Lakes and forests help protect water resources for indigenous communities, most of whom are coffee, citrus and vegetable farmers.

The forest has a natural tourism zone, where investors can enter, and a nature protection zone. “We see illegal logging, which has an impact on the forest,” said traditional elder Putu Ardana. “That’s what we don’t want.”

Together with the local community, Putu tries to protect the forest. They lobbied the government to return forest management to village residents. However, to make this happen, the government must first recognize the indigenous tribes’ customary rights to the land.

To the government and investors, Putu expressed his strong criticism. “The government sees (Bali) as a good commodity. Then investors finance it, then the government offers it in the form of regulations, permits and so on,” he said.

“You shouldn’t (see Bali) with the concept of selling, but preserving.”

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