- Social Science Research and Conservation Management in the Interior of Borneo: Unravelling Past and Present Interactions of People and Forests (review)
- Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia
- ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
- Volume 20, Number 1, April 2005
- p. pp. 110-114
- View Citation
110Book Reviews Social Science Research and Conservation Management in the Interior of Borneo: Unravelling Past and Present Interactions ofPeople and Forests. Edited by C. Eghenter, B. Sellato, and G. Simon Devung. Bogor, Indonesia: CIFOR, 2001. 297 pp. What is the role ofsocial science research in conservation projects? How do we better apply research to conservation interventicns? Are there trade-offs between social science and interdisciplinary research, on the one hand, and building local interests and skills to conduct research, on the other? If so, what are they and what are their implications? These are some ofthe key questions this volume addresses at different analytical levels. Based on the grounded experience, documentation and learning involved a long-term applied research project, this volume resists blueprint answets, explores possibilities and constraints, and demonstrates that the answets ate anything but straightforward. Moreover, this collection is an important contribution to the ethnographic material of the upland people ofBotneo, collectively known as Dayik, as well as a contribution to studies of ethnic minorities and hill tribes generally. The volume is a small selection of research reports that are the product of the pioneering, ambitious, and long-term (1991-97) intetdisciplinary research project Culture & Conservation (COcC), which was part of the larger Kayan Mentarang Conservation Project (KMCP) in the northern interior of East Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), which is still ongoing. The book is remarkable for the diversity in professional training, research skills, and cultutal backgrounds of the authors. The editors all have a deep history with C&C specifically and Borneo generally. Furthet, ten of the 16 authors are natives of Borneo, with the rest coming from othet parts of Indonesia or elsewhere. It follows the tradition established by the Borneo Research Council. The book is also remarkable in thai: it reflects the methodological and practical experiment that was C&C, namely, to conduct intetdisciplinaty research regarding the linkages between the environment and the communities directly dependent on those resources that could be useful to a conservation project, The edited collection consists of 13 chaptets — an introductory Book Reviews1 1 1 chapter that frames and contextualizes the subsequent 12 "research" chapters, which are based on primary fieldwork that was part ofC&C. The extensive introductory chapter is divided into two sections: first, an institutional history of C&C, the broader KMCP and the links between them, and then an introduction to the Kayan Mentarang region and its people, particularly the Kenyan, an upland tribe that falls under the rubric ofDayak. The first section ofthe introduction lays out the logic and history of C&C and recounts the successes, challenges, and lessons learned in light of that logic, namely, connecting social science research and conservation practice in large part through building local interest in research and attendant skills. The second section provides the necessary background to those not familiar with Borneo and its upland people to better understand the 12 fieldwork-based chapters. It focuses primarily on the Dayak Kenyah, who are the primary residents of the Pujungan sub-district, where much of the C&C research took place. The fieldwork-based chapters themselves "highlight the main attitudes and traditions in forest management among the people living in and around the Kayan Mentarang conservation area". The chapters are grouped into four themes: the link between traditional knowledge and resource management, traditional institutions related to forest and land tenure, histories and archaeological studies ofupland ethnic groups, and documentation of folktales and folksongs. The first set of four chapters by Setyawati, Sindju, Sirait, and Konradus articulates traditional knowledge and resource management through an ethnographic approach to a particular commodity, namely, swidden cultivated rice, uncultivated and cultivated rattan, and the aromatic and elusive eaglewood (gaharu), which is the product ofa fungal infection of trees belonging to the genera Aquilana. The second set of three chapters by S. Jacobus E. Frans L.; Angguk Lamis, Concordius Kanyan, and Y. Paulus Bunde; and Devung provides ethnographic accounts of traditional Kenyah institutions that regulate property rights over land and forest. This selection of chapters also addresses how these institutions are or are not adapting to socio-cultural change. The third group of two chapters by Anau, Lawai, Arifin; and Sellato traces the 112Book Reviews ofigins and migrations of upland groups in this region through a ttiangulation of...