By Chris Lang, February 22, 2013. Source: redd-monitor
Dusun Guhanaga is a village in Aceh in an area called Gunung Hijau (Rain Mountain). The road to the village is an ex-logging road built by PT Aceh Inti Timber. When the company was awarded the HPH (Hak Pengusahaan Hutan) Forest Concession, it immediately started logging the forest outside the concession area.
In 2002, PT Aceh Inti Timber had concessions covering an area of 125,000 hectares, according to the Association of Indonesian Concession Holders. Having seen logging companies ransacking the forests outside concession areas, villagers also logged the forests. One Dusun Guhanaga villager asked, “If companies are stealing the timber, why should I be a bystander?”
We travelled to the village in December 2012 with Suhelmi, the vice-chairman of the House of Representatives in Calang, the capital of Aceh Jaya Regency. Previously, Suhelmi was amukim, the leader of several villages, and part of Aceh’s customary legal system.
We sat in a shop in the village with Suhelmi and drank coffee. Eight men sat around smoking. There were two women in head-scarves, one of whom was singing quietly and putting a baby to sleep. A radio blasted Indonesian pop music from the shop next door. Cats and chickens wandered in and out of the shop.