By proposing appropriate indicators for each stakeholder and creating a system that can be easily sustained, this project aims to conduct practical research to enable the comprehensive organization and implementation of activities by residents of peat wastelands.

The significance of this study is that it identifies a typology and a regional model of sustainable community organizations in tropical peat wastelands of Indonesia. It first clarifies the life histories of residents in tropical peatlands in this region (oral accounts of migration, land-use change, livelihood and risk hedging, and transformation of village organizational communities). It then elucidates the mechanisms causing conflicts over land, natural resources, human resources, and social capital that have been discussed during the last 20 years in terms of the confrontational structures between corporations, communities, and NGOs. Third, it presents a model for transferring the methods of peatland development that have been established during the last decade to general society, or what is called community, in a sustainable manner. Fourth, we propose creating an environment for the long-term maintenance of the project by the community.

We had planned to continue fieldwork in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, and Malauke, Papua during FY2020, but due to COVID-19, we decided to continue fieldwork only in Riau and Riau Islands provinces. In FY2020, we focused on the arid areas of the degraded peatlands and will research the wetlands during FY2021.

This study aims to clarify the actual situation of degraded tropical peat lands in Indonesia and the effects of aid by focusing not only on shortterm observations of community organizations, but also on aspects overlooked by existing studies (including climate change, carbon, water table, soil, regulations, land use, agriculture, forestry, conflict, and international networks). By focusing on these aspects it is possible to clarify the research achievements in Japan from a modern perspective while at the same time elucidating the construction of community organizations and the institutions and mechanisms that support them, taking into account nature, agriculture, land use, economics, politics, and society in tropical peat swamps and arid lands. We hope to deepen our understanding of the diversity of community organizations in tropical peatlands in Southeast Asia and gain a theoretical understanding of community organizations in tropical peatlands beyond Southeast Asia. In this way, we hope to deepen our understanding of the diversity of peoples’ organizations in tropical peatlands in Southeast Asia.

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Life in Tropical Peat Swamps