Differences in Power Structures Regarding Access to Natural Resources at the Village Level in Central Sulawesi (Indonesia)


  • Sebastian Koch University of Göttingen
  • Heiko Faust University of Göttingen
  • Jan Barkmann University of Göttingen




Deforestation, Common Pool Resources, Village Institutions, Indonesia


The mountain forests of the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi include core areas of the global Wallacea biodiversity “hotspot”. Remote sensing data indicated that deforestation rates around Central Sulawesi’s Lore-Lindu National Park differ more strongly between villages than could be explained by differences in the individual characteristics of the village households as assessed by quantitative village censuses. This setting provided the background for a study into inter-village differences in power structures regarding access to natural resources. Our results are abstracted from 3*10 semi-structured, qualitative interviews with key informants from the leading groups of autochthonous and migrant households of three contrasting villages. In village A, nearly feudal power relationships are exerted by a group of local “first settler” families that dominate formal village leadership as well as the infl uential Council of Traditional Leaders (Lembaga Adat), and that restrict deforestation and land transactions. No such institutional restrictions exist in village C. Traditional power relationships are replaced by economic power based on petty capitalisttype production of the international agricultural commodity cocoa. Deforestation is much higher in village C. In village B, traditional institutions and power structures still appear in place although land transactions are less restricted than in village A, resulting also in high deforestation rates. While contrasting problematic social effects, our study highlights the potential effi cacy of traditional institutions in the regulation of access to resources.




How to Cite

Koch, S., Faust, H., & Barkmann, J. (2008). Differences in Power Structures Regarding Access to Natural Resources at the Village Level in Central Sulawesi (Indonesia). Advances in Southeast Asian Studies, 1(2), 59–81. https://doi.org/10.14764/10.ASEAS-1.2-5



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