Forest Conservation and Sustainability in Indonesia

Reviews of Forest Conservation and Sustainability in Indonesia

Forests, Sustainability and Political Economy in Indonesia: a review in Journal of Contemporary Asia by Professor Paul Gellert; March 3, 2021
International efforts to create conservation and sustainable forestry fails too often. In Indonesia, deforestation has increased in the last couple of decades. Maxton-Lee uncovers the subjectivities that accept the premise that growth and markets are the solution to environmental problems and thereby illuminates how neo-liberal capitalist ideas have permeated non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and bilateral and multi-lateral aid and development institutions.

Book review by Chris Lang: “Forest Conservation and Sustainability in Indonesia” by Bernice Maxton-Lee; January 13, 2021
Bernice Maxton-Lee’s excellent book, Forest Conservation and Sustainability in Indonesia: A Political Economy Study of International Governance Failure, highlights the difficulties of stopping deforestation in Indonesia. She does so not by focussing on poor villagers who clear land to grow crops, but on unsustainable economic ideology and the obsession with economic growth. This book is a must read for anyone who cares about forest conservation and climate change – in Indonesia and globally.

Back cover reviews

This book by a committed environmentalist has tough messages for the Western conservation movement. In eight key findings, Bernice Maxton-Lee underlines blunt facts that activists in rich countries must face. Too many of the ideas advanced as solutions to the challenge of climate change are sideshows. Environmentalists in rich countries should blaming developing countries like Indonesia for global problems. The most important reforms need to start within the global North.
Peter McCawley, Honorary Associate Professor, Indonesia Project, Arndt-Corden Dept of Economics, College of Asia and the Pacific, ANU, Canberra, Australia

Social scientists will be failing humanity if they fail to dig deep into who “you” are in Greta Thunberg’s lion’s roar, and why they “dare”. By deconstructing the deadly structural traps of the global economy and decoding the neoliberal framing, this book explains how climate change was used as a great opportunity for those in the position of power to further entrench and intensify the unjust relationship among the Global North, the Global South, and nature. It unravels the zealous participation—oftentimes with pride and conviction—of consequent climate-change victims in speeding up the destruction of nature under banners such as “sustainable development” and “conservation” while staying clear of meaningful and ground-shifting actions for climate mitigation. Taking a historical long view and backed by rich empirical evidence, the book offers insights critical to the dethronement of neoliberalism.
Chien-Yi Lu, Associate Research Fellow, Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica Taipei, Taiwan R.O.C.

This remarkable book deconstructs the myth of responsible consumption of agricultural  commodities and conveys the ultimate inconvenient truth: An ecologically sustainable economic growth is as impossible as the perpetuum mobile. The analysis is straightforward and outspoken. We urgently need much more of this kind of conservation literature, which is radical in the best sense of the word. Conservationists who think voluntary standard-setting certification through and down to the roots will eventually recognize that ‘it is designed to ensure the path of least resistance for capital to increase its own production‘. Current approaches to sustainability certification comfortably accompany the sleepwalking consumption society into disaster.
Prof. Dr. Pierre L. Ibisch – Professor for Nature Conservation, Research professorship for “Ecosystem-based sustainable development”, Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management, Faculty of Forest and Environment – Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, Germany

Do you avoid palm oil in your biscuits? Sign petitions to protect orangutans? So do I — and this book is for us. Carefully referenced, it traces the tricks of neoliberal “common sense” that convince us to trust REDD schemes, palm oil certification, or imaginary “zero deforestation.” For all who care about the burning forests, Maxton-Lee gives us the cold water treatment. The growth economy is the real villain. Its continued pressure to increase demand for goods and services is what is leading to ecological destruction. Individual gestures will not suffice.
Dr. Kerryn Higgs, University Associate, University of Tasmania; Associate Member, Club of Rome