Yudi Bachrioktora - Surviving in the midst of Change: The State Forest Service in the Nineteenth Century Java (1808-1869)

The forest is always considered as a source of revenue, and in the case of timber, the revenue yield can be extracted annually. As a result the forest as a habitat disappears and is replaced by the forest as an economic resource to be managed efficiently and profitably. The exploitation of forest resources, especially teak, in Java was in the hands of VOC after the 1670s. Teak was needed for various purposes, ranging from building offices, warehouses, forts, barracks, private homes, furniture and fuel to shipbuilding and ship repair. However, the main attraction of teak for the company was as building material for ships. This exploitation expanded considerably in the next century, and under the Dutch colonial state this exploitation remained the rule. Despite this, because the forests were under threat of overexploitation the Colonial government established the state forest service. The forest service was established in Java in 1808 but was largely dismantled in 1811 when the British temporarily took over Java from the Dutch. The service was restored with the return of the Dutch in 1816, and again abolished in 1826, this time owing to budget cuts. It was finally revived in 1869, and then it was there to stay, surviving until the end of colonial rule.
The purpose of this study is to examine the state forest agency during the changing regimes in Java, especially as a part of colonial state formation in the Netherlands-Indies. Even though, the service of the state forest agency in Java underwent cycles of dismantling and re-establishment during this period, it nevertheless indicated a continuity of existence in the ideological control of access to production forests which was the control of land, trees, and forest labor.

Yudi has graduated for his MA degree in 2009.

Last Modified: 05-08-2014