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2. Danau Sentarum National Park, Indonesia: a historical overview.

This chapter aims to introduce the reader to the history of resource use, protection, research, and development activities in Danau Sentarum National Park (DSNP) and paint a backdrop against which the more detailed and specific essays that follow can be set.

Over the past 20 years, DSNP has attracted an increasingly wide spectrum of interest from the academic community, both Indonesian and international. The disciplines include forestry, fisheries, anthropology, sociology, economics, honey processing and marketing, ecology (including birds, reptiles, primates and fire studies), paleobotany, development studies; the list goes on. The history of local communities, however, has been more neglected except by the researcher in whose memory this section has been collated: Reed Wadley. With his consummate attention to detail and interest in the locale far wider than his specialty, Wadley has left a legacy through his work for which we can all be grateful.

This literature review is meant to summarize the major activities and research findings since the previous special issue of the Borneo Research Bulletin, volume 31, published in 2000. Readers are encouraged to revisit the previous volume to gain a more complete picture of work and activities in the park.

Danau Sentarum National Park is an extensive area (132,000 ha) of freshwater lakes and lowland swamp forests in West Kalimantan, some 700 km up the Kapuas River from Pontianak. The predominant vegetation is swamp forest, and more than 500 species of plants have been identified (Giesen 2000). The forest is flooded for much of the year by seasonal lakes whose water levels can vary by up to 12 meters; these lakes support a high diversity offish, some 211 species (Kottelat and Widjanarti 2005). The lakes also buffer the flow of the Kapuas, thus reducing flooding along the longest river in Indonesia (Klepper 1994). Reptilian and amphibian fauna include crocodiles (Frazier 2000), turtles (Walter 2000), monitor lizards and snakes. The number of bird species is 237 (van Balen and Dennis 2000). With the exception of proboscis monkeys (Sebastian and Dennis 2000) and orangutans (Russon et al. 2001), information on mammals is limited. Danau Sentarum hosts many species not found, or rarely found, elsewhere because of its underlying hydrology and the relatively good condition of the habitats. This site of high biodiversity is home to approximately 10,100 people (Indriatmoko, this volume) who depend on its natural resources for their livelihoods.

Settlement and Resource Use

The following summary of human settlement in DSNP is based predominately upon Wadley's work (2002, 2006). Colfer et al. (2001) provide a detailed timeline obtained from local communities in the Danau Sentarum region.

Precolonial History

Evidence of human activity in Danau Sentarum dates back more than 30,000 years (Anshari et al. 2004). The dating is based on carbon levels in the peat that indicate a higher incidence of fires that cannot be explained through climate change; there is no archaeological or documentary evidence of human activity in the area until much more recent times.

The Kapuas River has been critical for transport and trade through West Kalimantan and was controlled through a series of sultanates, the Kapuas kingdoms. The Selimbau Kingdom, from which many of the residents of the lakes originate, is considered the oldest, reputedly dating from prior to 1500, based on oral histories ( An increase in interest in genealogical studies has led to a proliferation of websites on the traditional rulers in Indonesia, indicating a long history of governance in the Upper Kapuas and a continuing pride in that history.

The recorded history of the Upper Kapuas dates from the seventeenth century, when Islamic traders who arrived on the coast moved upriver, converting local Dayak communities. The Dayaks who converted to Islam in this area were called Melayu, their name incorrectly implying that they did not originate in Kalimantan. Those who did not adopt Islam continued with their traditional practices, though Christian missionaries converted many in later years. These people are now referred to as Dayaks. The many groups of Dayaks vary in their culture, language, land management practices, and spiritual beliefs. The three groups of interest to Danau Sentarum are the Iban, Embaloh, and Kantu, with the Iban being the group most numerous within the national park boundary and buffer zone.

Both the Melayu and the Dayaks lived in the kingdoms, but the former were subjects, under the authority of the sultans, and the Dayaks were not. The relations between the two groups were often cordial, but periods of wars and raids punctuated times of rapprochement and peace. Governance was complicated because the kingdoms had jurisdiction over people rather than land, a matter the Dutch authorities found confusing.

