Chapter

The Emergence of “Scientific” Forestry in Colonial Java

Nancy Lee Peluso

in Rich Forests, Poor People

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 1992 | ISBN: 9780520073777
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520915534 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520073777.003.0003
The Emergence of “Scientific” Forestry in Colonial Java

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The nineteenth century was a turning point in forest management and the forms of state control over the teak and nonteak forests of Java. It was then that a bureaucratic, colonial Forest Service drew boundaries between forest and agricultural land—on maps and in the field—and established police forces to restrict people's access to trees and other forest products. Through a process of trial and error, regulations for profitable tree plantation management were encoded in colonial law, as were the philosophies of forest conservation for hydrological purposes. This period was also the beginning of the foresters' great concern with their eminent rights of domain over land, timber, and the demarcation of forest boundaries. Their possessiveness is seen today in the persistent use of the terms of exclusion that criminalize customary rights of access to forest products and land: “forest theft,” “encroachment,” “squatting,” and “illegal grazing.” Forest dwellers continued to engage in these activities, despite the pejorative labels, in their practice of everyday life.

Keywords: forest management; forest access; state control; tree plantation management; colonial law; forest dwellers; domain rights

Chapter.  15425 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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