(2010) JLP 62: 115-146
It is widely perceived that many governments in developing countries do not exercise effectively their resource control strategies over natural resources use. In coastal areas in particular control has been ineffective on a large scale. As a result in these jurisdictions coastal resource use continues to occur with little or no compliance with existing laws and regulations. Two primary conditions that facilitate such noncompliance include a lack of legal implementation and law enforcement, and administrative competition. Local government officials, particularly street-level bureaucrats, have tended not to hold resource users responsible for noncompliance with formal rules, but instead have tended to sympathize with resource users and report that they understand the reasons for non compliance. This attitude often leads to the establishment of actual resource tenure. This article describes the many arguments that local government officials in Kutai Kartanegara district, Kalimantan, Indonesia, have presented to justify their support of actual resource use. The article analyses why government officials at the local level may sympathize so strongly with actual resource use, and analyses the likely implications of these views on the coastal mangrove ecosystem in the area.