Colonial History

The first extant written report of habitation in Danau Sentarum, by the Dutch explorer Hartmann, appeared in 1823; he noted the presence of fishing and longhouses in the DSNP area. The location of Danau Sentarum, on the borderlands with Sarawak, significantly affected the history of the area over the next 120 years. From 1841 Rajah Brooke controlled Sarawak as a private kingdom aligned to Britain. In the 1850s the Dutch recognized that Brooke's occupation of Sarawak could affect their trading routes and tax revenues. Goods transported north, rather than along the Kapuas, and goods from Sarawak were circumventing Dutch taxation and being brought into Kalimantan at much cheaper prices.

One area the two colonial authorities agreed upon was their desire to suppress pirating and raiding attacks, though initially they did not work in tandem. Brooke's suppression of Iban pirating activities in Sarawak probably led to the return of the Iban into the lakes area and Upper Kapuas. (1) The Iban appear over this time to have been relatively mobile, moving according to the local political situation as well as access to natural resources.

Later, in the 1880s, the Dutch and British cooperated to reduce raids and headhunting by attempting to settle the Iban away from the border, and also by constructing a fort in Danau Sentarum from which the military could patrol the area. This not only kept the lakes safe for Melayu fishing but also prevented Iban incursions down into the Kapuas and the kingdoms there.

In 1886 a massive raid by the Brooke government resulted in the destruction of some 80 Iban longhouses on both sides of the border. After that, headhunting and raids were less frequent, though skirmishes occurred from time to time. From the 1890s the River Leboyan on the eastern reaches of Danau Sentarum was settled, first by the Iban, and later in the 1930s by the Melayu. Aside from these small settlements in the lakes area, most economic activity was still undertaken by residents from the Kapuas communities of Selimbau and Suhaid, who occupied the area on a seasonal basis.

The Second World War ended Dutch influence in the region, and there were limited interventions until Indonesia was formed and a government structure of province, regency and district introduced. Parallel to this, the Fisheries Service from 1945 started outreach work and was a significant influence in encouraging further year-round settlement in the national park and an increase in fishing intensity (Giesen and Aglionby 2000).

A final event of note was Konfrontasi, armed conflict between Malaysia and Indonesia. This concerned the Sarawak border and lasted from 1963 into the early 1970s, and for many years affected trade patterns. The relatively open border was tightened, restricting trade and travel into Sarawak. The northwestern border at Lubuk Antu and Nanga Badau was effectively closed for more than 10 years and even then remained closed for those not from the borderland area; it is still not an official border crossing for foreign nationals.

Current Resource Use

The survey undertaken by Riak Bumi and CIFOR estimated the population in DSNP at more than 10,100 people in 43 villages, 37 of which were permanent villages, with six seasonally occupied during the dry (fishing) season (Indriatmoko and Abas 2007). This is more than double the population in the early 1990s (Aglionby 1995), though the earlier surveys covered only 39 villages because of the smaller size of the wildlife reserve.

Current resource use in DSNP is much as described in volume 31 of the Borneo Research Bulletin, with further information available in Yuliani and Erman (2005). The value of the resources harvested is detailed by Aglionby (1997) and Yuliani et al. (this volume), but briefly, the population is largely dependent on fishing for both income and protein. Agriculture is minimal except on the periphery of the park among the Dayaks and a few Melayu communities. Timber is harvested from the reserve for the construction of houses and boats as well as for fuel for cooking. Because of the increased population and demand for cash, the stock of natural resources is declining as the volumes extracted increase, even though patterns of harvesting remain similar (Yuliani and Erman 2005).

Legal Frameworks

The management of Danau Sentarum is largely determined by national and regional legislation. Although there is a gulf between written law and its implementation, a clear understanding of the legal framework explains much of the history of management in protected areas (Patlis 2007).

