Current Status and Distribution of Communally Reserved Forests in a Human-Modified Landscape in Bintulu, Sarawak

Anthropogenic Tropical Forests: Human–Nature Interfaces on the Plantation Frontier所収
Chapter: 21

In the traditional agricultural land-use pattern of the indigenous peoples of inland Sarawak, there are small areas of primary forests, referred to as a pulau or communally reserved forests (CRFs), which are customarily reserved by local communities. Here, we investigate the current condition and geographic distribution of CRFs in the human-modified landscape of the Kemena and Tatau areas of Bintulu, Sarawak. We conducted a field survey of CRFs in the region by visiting villages and interviewing local people regarding the existence and number of CRFs within each village. We also assessed the social background, main use, disturbance condition and current management system of the CRFs, all of which may be affected by development. Then we investigated whether the current development pressure statistically affects the existence of CRFs. We visited 27 villages in the Kemena and Tatau areas and found that 11 out of 27 villages had no CRFs and approximately 40% of villages have only one CRF. Statistical analysis revealed that accessibility of the village affects the numbers of CRFs; that is, less accessible villages tended to contain more CRFs. As expected, the concepts or perceptions regarding CRFs have changed from conventional ideas. This is probably due to socioeconomic reasons as developmental pressure has been increasing in this region. The connectivity to the urban area of Bintulu promotes social and economic development that affects the traditional land-use patterns in rural areas, as well as people’s lifestyles, livelihoods and perceptions. This may reduce the number of CRFs and their level of preservation.