Posted on 27 September 2017
Forests are close to every part of community life
Forests are connected to nearly every part of community life in East Kalimantan. Using methods both traditional and modern, communities manage their forests in ways that support sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity protection, and local culture.
Click through the images on the right for more. The text of the image captions is duplicated below.
Participatory mapping of community protected forest areas, called Tanaa Ulen, allows for better land-use planning, like the making of a jungle trail for ecotourism inside the forest area of Batu Majang. The trail will support ecotourism activities that underscore the importance of the area’s biodiversity, like bird watching, camping, and forest trekking, and provide alternative sources of income for the community. Local ecotourism is managed by Pokdarwis Bangen Tawai, a group of community members. The name of the Pokdarwis, or group, Bangen Tawai, means “happy with ideals” in the indigenous Dayak Kenyah language.
Hudoq Pekayan, a traditional dance in Long Tuyoq, is usually performed after the planting is finished in the highland rice paddies above the village. The dance asks for help from the divine to protect the paddy from pests, and expresses wishes for the paddy to grow well and have good yields. This traditional dance illustrates the relationship between human and nature in Dayak culture, where the spirit of each pest is chased from the village to protect the crops. Here, dancers in bird masks embody the birds that forage in the rice paddies.
Freshwater, and the fish it supports, is dependent on forests. Villagers in Minta harvest kendiaq fish in a small artificial river off the bank of the Mahakam River. This river off-shoot was created by the community as a place to trap and catch fishes coming from the Mahakam River. Minta is one of the villages where WWF Indonesia is supporting sustainable livelihoods and an Indigenous community conserved area (ICCA). The ICCA provides legal rights, but also supports natural resource management capacity building in line with indigenous cultural relationships with nature.
The traditional ceremony of Mencaq Undat is a celebration welcoming the rice harvest and offering thanksgiving for good yields. The villagers of Batu Majang pictured here are pounding the harvested rice into flour, which will later be cooked and served at a community feast. The full ceremony includes additional offerings of dance and music, and, in addition to expressing gratitude for the bounty of the harvest, emphasizes the spirit of cooperation as an important part of traditional community values and culture.