The Indonesian government's Forest Protection and Nature Conservation directorate has not had sufficient staff or facilities to fully implement conservation management at DSNP, but even a "paper" park has its advantages. The very designation of Danau Sentarum as first a wildlife reserve and then a national park has limited development and extraction of the natural resources in the area.

The 1994 international designation of DSNP as a Ramsar site (a wetland of international importance) has also brought benefits, releasing funding streams that otherwise would be less accessible. Furthermore, it raises the profile of DSNP internationally and brings pressure on the Indonesian government both within the Ministry of Forestry and in the regional government to provide resources for its protection. It further discourages decisions that would adversely affect its condition. This has affected some decisions concerning oil palm plantations, as detailed by Yuliani et al. (this volume), although concessions have been awarded in surrounding areas.

Decree SK757/Kpts/Um/10/1982 made Danau Sentarum a wildlife reserve in 1982, and SK 34/Kpts-II/1999 created the national park in 1999. These decrees cannot be considered in isolation but must be viewed in connection with the law and regulations covering national parks.

National Legislation for Forestry

The Indonesian Constitution of 1945, as amended, grants the Indonesian state control and ownership over all natural resources. More particularly, all land declared as forest is state-owned and under the management of the Ministry of Forestry. The current primary law governing forest management is the 1999 Forestry Law, which replaced the 1967 Forestry Law. The 1999 law acknowledges that the forest estate is declining and requires sustainable management; it also requires management for both current and future generations, by implication adopting the ecosystems approach as required by the Convention on Biological Diversity. Article 1, Section 11, of the 1999 law defines nature conservation forest areas, including national parks, as "a forest with specific characteristics, having the main function of protecting life-supporting systems, preserving species diversity of plants and animals, and sustainable use of biological resources and their ecosystem" (Forestry Law 1999).

The 1999 law also allows some state forests to be adat (customary) forests if traditional rights have been continuously exercised and the use is consistent with the objectives of the forest area. Achieving formal recognition of adat rights in national parks, however, is difficult in practice (Moeliono 2008).

Conservation forests are under the control of the Ministry of Forestry. This means local government has no jurisdiction within Danau Sentarum, which has in the past resulted in difficulties in meeting local communities' socioeconomic needs, though it seems less of a problem since decentralization. Protected areas create a black hole in the administrative map of local government. Local governments have three options: (1) ignore communities resident in a national park; (2) treat the villages as if they were adjacent to the conservation area and build schools and clinics outside the park; or (3) provide some resources to the permanent settlements inside the park - an option that makes officials uncomfortable. The second and third options represent the strategies used by the kabupaten (district) of Kapuas Hulu for communities in DSNP. Significant efforts have been made since 1993 to increase coordination and understanding with the government of Kapuas Hulu. One limitation is that the national park headquarters are in Sintang, several hundred kilometers from Putussibau, the administrative capital of Kapuas Hulu district; the journey to Putussibau takes more than six hours by speedboat, or it can be reached in four hours by road from Lanjak.

The lack of socioeconomic support has disadvantages to communities but can be an advantage for the retention of forest. The policy of decentralization (2) allowed local government to grant small concessions of up to 100 ha for local needs, but only in areas under its jurisdiction. Because DSNP remains under the control of central government, local government cannot grant logging concessions within the park, but its authority in the buffer zone is less clear. DSNP's buffer zone of 65,000 hectares is thought by some to be part of the conservation area, but concessions have been granted, with significant impacts on the national park. There is also concern that the law is not being strictly followed, since the concessions are being granted for large-scale commercial use.

Administratively, Danau Sentarum may be a protected area under national regulation, but in practice it is part of a continuum of forest. Its boundary is in most places not apparent, and the forest just outside the park has been managed in much the same way as that just inside. Protected area boundaries have little significance for local communities. Furthermore, the demand for land for oil palm plantations in the buffer zone has increased pressure on DSNP. Not only would such development increase demand for timber and nontimber forest products from within DSNP, but clearing the forest for plantations would damage the park's water quality. The debate over oil palm concessions and who receives its benefits has been heated and has raised the profile of natural resource conservation. The status of the buffer zone as a conservation forest remains disputed, with both regional and central governments claiming authority.

