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Research Report

Local Perspectives of Forest Landscapes: A Preliminary Evaluation of Land and Soils, and their Importance in Malinau, East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Imam Basuki
Douglas Sheil
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2005
Pages: 131
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-6)

    When it comes to natural resources, the needs and priorities of local communities are seldom obvious to outsiders. Outsiders, whether they are private businesses, government agencies or development organizations, often have a poor understanding of how local communities value and manage their natural resources, a situation complicated by a lack of appropriate procedures to fill in these knowledge gaps. As a result, communities can often become the victims of poorly informed decision-making, a situation that often leads to both conflict and environmental degradation.

    Conflicts regarding forestland management between communities and forest concessionaires, mining companies, or forest plantations have become a...

  2. (pp. 7-12)

    Two hundred research plots were established in the study area during four separate periods from November 1999 to December 2000. These four periods are referred to as Multidisciplinary Landscape Assessments (MLA) 1 through 4 (Table 2). In addition, two other work periods, each for one month, were undertaken to check and expand upon local perceptions of the land.

    The field plots were located using systematic sampling methods informed by local people’s valuation, site characteristics, and map units (see Sheil et al. 2002). The recording of basic physical land characteristics at each site was based on standard procedures and terminology (Jurusan...

  3. (pp. 13-57)

    Our evaluation of Malinau’s land is divided into three parts: the first focuses upon a standard, or ‘soil scientists’, assessment, the second investigate local people’s perceptions, and the third offers a comparison of the two.

    This section describes the results of an examination of our field and laboratory measurements using standard assessment procedures.

    Selected sites are biased towards flatter terrain (figure 6). This is a practical reflection of the difficulties of sampling on severe slopes, but also emphasises areas that are accessible, and useful, to local communities. Local people prefer level areas for their settlements, agricultural fields and gardens.


  4. (pp. 58-59)

    Our various methods have captured a range of valuable information regarding land resources from both a soil and crop science, and a local perspective. This study has been based on the simple proposition that local people’s knowledge of land resources can and should be used to guide, facilitate and inform any agriculture or forestry interventions. So what can we conclude?

    Five soil orders were identified in the sampled region: Oxisols, Ultisols, Alfisols, Inceptisols, and Entisols, with Oxisols being the most common. The soils studies are mostly acidic (average pH 4.5 to 5). The area is highly infertile by any standard....