Dayak tribe: The last guardian of Borneo’s Forest


Indonesian public is not aware that  in the middle of the Oslo Forest Climate Conference on May 27th, 2010, Indonesia which represented by its foreign ministers by Marty Natalegawa,  had signed a letter of agreement (letter of intent / LOI) regarding the cooperation in greenhouse gas reduction.

The signing which was witnessed by the two heads of these countries was symbol of new stage for Indonesia to start Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation program. As compensation for this program, Indonesia will receive a payment of the increased carbon stock in 2013.

Not many people also know that Indonesia will receive a 1 BILLION DOLLAR AMERICAN grants for this program
Indonesian public is only aware that Indonesia has a large forest, INDONESIA is lungs of the world, and Indonesia also has a big deforestation and degradation. These awarenesses are natural, normal and also apprehensive.

Dayak Tribe and Borneo’s Forrest

Then why Dayak Tribe was selected as a title of this post and where is the connection between above program and Dayak Tribe?

Not sure whether the Indonesian public aware of this fact or not, but one paper which made by some high school students from Purwokerto (in Java Island, Indonesia) seemed understand of this fact (see this link). That Dayak people basically have a great respect for the nature. It is exists because their’s belief called “Pamais”, a belief which perceive nature as their guards, and by damaging the environment such as cutting down trees irresponsibly is equal like cutting their God or disrespecting their God.

Dayak tribe primitively and naturally keep in their mind that nature is their pedestal. Nature provides the best for them and therefore they must conserve it. It is unsurprising if the Dayak tribe is very careful and selective in processing and using their land and forrest .

In managing their land and forest , they naturally differentiate between land which is prepared for farming or daily necessities and which are not allowed. There are rules and very strict follow-up between them in order to to punish those who have violated the collective agreement.

However in reality, it is true that Dayak burn their land to make it fertile. This Dayak’s traditional enrichment processes is not for opening new areas. “Every family possessed land, they use only one for one year, next year they will burn the first land and use the second land, several years later return to the first land” as explained by Kole Adjang, a head of Setulang’s Forest. In short Dayak people only use their land from year to year and they still keep the forest preserve.

In addition to their land and their productive land, Dayak tribe has a forbidden forest area or which called “Tana Olen”. Areas which have been free from destruction and illegal logging . With  a solid commitment as a basic, they diligently carry out regular patrols to avoid the greedy businessmen and their cronies to do illegal logging.

Their customs are remain inherited. They always feel blessed by the nature. It is not surprising if many of them have a desire and initiative to give more to the environment. Of course it is done in various ways. One of them is like what Mr. Januminro Bunsal does.He devoted himself through research on Indonesia’s rattan . You can see some of his research on http: / / and

Dayak Tribe And Post Signing

According to a statement by Kole Adjang, He understood contemporary issue such as global warming and He personally had a dialogue with scientist  stating that the forest could be the air filter and can reduce the effects of global warming.

Kole Adjang also aware about the trend in carbon trading, such as what the government has signed.
Kole Adjang ever in pledges will be given compensation for the trees that remain sustainable. However the fact is question mark……..

But logically speaking, the money which was given by the Norwegian Government of course is not only for the Dayak Tribe alone, of course, it is for a Indonesia’s forest a whole. Dayak Tribe in this post is only one example of the struggle of local communities in preserving nature from those greedy and irresponsible entrepreneurs  and their cronies.

But I hope people like Kole Adjang who has involved in this environmental issue is taken into account by the government in making policies about environment conservation, so the money and  the resources will not be wasted.


Apakah kita, rakyat, dan pemerintah ingin melakukan sesuatu yang serius terhadap ini?

Atau biarlah suku dayak tetap menjadi penjaga terakhir hutan Kalimantan?

Atau biarlah kita, rakyat dan pemerintah menjadi “dayak” lain?

Do we, society and government want to do some thing serious on this issue?

Or let the Dayak remains as the last guardian of Borneo’s forest?

Or let us, society and government do something about it?


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