Because of the work started by the United Kingdom-Indonesia Tropical Forestry Management Programme (UK-ITFMP) and continued by Riak Bumi and CIFOR, as well as the activities in Bentung-Kerihun National Park, the administration of Kapuas Hulu is aware of the area's importance for conservation and declared itself a conservation district in 2003 (SK Bupati Kabupaten Kapuas Hulu No. 144 2003). This public statement is a significant step forward, but it is a major task with high opportunity costs if the district in fact limits development.

Conservation Management

Management of DSNP is now under the head of the National Park Authority for DSNP, which was established on 1 February 2007 by Ministerial Decision P.03/ Menhut-II/2007. The technical unit is based at Sintang, some 200 km from DSNP, but enforcement officers are stationed in the field at various guard posts, including the small towns of Semitau, Selimbau, and Lanjak. The technical unit is responsible for managing the reserve and enforcing legislation to prevent illegal resource extraction and activities. In 2009 the technical unit's staff numbered 22, compared with two in 2005.

Hukum Adat and the Legal Framework

Hukum adat (customary law) has long governed the use of natural resources, mediated disputes between individuals, and addressed minor crimes. It is based on oral rules that are enforced by community elders and leaders (Lindsey 2008). If matters can be resolved in a local community, then recourse to state law can be avoided. Moreover, many matters are not addressed by state law in ways appropriate to specific communities' culture or religious beliefs.

Wilayah Kerja: Spatial Implementation of Hukum Adat

The 1994-1995 survey of villages in Danau Sentarum revealed that each village had its own rules governing the harvesting of resources and its own wilayah kerja (resource utilization area; literally, 'work area') to which those rules applied (Aglionby 1995). This geographical aspect of customary law represents a change from earlier times (Wadley 2006), when the Kapuas kingdoms had control over their subjects, but not the land.

In DSNP today, with some exceptions, communities allow outsiders to enter and fish or harvest other resources, but the outsiders must follow the wilayah kerja, the rules of that area. Access is therefore not open, but managed by collective rules. It is not known when this change occurred, but the practice is estimated to be at least two generations old. The fisheries service may have had a role in the transition, since in the 1950s-1970s it conducted extension work that strengthened the role of the head fisher ketua nelayan (head fisher) in each settlement. In 1994 and 1995 Dennis and Erman mapped the wilayah kerja, and data on the rules were collected by Aglionby (1995), Heri (1996), Harwell (1997) and Anshari et al. (2005).

Each main ethnic group has its own system of adat in force across the national park, and when disputes occur between people of different ethnic groups, a problem arises: which adat system should be used? Yasmi et al. (2007; see also Yasmi et al., this volume) researched this question in relation to fish poisoning incidents, which killed fish downstream. Their conclusion was that good negotiations between head fishers was the key to reaching settlements and preventing escalation. In addition, clear boundaries between communities assist in conflict resolution.

Participatory management based on adat was initiated by UK-ITFMP, (3) but because of changes in staff and policies, was not continued, resulting in a lost opportunity (Claridge 1997). There were several reasons why the work was not continued, but one was the lack of de jure status of communities. During UK-ITFMP's work, field staff of the national conservation agency (Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam, KSDA) supported establishing kelompok-kelompok nelayan (fishers' groups), but the Minister of Forestry could not authorize making community groups conservation managers while Danau Sentarum was still a wildlife reserve (Jeanes 2000).

Since UK-ITFMP ended, the legislative position nationally and locally has altered. The 1999 Forestry Law can promote community-based forest management because it gives greater recognition to adat rights and masyarakat hukum adat (customary law communities) in some forest areas. It does not give title to adat rights, but rather gives communities the right to manage; this right is subordinate to the national interest (Marr 2008). However, this recognition did not extend to conservation forests, such as Danau Sentarum.

