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Research Report

Forest, Resources and People in Bulungan: Elements for a History of Settlement, Trade and Social Dynamics in Borneo, 1880-2000

Bernard Sellato
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2001
Pages: 191
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. vii-ix)

    The text below is a revised version of a report submitted to CIFOR, the output of a study entitled ‘Social and economic history of Bulungan’. It is based mainly on a survey in Bulungan¹ conducted during a three-week trip to the Tarakan, Sesayap, Malinau, Tanjung Palas, and Long Peso’ districts in October and November 1998. Drs. Dollop Mamung, whose kind and efficient assistance I wish to acknowledge here, accompanied me in this survey. More than forty people were interviewed in over fifteen locations. I had previously conducted very brief surveys in the lower Kayan area (1991) and in Malinau (1993)...

  2. (pp. 1-3)

    The region under consideration is Bulungan Regency, the northern part of the province of East Kalimantan. Although certain parts of Bulungan have long been well known and studied (e.g., Apo Kayan), others, such as Long Pujungan and Malinau districts, virtually remained terrae incognitae to scholars until after 1990, when massive research programmes (e.g., WWF’s ‘Culture and Conservation’ in Long Pujungan and later, CIFOR’s BRF project in Malinau) or individual researchers (L. Kaskija, R. Puri) started activity. The historical scope extends from about 1880 to present.

    Geographically, in connection with the BRF location, the primary focus is on the two districts...

  3. (pp. 5-14)

    This section provides a general background for the following sections and covers, as brief introductory statements, the natural setting, the organisation of human and social space in the different river basins concerned, and the past and present demographic situation.

    Details of the general ecological setting of the Bulungan region and features of the forests of the upper Bahau, Malinau, and Tubu river basins are amply documented elsewhere (Wulffraat and Samsu 2000, Sørensen and Morris 1997, Eghenter and Sellato 1999b, O’Brien, 1998). Whatever the limits of the Bulungan Research Forest (BRF), it is important to stress that the Bahau, Malinau, and...

  4. (pp. 15-41)

    This section describes the major societal types forming the region’s human setting and by way of conclusion, proposes that the area be considered as one single regional historical setting involving all the agents under consideration.

    In Bulungan Regency, as in most other regions of Borneo, there is a traditional dichotomy, endorsed by the government and local elite, as well as by some anthropologists and other social scientists, between coastal ‘Malays’ (Moslems), and hinterland ‘Dayak’ (formerly heathens, kafir, now mostly Christians). This dichotomy emerged from the theory that so-called Proto-Malays (including the Dayak) constituted a first ‘wave’ of migration to the...

  5. (pp. 43-64)

    I now describe what is known or can be reconstructed of the economic history of the region through the 20th century from available written sources. This section briefly examines traditional patterns of land and resource control and their recent alterations and then focuses on agriculture, which in the past was of foremost importance to interior groups’ subsistence economy, although of less relevance to the more trade-oriented coastal groups.

    Agriculture, and particularly rice agriculture, underwent drastic changes, due to colonial intervention in the coastal kingdoms. The earlier kingdoms probably lived exclusively on a staple of sago grown by coastal tribes (see...

  6. (pp. 65-102)

    Along with agriculture, trade is the major economic activity. The past patterns of agriculture and trade have together strongly contributed to the shaping of recent regional history.

    The historic incremental economic opening up of the region was hastened in the 20th century by Dutch intervention (see Black 1985). This was particularly obvious in the NTFP trade, as the eradication of warfare and headhunting led to increased safety, more trading trips by upriver people, and ultimately to the Dutch administration’s goal of a much larger volume of trade in lower-river harbours (see Broersma 1927; also, Peluso 1983). (On Dutch forest policies,...

  7. (pp. 103-135)

    This section examines a small number of fields in which the successive administrations, from the Dutch colonial rule to Indonesia’s New Order, have left lasting traces. It also examines what occurred once the area became open to various types of outsiders.

    This region of Kalimantan and, especially its interior districts, has not been the object of particular efforts in socio-economic development. The administrations’ past interventions in the area and their consequences are first examined briefly Education, health and socio-economic assistance covering the last three decades are described separately.

    The impact of outside parties on local communities the modes of social...