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State, Communities and Forests In Contemporary Borneo

State, Communities and Forests In Contemporary Borneo OPEN ACCESS

Editor Fadzilah Majid Cooke
Volume: Asia-Pacific Environment Monograph 1
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: ANU Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2jbjv2
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  • Book Info
    State, Communities and Forests In Contemporary Borneo
    Book Description:

    The name 'Borneo' evokes visions of constantly changing landscapes, but with important island-wide continuities. One of the continuities has been the forests, which have for generations been created and modified by the indigenous population, but over the past three decades have been partially replaced by tree crops, grass or scrub. This book, the first in the series of Asia-Pacific Environmental Monographs, looks at the political complexities of forest management across the whole island of Borneo, tackling issues of tenure, land use change and resource competition, 'tradition' versus 'modernity', disputes within and between communities, between communities and private firms, or between communities and governments. While it focuses on the changes taking place in local political economies and conservation practices, it also makes visible the larger changes taking place in both Indonesia and Malaysia. The common theme of the volume is the need to situate local complexities in the larger institutional context, and the possible gains to be made from such an approach in the search for alternative models of conservation and development.

    eISBN: 978-1-920942-52-6
    Subjects: Environmental Science, Sociology
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Table of Contents

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  1. Foreword (pp. vii-viii)
    Lesley Potter

    The name ʹBorneoʹ evokes visions of constantly changing landscapes, but with important island-wide continuities. One of the continuities has been the forests, which have for generations been created and modified by the indigenous population, but over the past three decades have been partially replaced by tree crops, grass or scrub. The loss of forests has been most severe in Sabah, where the plantation model is long established. In Kalimantan, populations have grown and both government-backed and illegal forest clearing have increased exponentially, bringing imminent or more distant threats to traditional livelihoods, but also possibilities to engage with new opportunities. Activities...

  2. Part I. Introduction
    • Fadzilah Majid Cooke

      In the hierarchy of Indonesian and Malaysian official development priorities, Borneo occupies a unique niche. While its peoples and their local political economies are regarded as backward or uncivilised by officials, the natural resources which these same people manage are considered rich.² The combination of economic poverty and natural resource wealth provides prime sites for ʹdevelopmentʹ, mostly for the good of the majority or the national good. However, towards the end of the 20th century ʹdevelopmentʹ changed direction. Through Indonesiaʹs decentralisation policy and Sarawakʹs land development policy targeted specifically at Native Customary Land, ʹdevelopmentʹ has been more intensely localised than...

  3. Part II. Framework and Institutions
    • Fadzilah Majid Cooke

      Current interest in the decentralisation of state and administrative power has provided lessons about state strengths or weaknesses and why the reform process in many countries has met with difficulties. Examining factors contributing to those difficulties by studying state management of natural resources could provide a beginning for understanding the challenges faced by reformists.

      Following Dove (1986, 1999), the state is seen here as having its own developmental and environmental agenda, but is not monolithic. A most ambitious social engineering program has been attempted in Sarawak, East Malaysia, since the mid-1990s, with the large-scale redesign of rural life through the...

    • Ramy Bulan

      The Sarawak governmentʹs strategy for economic growth through commercial development of agricultural land has resulted in vast areas of land being opened for large-scale plantations, including oil palm. In some places this has affected lands subject to ʹnative customary rightsʹ (Sarawak Government 1997). When such rights are established over a tract of Interior Area Land, it becomes Native Customary Land. The latest type of development scheme, often dubbed Konsep Baru (New Concept), is one that uses the concept of fiduciary trust in the formation of joint ventures between native landowners, the government and large corporations.

      This chapter examines native customary...

    • Anne Casson

      This chapter examines the initial impacts of decentralisation on forests and estate crops in the district of Kutai Barat, East Kalimantan. It is one of nine district-level case studies carried out during 2000 and early 2001 by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in four provinces: Riau, East Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, and West Kalimantan. Fieldwork for this study was conducted in mid-2000 and the author has relied on secondary material and key informants to update some information.

      Located in the upper region of East Kalimantanʹs Mahakam river basin, West Kutai district was formed through the administrative division of the...

  4. Part III. Local Interventions
    • Ketut Deddy

      Conflicts over land and natural resources often occur where there are overlapping resource interests among groups, communities or states. These overlapping interests usually become clear when each party is asked to define their own boundaries. Disputes are mainly related to tenure, which ʹdetermines who can (and canʹt) do what with the property in question and under which circumstances they can (or canʹt) do itʹ (Lynch and Alcorn 1994: 373–4). Property is defined as ʹa bundle of rightsʹ (Bruce 1998: 1) and responsibilities (Lynch and Alcorn 1994: 374), which can be held by a state, a corporation, an organisation, a...

    • Reed L. Wadley

      After the onset of the Indonesian economic crisis in 1997, ʹillegalʹ¹ logging increased quite dramatically across the country. In West Kalimantan, these activities invariably involved the export of timber across the porous international border into Sarawak, Malaysia. (The same has held true for East Kalimantan, with timber going into Sabah.) The power vacuum left after the end of Suhartoʹs New Order regime resulted in a de facto regional autonomy, well prior to the implementation of formal otonomi daerah in 2001 which has continued to facilitate these logging and export activities.

      In the borderland of the upper Kapuas River, local élites...

    • Justine Vaz

      With the steady degradation of the worldʹs tropical forests and reduced confidence in the protected-area model, some attention has turned to the potential role that community-claimed forests could play in biodiversity conservation. In Sabah and elsewhere in Asia, the customary lands of upland communities — often comprising tapestries of homesteads and farms, fallowed fields, mature secondary forest and the hinterland of riverine and primary forests — could potentially serve as refuges for threatened biodiversity. With long histories of residence, active use of the forest landscape, and an apparent affinity to the forest, many local or indigenous community lifestyles have been...

    • Cristina Eghenter

      Since the 1980s, there has been a radical shift in thinking about environmental and natural resource management as being inseparable from issues of the welfare and human rights of minority or indigenous people (Chartier and Sellato 1998). This view was also shared in conservationist circles, where indigenous people acquired increasing visibility in the management of protected areas. Indigenous people and conservation organisations came to be perceived as natural allies based on the evidence that:

      … most of the remaining significant areas of high natural value on earth are inhabited by indigenous people. This testifies to the efficacy of indigenous resource...

    • Mogens Pedersen, Ole Mertz and Gregers Hummelmose

      Shifting cultivators and logging companies have traditionally been considered to be in conflict with each other as they are using the same resources for different purposes. Shifting cultivation is usually a subsistence-oriented agricultural system clearing forested areas for fields with annual crops and leaving these areas fallow for varying periods. Logging is mostly a purely commercial activity using the largest valuable trees, while the logged-over areas are either left for regrowth and re-logged after a number of years or else clear-cut for development of forest plantations or industrial crops such as oil palm or rubber.

      Criticism of both systems has...

  5. Part IV. Conclusion
    • Cristina Eghenter

      The strength of this volume, as mentioned in the Introduction, is in its comprehensive focus on the island of Borneo (both Indonesian and Malaysian sides) as a complex and dynamic case study in natural resource management, devolution, antagonism between central state policy and community rights, and the interrelated economic and social implications at the local level.

      The idea of natural resource management as a privileged ʹlocusʹ of research, analysis, and policy advocacy is certainly not new. Nevertheless, this volume contributes important perspectives and indicates, implicitly or explicitly, some key elements that should be considered by analysts and scholars, practitioners and...