Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

Implementation of accelerated natural regeneration in Indonesia - Eka Widodo Soegiri and Djoko Pramono

Eka Widodo Soegiri
Djoko Pramono
Directorate General of Land Rehabilitation and Social Forestry, Ministry of Forests, Jakarta, Indonesia


Forest resources have the potential to continuously create wealth for the nation and for the people living near and within forest areas if appropriate management practices are applied. In order to achieve these objectives, forest management systems must be technically sound and also transparent in all aspects of administration. Transparency will encourage people’s participation. Management must provide the people with access to benefits without sacrificing the commitment to maintain a balanced ecosystem.

Strategies pursued in Indonesia to bring about sustainable forest management emphasize the application of silvicultural treatments that enhance forest functions based on intended objectives. These treatments aim at preventing deforestation, while concurrently restoring productive capacity and the stability of forest ecosystems on land that has been degraded and/or deforested. The strategies seek to promote people’s participation.

Indonesia has the second largest tropical forest area in the world, second only to Brazil. The total land area of the country is about 189 million hectares. Forest cover in 1980 was about 120.35 million hectares, or around 68 percent of the total land area. Although the actual forest cover has declined since then, forest areas are still classified into the following five categories, based on intended objectives and functions:

Inconvertible Production Forest (IPF) - 35.2 million hectares
Convertible Production Forest (CPF) - 8.07 million hectares
Limited Production Forest (LPF) - 23.06 million hectares
Protection Forest (PF) - 33.52 million hectares
Natural Reserves and Recreational Forests, including National Parks (NRP) - 20.5 million hectares

Indonesian tropical forests are characterized by high biodiversity. In global terms, these forests contain 10 percent of all plant species in the world, 17 percent of all bird species, 12 percent of all mammal species, 16 percent of all reptile species and 16 percent of all amphibian species. Given the large area and high biodiversity of Indonesia’s forests, protection and conservation must be sustained for the benefit not only of the Indonesian people, but also for the entire global community.

TPTI[1] as a form of ANR implementation in reforestation programs

In Indonesia, ANR is perceived as an approach to reforestation that relies on human intervention to promote natural regeneration, principally in residual forests. The interventions include various treatments such as liberation, tending and enrichment planting. These treatments are aimed at: (i) eliminating factors that restrict the growth of residual forests; and (ii) improving the microclimate. Human intervention is expected to promote the growth of residual trees and ensure eventual restoration of natural regeneration. As such, ANR is mainly applied within the context of the TPTI silvicultural system in forest concessions.

TPTI is the forest management system prescribed for compliance in HPH[2] concessions. The objective is to ensure a sustainable supply of timber derived from indigenous species. The main activities in TPTI that are relevant to ANR consist of post-logging treatments in the residual stands. Tending treatments are applied to promote the growth of poles, saplings and seedlings that remain after harvesting. These treatments are prescribed for implementation until the natural growth in residual stands reaches maturity and commercial species can be harvested in the next logging cycle. The success of TPTI regeneration is a function of the existing number of nuclei trees (parent trees), poles, saplings and seedlings of acceptable quality. If the number is not sufficient, enrichment planting is carried out using local species found in the area. The principal post-logging treatments in TPTI are: (i) liberation cutting; (ii) enrichment planting; (iii) tending; and (iv) second-stage liberation.

In liberation cutting, vegetation that competes with commercially valuable tree species is removed. These plants consist of lianas, weeds, shrubs, brush, diseased and deformed trees and low-quality trees. In some cases, herbicides are applied in addition to cutting. The purpose of liberation cutting is to ensure enough space, light and nutrients for optimal growth of the desired tree species. Based on TPTI handbooks, optimal conditions for success are as follows:

Number of nuclei trees - >25 per hectare
Number of pole-size trees - >200 per hectare
Number of saplings - >1 600 per hectare
Number of seedlings - 20 000 per hectare
Nuclei trees, pole-size trees, saplings and seedlings should be evenly distributed.

Enrichment planting is implemented on sites that do not have a sufficient number of poles, saplings, seedlings and where there are many open spaces (i.e. open canopy). Tending is carried out on areas of enrichment planting to replace seedlings that have died.

Second-stage liberation is applied four to six years after harvesting. These treatments aim to provide vertical space so that residual trees have optimal light and space for maximum growth.

After the treatment period, residual stands are expected to grow optimally until the subsequent rotation when the trees will be ready for harvest. All of the prescribed treatments (except enrichment planting) focus on assisting the growth of natural regeneration. Thus, the treatments can be characterized as ANR. Concession holders have applied TPTI extensively in logged-over lowland forests covered by HPH licenses. However, TPTI treatments have not been used in swamp, peat and mangrove forests.

Constraints affecting ANR implementation in Indonesia

The constraints that are limiting factors in respect of ANR implementation can be classified into two (2) general categories, as discussed below.

Constraints in implementing TPTI

Although TPTI has been applied in logged-over HPH concessions, results have not met expectations. Current findings indicate that harvests in subsequent rotations will be low due to poor growth and poor timber stock. Several causes for this situation have been identified:

Lack of secure tenure and inadequate incentives.[3]
Ineffective control and monitoring of HPH performance.
Encroachment combined with forest fires and illegal logging.

Constraints in implementing ANR

Indonesian foresters are not familiar with the concept of ANR due to insufficient publications, workshops and seminars. Consequently, there is limited experience in ANR implementation on an operational scale. Due to this lack of knowledge and experience with ANR, various plantation establishment approaches are applied instead of ANR for restoring grass land, Imperata and bare-land.

To the limited extent that ANR has been applied, the principal focus has been on environmental objectives. There has been little, if any emphasis, on creating benefits for local people. Under these conditions it is not possible to generate active community participation. Thus, in the absence of strong incentives for participation, ANR may be confined to Reserve Forests where entry by local people is prohibited.

ANR does not ensure growth of the commercially-important tree species. Consequently, economic and financial viability are perceived to be low.

The length of time required for forests to reach optimal conditions for timber production is uncertain and perceived to be too long.

Disturbance factors such as forest fire, illegal logging, climate, infertile soil, and increased wood demand may become dominant limiting factors to successful implementation of ANR.


The ANR approach is not yet well-known in Indonesia. Implementation of rehabilitation programs in deforested areas and degraded lands is primarily pursued through plantation establishment instead of ANR. To increase awareness and appreciation of ANR, there should be more publications, demonstrations, research plots and workshop-study tours in Indonesia. These initiatives will encourage foresters to study and gain a deeper understanding of ANR. With increased knowledge, more foresters will be motivated to consider alternative strategies and methods for dealing with the problem of deforestation, in addition to conventional plantation establishment. Furthermore, successful implementation of ANR will be subject to how effectively foresters are able to deal with the prevailing disturbance factors of encroachment, fire and illegal logging.

[1] TPTI Indonesian selective cutting and planting system
[2] HPH Indonesian forest concessions
[3] HPH concession licenses are valid for 20 years but the rotation cutting cycle is 35 years.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page