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Shifting Cultivators of Indonesia: Marauders Or Managers of the Forest?: Rice Production and Forest Use Among the Uma'Jalan of East Kalimantan

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Production and Forest Use Among the Uma Jalan of East Kalimantan
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Richard Dudley and Carol Colfer
... Colfer heard many stories from the people of Long Segar, East Kalimantan, about their reliance on forest foods during droughts (though in 1998, the effects of the fire were so severe that even these sources were not available, Colfer 2001). In the years following the El Niños of 1972Niños of , 1983Niños of , and 1998, dramatic rat invasions further devastated people's livelihoods and reduced food availability in this community (Colfer and Dudley 1993). This pattern appears general in the region: All seven forest communities examined in Malinau-ranging from recently settled Punan, to long-term swidden farming Merap-report having been dependent on the forest for food in the recent past when crops have failed or been lost to drought, floods or pests (Sheil et al. 2003). ...
... There is a rich literature on the uses to which Borneo's people put their forests (e.g., Colfer and Dudley 1993;Colfer et al. 1997;Colfer et al. 2000;Colfer and Soedjito 2003;Dove 1985;Peluso 1994;Puri 1997;Sheil et al. 2003; see Box 1). Reading such works, one is continually struck by the dependence of the people on their surrounding forests, the many uses to which it is put, and the strategies that function to sustain it, given low population density and minimal contact with powerful outsiders intent on extraction. ...
... Both groups are virtually completely dependent on their forested environment for their daily needs, and their remoteness makes finding alternative sources difficult. Their rates of natural increase are in marked contrast to low population growth rates among the Uma' Jalan Kenyah of East Kalimantan, Indonesia (Colfer and Dudley 1993). ...
... Although many details in the book are dated, important premises, observations and cautions apply today. 40 Colfer and Dudley (1993) provide detailed population information from several forested Bornean villages of Uma' Jalan Kenyah Dayaks, showing very slow growth rates (even prior to access to 'modern' family planning). ...
... A terrible drought in Rajasthan led to major male out-migration in 1985-87 (Torri 2010; also highlighted as a factor by World Bank 2009). The 1983 El Niño drought in East Kalimantan resulted in high rates of out-migration from forests, some temporary, some permanent (Colfer and Dudley 1993). Taxation has, historically, been another important stimulus: Gusii men in Kenya, during the colonial period, migrated routinely to earn money to pay taxes (a pattern no longer found, Silberschmidt 2001); see also Wardell's (in press) historical account of this same colonial pattern in Ghana. ...
... Indigenous agriculturalist communities have responded to shifting political and economic incentives in a variety of ways, including through expanded production of cash crops such as rubber (Dove 1993) and pursuit of off-farm employment with timber companies. The rapid expansion of oil palm plantations in East Kalimantan in the last two decades has dramatically altered the upland (1991), Colfer andDudley (1993), andColfer (2008). 3 'Dayak' and 'Punan' are generic terms for indigenous agriculturalist and hunter-gatherer groups, respectively, and encompass a variety of different ethnicities of indigenous Christian or animist people, though distinct from the Muslim Kutai and Malay populations (Colfer pers. ...
Article
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Swidden has historically been one of the most widespread land uses in upland Southeast Asia. In recent decades, swidden systems across the region have undergone rapid transformation. While most analyses focus on swidden as a livelihood practice, we direct attention to the political nature of swidden. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork and household surveys from two villages in East Kalimantan Province, Indonesia, we examine the politics of swidden along two key dimensions. First, at the household level, we describe swidden as a land control strategy. We identify territorialization and speculation as drivers of ‘contentious land change’ in swidden systems under pressure from expanding plantations and mines. Second, at the village and district levels, we examine the politics of swidden within new forest governance arrangements. Control of swidden has provided a focus for multi-stakeholder forest governance, but with ambivalent effects, developing village land management and livelihoods at a cost of temporary increases in swidden clearing and with minimal impact on deforestation for industrial land uses. Our analysis suggests forest governance efforts will be ineffective in eliminating contentious land change or reducing district-level deforestation until they address plantation and mining expansion as the dominant direct and indirect drivers of forest conversion.
... In addition, recent research indicates that shifting cultivation by traditional Dayak communities is not a significant cause of wildfires. 4 Long traditions, customs and extensive knowledge normally prevent the irresponsible or uncontrolled use of fire in such communities (Aspiannur et al., 1997;Colfer, 2001;Colfer and Dudley, 1993;Vayda, 1999). Nevertheless, information gathered from several villages in the Samarinda-Balikpapan and middle-Mahakam areas revealed that some accidental wildfires are caused by escaped shifting cultivation fires mainly started by farmers from non-indigenous ethnic groups (Abberger and Beebe, 1999;Aspiannur and Baraq, 1999;Colfer, 2001). ...
Article
This paper examines the approaches of a rural Gambia n community to forest fire management. Community forestry has given local communities the opportunities, but also the responsibility, of managing forests and protecting them from forest fires. The community described has been successful in implementing various fire prevention strategies. It has protected not only their forest, but also adjacent forestlands from ravaging fires. However, these achievements have been threatened by the lack of fire management in Kiang West National Park that borders the community forest of the village. The community's Forest Committee has now approached villages surrounding the National Park and invited authorities of Forestry and the National Park to a round-table meeting with the objective of involving all concerned stakeholders in local forest fire management.
Chapter
Using evidence from the history of agriculture in Southeast Asia, this chapter attempts to say something about the conditions required for effective management of natural resources. Effective management, as understood here, means management for sustainability. In recent literature sustainability is often defined in eclectic ways and according to abstract criteria, such as preserving the “quality” of the environment and the “integrity” of ecosystems (Smith and Jalal 2000, 16). In this chapter, however, sustainability simply means that the availability of whatever resource is under discussion—be it food, soil, or biodiversity—does not decrease over time.
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