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The forbidden forest of the Dayak

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Borneo Setulang Community If the people of Setulang want to have fun, they have a party and dance. Young and old people have fun together. Our tribe's name is Oma'lung and we are part of the Dayak Keyah tribe. Setulang is a small village with about nine hundred people. My name is Kole Adjang. I live in Setulang. I work as the Head of the Setulang Forest Management Agency Today, we are going to Tana Olen by boat up the Setulang River. Setulang village's rice paddy fields are on the way. Every village family is allocated ten land plots. Each year, the family uses only one of them. The second year, we clear the second land plot, cutting and using fire which nurtures the soil. After a cycle of about ten years, we come back to the first plot. It is strictly forbidden to burn a new area in the forest for a paddy field. Villager people understand the agreement of their great grandparents. There is a designated area for rice paddy fields, an area specific for gathering housing and construction wood, and an area that's Tana Olen (forbidden forest) ... where it is forbidden to damage or log trees. Our neighbouring villages have no trees and the land is not healthy. Many timber companies have logged their land. But in our Tana Olen, the old growth trees are still there. Maybe a tourist would like to come and see the reality. We got all these fish with one throw of the net! Of course, we have to make some facilities, to make it easier for people who want to visit. Villagers will understand the ecotourists coming will help them earn money. So, then naturally they will keep protecting the forest. We don't know exactly what will happen in the future. Will the next generation keep our agreement, or will they damage, open new land or log? Perhaps serve their self interest? We hope that by example, All of the trees in Tana Olen, keep the water clean, and this makes us happy when we swim. Sometimes, we check that the trees in our Tana Olen, have not been illegaly logged. This is Ratan. Its good for making bags. This leaf is useful for many things ... a shelter, hats, a multipurpose cover. Setulang people love hunting. We use hunting platforms like this one up in the tree. We shoot the boar and then take it down the river to the village. This is one reason why we will always keep this forest. Scientists inform us, forests filter carbon from out of the air. They told us, a carbon trader would give us a fee for every tree ... that we do not cut. That's what the people told us. Is it true? I am still wondering? One tree has a large drum of water. If you cut the trees, the Setulang River will decrease and eventually stagnate. We have big trees like this, and even larger ones, that we protect. Anyone who cuts down the trees in Tana Olen will be punished. This is written policy and the traditional law of Setulang village. In my opinion global warming, will be getting hotter, and hotter and hotter. If there are no forests on Earth, maybe it will get hotter. So our local plan is going the right way, because conserving the forest is what the earth needs.

Video Details

Duration: 9 minutes and 5 seconds
Country: Indonesia
Language: Indonesian
Producer: United Nations University
Views: 195
Posted by: unuchannel on Jun 16, 2009

Deep in the remaining old growth forests of Borneo, the Setulang Dayak village guards its forest with deep commitment. To date, the village's traditional law of Tana Olen (forbidden forest), withstands increasing pressure from encroaching logging industries. Now as rapid development rolls in, the village is trying to secure sustainable and forest-friendly future, including a eco-tourism venture and carbon credits.

To see other stories in the UNU's Indigenous Perspectives of Climate change videobrief series:

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