SILABU—Wood companies in Mentawai often bring conflict between communities and even within clans because of communal land ownership. Within a clan, it is not infrequent that disputes and even hostility can arise.
This conflict is currently being experienced by Rita Warti (53), a teacher who lives in Sikakap. She disagrees with her siblings and cousins because they do not agree on allowing the Koperasi Minyak Atsiri Mentawai to cut wood in the forest belonging to her clan in Silabu Village, North Pagai District, Mentawai Islands.
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From the start, Rita has refused to let her land be managed by the cooperative, which got a permit to open a 1,500 hectare essential oil plantation in Silabu. To open a plantation, the Koperasi Minyak Atsiri Mentawai obtained a non-forestry wood utilization permit from the West Sumatra Forestry Service in 2021. The trees are cut down and the wood is sold outside the Mentawai. Timber owners are compensated only Rp. 25,000 per cubic meter.