Integrated approaches to natural resource management are often undermined by fundamental governance weaknesses. We studied governance of a forest landscape in East Lombok, Indonesia. Forest Management Units (Kesatuan Pengelolaan Hutan or KPH) are an institutional mechanism used in Indonesia for coordinating the management of competing sectors in forest landscapes, balancing the interests of government, business, and civil society. Previous reviews of KPHs indicate they are not delivering their potential benefits due to an uncertain legal mandate and inadequate resources. We utilized participatory methods with a broad range of stakeholders in East Lombok to examine how KPHs might improve institutional arrangements to better meet forest landscape goals. We find that KPHs are primarily limited by insufficient integration with other actors in the landscape. Thus, strengthened engagement with other institutions, as well as civil society, is required. Although new governance arrangements that allow for institutional collaboration and community engagement are needed in the long term, there are steps that the East Lombok KPH can take now. Coordinating institutional commitments and engaging civil society to reconcile power asymmetries and build consensus can help promote sustainable outcomes. Our study concludes that improved multi-level, polycentric governance arrangements between government, NGOs, the private sector, and civil society are required to achieve sustainable landscapes in Lombok. The lessons from Lombok can inform forest landscape governance improvements throughout Indonesia and the tropics.
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