A Program on the Global Environment Distinguished Lecture by Lesley Potter, Associate Professor, Department of Human Geography, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University. Despite the global paradigm shift from centralized to decentralized forest management, this process has been slow to develop in "forest rich" Indonesia. Although both deforestation and forest degradation have continued at a high level, the Ministry of Forestry has been reluctant to provide communities with a legal role in managing their forests, especially those falling within the permanent forest estate. Forest tenure remains a huge problem, with the rights of traditional or "adat" communities subordinated to those of the state. This lecture examines the continuing role of the Ministry, especially in relation to domestic forests.