Some results and experiences
Although analyses are still ongoing, a varied range of results is already available from the different surveys, including databases, reports, a model, and 'lessons learned' in general.
Five classes of results of the survey in Malinau, Kalimantan are:
1. Biophysical context
The field survey covered 200 sample sites, ranging from cultivated fields to undisturbed rainforest.
The database of field data may be downloaded.
The graph below shows per-plot percentages of all the valued or useful species recorded by site type according to Merap and Punan informants. The circles show median values while the lines signify highest and lowest records for each site type by each informant.
Apart from the rich data set on trees, herbs, climbers, and various other plant groups, lists of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and various invertebrates have been produced by related CIFOR biodiversity studies in the area. These lists are based on extensive observations and collections, as well as information from local communities. Amongst the collected taxa are a number of likely new species.
2. Local preferences
The scoring exercises with the Pebble Distribution Method showed how local communities score the importance of forests compared with other land types, in general (OA) and for specific values and importance (see explanation of codes below the table). This a summary of scores from all seven communities, men and women, young and old, Merap and Punan. Except for recreation', forest scores highest in all value categories.
Explanation of use class codes:
PDM exercises also revealed how people compare the importance of wild and cultivated products, plants as well as animals. The figure below contrasts two of the seven communities.
In Long Jalan, men focus on gaharu collection and collect much wild meat but have little time or suitable land to cultivate and rice is bought, while in Langap the farmers are more self-reliant and grow much of their food, and have time to rear animals other than chicken. Even in Langap, however, young men like to hunt wild animals.
A more sophisticated combined series of scoring exercises allowed for the identification of the 'most important species', including both plants and animals. Combined with ecological information, conservation value and potential threats to these species, this is a powerful tool for prioritizing conservation planning as well as guiding future research.
The complete Species PDM database may be downloaded from this website.
We consider the set of methods we developed also as a product of our work. We are promoting the uptake of this approach for biodiversity surveys by producing translations in Indonesian, Spanish and French. (see publications)
Government logging regulations (TPTI) require timber companies to repeatedly slash all undergrowth and climbers (including many useful species such as rattan and medicinal plants), in an effort to encourage regeneration. Our survey showed that much of the remaining value of logged forest to local communities is lost due to this practise, and biodiversity reduced, whereas the silvicultural benefit is doubtful. It seems wise to revoke this policy.
Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) requires careful road and skid-trail planning. This results in roads running along the tops of ridges. However, that is where many of the valued sago palms (Eugeissona utilis) grow, a principle food source in times of shortage. RIL regulations should be adapted to take care of these locally important resources.
The protection of sites like graves in the forest and salt water springs which draw in and support wildlife may serve both the interest of local communities and biodiversity maintenance. This is only one of many possible win-win situations.
5. Further development and research
The spatial extrapolation of the results from this survey remained unclear. Therefore, a case study by Resilience Alliance was commisisioned to apply the spatial approach followed in Mozambique to the area around Lio Mutai, one of the remoter survey villages. A report of this case study is in preparation.
Importance of the landscape around Liu Mutai, for boat owners; from very important (red) to not important (blue).
Another follow-up activity is the presentation of the results back to communities and eventually local government. Rather than a written report, we choose to prepare a set of four posters around the question "What is important to us (=local communities) in this (=local) landscape?", with many pictures, colourful illustrations and short, simple texts. We have held several review meetings with the communities, to make sure they agree with what is said in their name. In the posters, we also include facts about Indonesia's and Kalimantan's great biodiversity and results from the soil analysis that was part of the survey. All in all, we hope that this information will be considered by decision makers in the ongoing land use planning process of the new district