The papers in this special issue on Environment shed light on the changing relations between society and nature in South-East Asia. In a first set of articles on forest politics in Indonesia, Anu Lounela (Link to PDF) looks at conflicts over state forestland and explains the sources of authority which a local Javanese leader draws on to challenge state policies on land and forests. Also on Java, Ahmad Maryudi (Link to PDF) shows how community resistance against state control over forests became co-opted and bureaucratised within a community forestry scheme. Cathrin Bullinger and Michaela Haug (Link to PDF) discuss the unintended consequences of the decentralisation policy in the Reformasi era. The combination of centralised timber industry and localised concession-granting political power led to an upsurge in logging activities and to reassertion of centralised power by the Ministry of Forestry. The Ministries of Forestry of several South-East Asian countries are key players in a new commodity which is currently being produced within the global climate regime: carbon. The UN mechanism Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) aims to sell carbon stocks ‘saved’ by preventing deforestation on an emerging carbon market. In their interview with Prof. Rachmat Witoelar, the Indonesian President’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, Till Plitschka and Irendra Radjawali (Link to PDF) explore why REDD is the key component of Indonesia’s climate change mitigation programme. In a second interview, conducted by Oliver Pye, Chris Lang from the website REDD Monitor explains some of the dangers of REDD. The production of a new and lucrative commodity could lead to powerful groups appropriating carbon stocks to the detriment of indigenous peoples and their use of forests (Link to PDF). The kind of stakeholder alliance that has come to typify the new REDD socio-natural landscapes across the region – conservation NGOs, carbon trading companies, and government agencies – also run the REDD project in Cambodia discussed by Donal Yeang (Link to PDF). An attempt to ‘sustainable rural development’, but in a very different context, is the focus of Amalia Rossi’s article (Link to PDF) on the Royal Projects in Northern Thailand and their connection to the Red and Yellow Shirts movement. Marina Wetzlmaier’s article (Link to PDF) on the impact of mining on indigenous peoples in the Philippines reminds us that neoliberal development does not only rely on fuzzy stakeholder self-management but also on old-fashioned violence. A set of articles looks at changing waterscapes from different perspectives. Erik Cohen’s auto-ethnography (Link to PDF) of the 2011 flood in Bangkok offers a very personal insight into how the middle-class segment of the city reacted to the flood. Water politics are taken up by Carl Middleton (Link to PDF) who explores how Thailand’s energy sector has shifted its dam-building activities to the Mekong region, raising issues of trans-border environmental justice. The photo essay by Martin Lukas, Julia, Irendra Radjawali, Michael Flitner, and Oliver Pye (Link to PDF) on the Kapuas River in West Kalimantan visualises the spatial dynamics inherent in the transformation of the social relations of nature across South-East Asia that connect the urban and the rural in new and diverse ways. In addition the issue features two book reviews: Jessica Gärtner discusses the volume ”Umweltkonflikte in Südostasien“ (2012), edited by Schneider, Jordan, and Waibel (Link to PDF), and Melanie Pichler reviews “The Palm Oil Controversy in Southeast Asia. A Transnational Perspective“ (2013), edited by Pye and Bhattacharya (Link to PDF). Finally, ASEAS continues the introduction of Austrian research institutes working on South-East Asian related topics: Florian Gruber, Alexander Degelsegger, and Cosima Blasy (Link to PDF) introduce the Project SEA-EU-NET at the Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI).
The main reason why this time it took us a bit longer to make the current issue's contents available was the relaunch of our website. We wish to apologise for this inconvenience but are sure it was worth the wait. If you have followed our activities over the last couple of years you might have noticed that ASEAS has more and more become the focus of the work of SEAS. We thought that it was time for this to be reflected in the appearance and functionality of our website.
On the new seas.at our issue's articles are now presented and displayed better than ever - access and navigation got a lot more easier. Through extendable abstracts, DOI display as well as general details on each issue's own subpage you will get a much quicker while richer overview over ASEAS' contents. In general, the basic infrastructure is now up and running. Over the next couple of weeks we will bit by bit add more contents and functions. Of course, we are always happy to receive your feedback on this.
Finally, let us remind you of our two current Call for Papers for the 2013 ASEAS issues 6(1) und 6(2).
Make sure to have a look at the Call for Papers, forward these to friends and colleagues and get in contact with us if you have any questions on submissions.
Beside research papers we also accept book reviews, interviews, or submissions for any other of our journal's sections - with or without the respective focus.