In 2004 a ministerial directive on collaborative management in protected areas was issued (P.19/Menhut-II/2004) that formally allows local communities, as well as other parties, to be co-managers in protected areas, including national parks. By formally recognizing the role of communities, this decree offers a new de jure paradigm for co-management in DSNP. Like the 1999 Forestry Law, the decree does little to recognize adat rights as tenure and is very broad in its guidelines (Moeliono 2008). It does, however, recognize that communities living in protected areas are dependent on the natural resources.

Research Activities

In 1986 and again from 1992 until 1997, Danau Sentarum was an active research site with ecological specialists researching flora and vegetation, fish, crocodiles, birds, proboscis monkeys and orangutans, as well as human resource use, including honey, fisheries, turtles, rattan, timber, culture and social and environmental economics. The results of much of that research are presented in volume 31 of this journal and confirm Danau Sentarum's importance both nationally in Indonesia and internationally.

Since 1997, research activity has varied. Until 2005 activities were limited to single researchers (e.g., Dennis and a local NGO, Riak Bumi), but in the past five years a resurgence in interest has occurred. (4) Some of the research has been analytical and academic, but much has been action research, with two primary aims. The first is to build capacity and capability among local communities and forestry officials to enable them to manage the resources more sustainably. The second, and the more important purpose from CIFOR's perspective, is to research methods that enhance the efficacy of participatory and collaborative management.

The decline in purely ecological research reflects several factors. First, there is no question about the biological significance of DSNP; the data already justify protection of the site. Second, the status of the site changed from a wildlife reserve, where communities were "illegal" residents, to a national park, where humans are recognized as legitimate users of resources. Third, the research reflects the interest and concerns of the scholars who have remained active in the area. The following list indicates the scope of research since 1997.

Peatland and carbon. Anshari et al. (2004) have undertaken research into the peat soils of Danau Sentarum, revealing the high carbon storage capacity of the peat soils and the long history of human management of the landscape.

Forest governance. CIFOR and Riak Bumi have led the work in this area with a major CIFOR project on the subject. (5) Their work, funded by CIFOR core funds and by the Ford Foundation, has also contributed to the European Union project on governance for the conservation of biodiversity, GEM-CON-BIO. The work of Yuliani et al. (2007a) was a case study, subsequently used in the development of guidelines for community management of forest for biodiversity conservation (Simoncini et al. 2008). The role of local communities as major stakeholders in governance was also addressed by Anshari (2006).

Conflict management. Yasmi's (2007) Ph.D. research used Danau Sentarum as a case study for analyzing how conflict can be used constructively to manage natural resources on the premise that conflict is inherent to natural resource systems and that explicitly increasing communities' capability to manage conflicts will improve natural resource management.

History of resource use. After his initial Ph.D. research near Lanjak in the early 1990s, Wadley proceeded to work on the history of the borderlands between Sarawak and West Kalimantan as well as on traditional resource management practices and their implications for current natural resource management (Wadley et al. 2000, 2002, 2006; Wadley and Colfer 2004).

Traditional resource management. How local communities use and manage natural resources has been a continuing theme of Colfer's (2000). Research since 1997 has included using Danau Sentarum to develop principles and criteria to assess the security of intergenerational access to resources and the link with sustainable forest management. Danau Sentarum scored highly, indicating active management and a commitment by local communities to ensure resource sustainability (Colfer et al. 2001). In 2005, a report on traditional rules as a basis for the management of Danau Sentarum was produced (Anshari et al. 2005). Indriatmoko (this volume) has produced more recent data on traditional land tenure.

Threats to habitats. Research has covered the effects of damming (Yuliani et al. 2007b), population increase (Indriatmoko, this volume), analysis of threats (Heri et al., this volume) and oil palm (Yuliani et al., this volume).

