Environmental Harm and Decriminalization of Traditional Slash-and-Burn Practice in Indonesia


Traditional slash-and-burn as a way of clearing land for farming is allowed and exempted from being a criminal offense in Indonesia. However, this exemption should not be interpreted to mean that all traditional slash-and-burn practices are sustainable. Changes in habitat and sociocultural and economic conditions can render this once sustainable practice unsuitable in certain contexts and environments. This discussion on environmental harm from traditional slash-and-burn practices is not intended to call for a total ban of the practice nor does it suggest aggressive criminal law enforcement is required. This discussion is intended to clarify which practices we should protect and which ones should be addressed through various approaches to minimize harm. Such approaches should consider the local Indigenous communities as victims of ecological discrimination rather than perpetrators of environmental harm.

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Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Published: 2022-03-01
Pages:28 to 43
Section:Special Issue: Green Criminological Dialogues
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How to Cite
Fajrini, R. (2022) “Environmental Harm and Decriminalization of Traditional Slash-and-Burn Practice in Indonesia ”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 11(1), pp. 28-43. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.2034.

Author Biography

Indonesian Center for Environmental Law

Rika obtained her master degree from Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies University of Kyoto in 2017 with the research topic on access and benefit sharing of genetic resource and traditional knowledge, during the study she conducted Internship at ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (ACB). Previously, she graduated from Universitas Indonesia Law School in 2013 with a focus on law, society and development. She joined Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) in 2013 and since then she has been working on environmental law enforcement advocacy as well as capacity building for civil society and law enforcers. She develops expertise in thematic issues of forest and land governance especially on biodiversity law, environmental damage and liability, indigenous people and local communities' access to natural resources. She is also involved in the WILDS project where she works with scientists and conservationists to develop conservation litigations as tools to hold responsible parties liable to remedy harm to biodiversity. Her current research is on the linkage of science and the law, especially on how science is presented in the court and affecting legal decisions.