Safeguarding Indigenous lands in West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Safeguarding Indigenous lands in West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Indonesia - 29 March, 2023

For generations, the Indigenous Dayak Simpakng of Mekar Raya village in West Kalimantan, have been managing trees and crops in a complex system known as Tembawang. They depend on Tembawang for their livelihoods. It is where they collect fruits, vegetables, and materials for weaving baskets. It is also where they get clean water from numerous springs. To them, the Tembawang area is sacred and needs to be protected as part of their life support system and culture.

However, the area is being threatened by the expansion of oil palm plantations and mines. The people of Mekar Raya therefore sought the support of Tropenbos Indonesia to help them with securing their rights to manage the lands, and prevent conversion by outsiders.

On October 2022, an area of 2,097 hectares with Tembwang and natural forests within the community’s customary territory was officially registered as an area that is conserved by Indigenous peoples and local communities, known as ICCA. It served as an important recognition of their customary land management system, and was an important step towards further tenure security.

See this video to learn more.