Development Projects

Development and conservation activities in the area have continued for more than 60 years, and it was the high value of Danau Sentarum's natural resources that attracted early intervention. That said, many of the communities are very isolated and government intervention has been minimal. This section covers government activities, international projects and local initiatives.

Government-Sponsored Actions

Many years before the designation of Danau Sentarum for its biodiversity, the area was recognized as an important fisheries resource, and the Department of Fisheries operated actively within the area (Dudley 2000). The stated objective was to increase fisheries' yields through advice and assistance with new techniques, such as using jermal (fine nets) and farming fish in cages.

The fisheries department opened an office in Selimbau in 1945, and the head of the office had an important role in the community. Staff made regular visits to all the communities, collecting data from the ketua nelayan. The role of head fisher therefore increased through this extension work, and the interaction between hukum adat and national government legislation began.

Other government interventions included the establishment of primary schools and health clinics in year-round settlements with sizable populations. Almost none of the communities had the status of desa (village), so people were registered as residents of the closest desa immediately outside the park boundary, in Selimbau, Semitau, Jongkong or Lanjak. Later, government departments were therefore able to assert that there were no permanent residents in Danau Sentarum - as required for a wildlife reserve.

When the area became designated as a wildlife reserve in 1982, the limited resources of the offices of Conservation Agency (Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam, KSDA) meant that there were no permanent staff within the protected area. Danau Sentarum was a paper park. The agency considered the local people illegal occupants, preferably to be relocated, even as the government's health and education departments were acknowledging the permanent resident status of the population by providing schools and clinics. The confusion and lack of coordination arose partly because education and health services were administered by provincial and regency-level government, while KSDA was directly under control of the national Ministry of Forestry.

Permanent staff were first deployed by KSDA in 1992, with the start of UKITFMP, and in 2007, the National Park Authority became the coordinating body for the many initiatives in the park.

Early International Projects

In the 1980s Dutch ecologists working for the Asian Wetlands Bureau started field visits to Danau Sentarum and recorded the richness of the site, far beyond the already recognized habitat for the arowana fish (Schleropagus formosus) (Giesen 1987).

This research, supported by the World Wildlife Fund, concluded that the site was of international significance, and the Asian Wetlands Bureau sought international recognition and support through two initiatives. The first was to seek funding for a conservation project, and the second, to achieve international status through designation of the area as a wetland of international importance, a Ramsar site.

Both were successful, and in 1994 Danau Sentarum became Indonesia's second Ramsar site, which places Indonesia under certain obligations with regard to the management of the area. At the same time, the United Kingdom was adopting green policies, and the conservation of the rainforest was an increasingly important political issue. The decision taken by Prime Minister Thatcher to invest development monies in tropical forest management was not only significant in the United Kingdom but timely for Danau Sentarum. Most of the 5 million [pounds sterling] committed to UK-ITFMP was targeted at improved management of production forestry, but Project 5 focused on Danau Sentarum Wildlife Reserve and was subcontracted to the Asian Wetlands Bureau.

UK-ITFMP Project 5 Conservation, 1991-1996

Project 5 was designed by ecologists and, given the site's status as a wildlife reserve, focused on conservation management. At first, project designers envisaged a conservation and development project, but the designation of the site meant that the actual project objectives were more conservation-oriented. In practice, most of the staff were inclined to a combined approach.

The project started in 1991, and in 1992 the first consultants were in the field. Their job was logistical as much as technical: building a field center, hiring staff, installing communication systems, establishing links with local government staff and communities. The logistics of running the program in such a remote location had been underestimated by the Asian Wetlands Bureau (see Wadley et al., this volume, for a full account), and the first consultants, feeling unsupported, resigned. The approach of their replacements was not inclusive of local communities, and they, too, soon left. The third team, who came in 1994, consisted of international experts and local counterparts who focused on conservation management and worked with local communities. Their work attracted visiting researchers from academic institutions (see, e.g., Peters 2000; Harwell 1997; Wadley and Colfer 2006).

