TIMESINDONESIA, YOGYAKARTA – The implementation of decentralization, which has been going on for a long time in Indonesia, requires each region to be independent by providing income for its region. Moreover, it requires each region to take advantage of the potential that exists in the region to bring economic opportunities.t The utilization of regional potential has an influence, both in the social and political fields, especially in the environmental sector.

On the one hand, some think that decentralization brings independence to the region by increasing the economy of a region. However, on the other hand, many think that local governments meet regional revenues without thinking about the consequences of the social or the environment. Actual examples of environmental impacts include deforestation and increased conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural functions.

The impact of decentralization on forest deforestation is now familiar to Indonesian society. It can be proven according to the study of Publish What You Pay Indonesia, which was reported from pwypindonesia.org based on a study of deforestation and land degradation in Indonesia in this decade experiencing a high phase. According to the study, a high threat of forest destruction areas is in the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan.

Based on data obtained from Global Forest Watch Indonesia, it is found that around 27 million hectares of land and forest areas changed function or the equivalent of 17% occurred from 2001 to 2019. The direct impact of forest deforestation was the flood that occurred in South Kalimantan. At the beginning of 2021, which caused hundreds of thousands of residents to be affected by major floods.

According to data reported by kompas.com, the forest area has turned into a mining area and monoculture plantations. Local governments tend to provide convenience in licensing mining businesses which are very attractive to investors. It is an effort to increase regional income and provide benefits for local elites in the regions.

The implementation of decentralization that impacts the environment is a matter of deforestation and raises the problem of the conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural functions. In addition, the demands of local governments to become independent regions have resulted in each region competing to increase physical development or industrialization, which results in shrinking agricultural land.

According to research (Nurhidayah, 2017), local governments are required to increase economic growth by developing the industrial sector. However, on the other hand, it must also maintain the existence of agricultural land to maintain the sustainability of agricultural production and maintain environmental balance.

One area that has undergone a high level of agricultural land conversion is Sleman Regency, which is in the DIY Province. Based on data from the Sleman Regency Agriculture and Food Security Service, the conversion of paddy fields to non-rice fields in 2019 amounted to 19,432.00 hectares (Ha), and in 2020 it increased with the rate of conversion of agricultural land functions of 19,913.00 Ha.

It is in line with the development that continues to be intensively carried out by the regional government because many investors want to build businesses in the Sleman Regency, such as malls, hotels, apartments, and factories. However, this impacts food security and socio-economic conditions, especially agricultural laborers who have lost their jobs.

Decentralization is a proper system because each region must be independent so that it does not depend on the central government. In addition, each region can innovate by utilizing its potential resources.

However, the fact is that decentralization in Indonesia in utilizing potential resources has not gone as expected. The ambition of local governments to increase the income of their respective regions without being accompanied by ethical responsibilities has had an impact on environmental damage.

It is necessary to have such a permit mechanism by procedures, strict law enforcement, transparency in the use of resources in the region, and it is necessary to involve supervision from the local community to minimize environmental damage. (*)

By: Vinda Audi Noerraissa, The Student of Yogyakarta State University

Source: Times Indonesia