Sacred forest, hunting, and conservation in West Kalimantan, Indonesia

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In a number of places, sacred forest sites play an important role in conservation and local livelihoods. This paper examines how Iban hunters and animals alike use sacred forest in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. To determine the relative importance of different sites in hunting, it compares hunting effort, animal species and their numbers encountered by hunters, and encounters and captures in a variety of forest sites including sacred groves. The authors relate the results to the role of such sites in the overall Iban agroforestry system and in the conservation of forest habitat that professional conservationists deem precious. Such land use practices, while having social and religious origins, may be important for local economic purposes, but they may also be valuable in promoting and enhancing the more global goals of biodiversity conservation.

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