Although UK-ITFMP Project 5 was a conservation project, the staff understood that involving local communities and addressing their needs was a prerequisite for conservation. Resource management projects were initiated, such as planting rattan and selling honey and rattan baskets, and local government officials were encouraged to address socioeconomic needs, including health, education and microfinance. In addition, a concerted effort was made to understand, map and codify the communities' traditional governance systems based on work areas and customary laws (Harwell 1997). Another important strand of the activities was the work on forest fires by Dennis et al. (2000), who identified fires as a major threat to the forest habitat.

The fieldwork deepened understanding of the areas outside the wildlife reserve boundary. Their value as forest ecosystems and, in particular, as habitat for orangutans gained appreciation, and the threats to wildlife habitat from the extraction of timber were noted (Russon 2000). As a result, the UK-ITFMP workers recommended that the boundaries of the reserve be enlarged and its status changed to a national park. These changes would make it possible to implement a management plan that both protected biodiversity and integrated Danau Sentarum's communities into resource management.

UK-ITFMP succeeded in raising awareness among local and national stakeholders about the importance of the site and the difficulties of conservation management, and project workers' relations with the local communities were good (Yuliani 2007a). The project also made progress in setting up several small-scale income-generating initiatives, but no management structure was in place to take over when its staff left. The conservation agency did not have sufficient resources to patrol the protected area or work with local communities. The management plan was at risk of being just a paper plan, rather than an action document. The project ended as the Suharto era was drawing to a close and a new era of decentralization was around the corner.

Riak Bumi and CIFOR, 1997-2009

As with many protected areas, the titles and nature of projects alter, but continuity is achieved through the individuals involved at a site. In the case of Danau Sentarum, two individuals have provided continuity-Valentinus Heri and Carol Colfer.

Heri was the Indonesian colleague of one of the consultants, Trevor Wickham. Originally from Lanjak, he holds a law degree and is particularly interested in resource management. As UK-ITFMP ended, he and two other colleagues, Andi Erman and Ade Jumhur, established a nongovernmental organization called Riak Bumi (6) to continue activities in Danau Sentarum. Together with their staff, many of whom are also local, they undertook various small-scale projects. Riak Bumi has also raised awareness of the threats from local timber concessions, oil palm plantations and a proposed dam. Riak Bumi has obtained funding from international donors, including CordAid, Dfid and the European Union. Its initial success was in part due to an American volunteer, Noriko Toyoda, who assisted with grant applications. When the UK-ITFMP project ended, Danau Sentarum became dependent on small grants from international organizations. Riak Bumi did not have the funds to underwrite joint activities with the conservation agency in the manner that had been the norm under the bilateral project.

Carol Colfer, an anthropologist, was part of the first UK-ITFMP team and later joined the Center for International Forestry Research, a research institution with a policy focus. Over the past 10 years, with Colfer's support, CIFOR has undertaken a range of participatory action research in Danau Sentarum with Riak Bumi. In this approach, communities are partners with the researchers, and the objective is often to empower local resource managers to improve their management; that is, there is a secondary development agenda.

Riak Bumi's field activities, many of which have been conducted with CIFOR, are described in greater detail elsewhere in this volume. Some are straight development activities, but others are part of CIFOR's broader action research projects in which Danau Sentarum is one among several case studies. A short summary of important projects follows.

Development of a honey industry. Riak Bumi has continued this activity, which was started under UK-ITFMP. Honey production generates income and requires a healthy forest. Those who benefit financially are therefore expected to have a strong incentive to protect the forest. The honey is now certified as organic, the returns to honey producers have risen, and a national network has been established.

Microhydro. With support from the German Embassy, a small hydro scheme to generate electricity has been installed by the people of Sungai Pelaik. As well as being practical, this has been a learning exercise (Indriatmoko 2008).

Reforestation. As identified by Dennis (2000), forest fires are a huge threat to the ecology of Danau Sentarum. Riak Bumi has worked with local communities to plant saplings and regenerate areas damaged by fire.

Management planning with local communities. Local communities are the de facto managers of DSNP, and from 1999 to 2006 there was no de jure management presence in DSNP. Riak Bumi has worked with local communities to develop community management through the formation of MIKE, a consortium of adat leaders from the Melayu, Iban, Kantuk and Embaloh peoples. CIFOR has been a critical partner and has introduced the use of appreciative inquiry as a management tool (Yuliani et al. 2008). In March 2009, Riak Bumi facilitated a visioning session to enable stakeholders to look ahead to 2014.

Coordination with government officials. In 2006, seven years after Danau Sentarum was designated as a national park, the National Park Agency was established. Riak Bumi and CIFOR are working with the park staff and local communities to develop a 25-year management plan for DSNP (Yuliani et al. 2007a).

Orchid-based conservation. A newsletter for local communities describes opportunities to make DSNP a destination for viewing orchids in the wild, as well as developing orchid gardens (Prasetyo and Zulkifli 2009).

Ecotourism. The National Park Authority has been working with local partners to assess the tourism potential of Danau Sentarum and increase awareness.

Awareness of environmental issues. Riak Bumi has at regular intervals produced Suara Bakakak, a newsletter for local communities describing their activities, threats to the national park and information on the ecology of the area. Together with CIFOR, the organization produced a film, Abandoned Paradise, in 2005 and has been influential in increasing awareness about the site.

Orangutan conservation. In 2009, funding was awarded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to CIFOR to lead a project on orangutan conservation in Danau Sentarum.

Other Initiatives

Over the past five years other partners have shown increasing interest in Danau Sentarum and surrounding areas. For example, WWF's Heart of Borneo project links Danau Sentarum with the wider network of protected areas in Borneo, in particular, Bentung Kerihun. Yayasan Konservasi Borneo and Universitas Tanjungpura have been researching carbon storage in peat forests. The EU-Indonesia Forest, Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) worked on forest governance in villages surrounding DSNP. Recently, Flora and Fauna International has sought to generate carbon credits through conserving forests in the oil palm concessions surrounding Danau Sentarum ( On the research side, the French research agency CIRAD led a forestry project in which DSNP is a study site.


Of necessity, this article has glossed over the vast data pool on Danau Sentarum, much of which is in the "gray" literature. This special section of the Borneo Research Bulletin aims to expose much of the work by many parties to research and understand this unique ecosystem, the services it provides and the management systems used. A legislative framework is now being developed in Indonesia that recognizes the role of local communities. This means the communities and other stakeholders of Danau Sentarum are presented with an opportunity to use the past as a springboard for effective and sustainable future management.


Aglionby, J. 1995 Final Report of the Associate Professional Officer (Environmental Economist) Project 5 Conservation. Jakarta: ODA.

1997 Community Management of Danau Sentarum wildlife reserve. In: Kenneth King and Wim Giesen, eds., Incremental Costs of Wetland Conservation. Kuala Lumpur: Wetlands International.

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Julia Aglionby

H&H Bowe Ltd, Borderway

Carlisle CA1 2RS UK

(1) See Cramb (2007) for a recent discussion on the topic.

(2) Decentralization has been the major driver of reform in Indonesia since 1999. The initial two decentralization laws, Law No. 22 of 1999 on Regional Government, and Law No. 25 of 1999 on Central-Local Fiscal Balance, as amended, were the basis for this policy.

(3) Further information on this program is given later in the paper.

(4) The reasons for the hiatus include the delay in establishment of the National Park Authority, the political unrest in West Kalimantan and the general political changes in Indonesia as regional autonomy was introduced.

(5) http://

(6) Riak Bumi means 'ripples of the earth.'
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Author:Aglionby, Julia
Publication:Borneo Research Bulletin
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2010
Previous Article:1. Introduction.
Next Article:3. Fluid landscapes and contested boundaries in danau sentarum.

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