Indigenous conservation initiatives in Borneo
Ledjie Taq, a tribal leader representing Borneo’s Wehea Dayak, will talk about his community’s strategies for sustainable management and protection of natural resources and cultural heritage at a presentation Thursday hosted by Simon Fraser University.
Eight years ago, the Wehea Dayak, led by Ledjie Taq, decided to protect the biologically rich and culturally important Wehea Forest. Located in East Kalimantan, Wehea Forest is home to some of the most endangered species on the planet.
In addition to being a biodiversity hotspot, the forest is also important to maintaining traditional Wehea Dayak culture. To date, 82 mammal species have been documented in the forest – 22 are listed as vulnerable or endangered, including the Bornean clouded leopard, Bornean orangutan, Miller’s Grizzled Langur, and Bornean gibbon.
“The Wehea Dayak are responsible for protecting one of the last intact and most biologically rich forests in the area,” says Brent Loken, an SFU Resource and Environmental Management PhD candidate and executive director of Integrated Conservation. “Ledjie Taq is visiting Canada to learn from other indigenous-led conservation initiatives.”
On this visit, the delegation plans to network with indigenous communities and discuss collaboration opportunities and learning exchanges, and learn directly how First Nations communities are protecting their resources and cultural identities.
While doing research in Wehea Forest last year, Loken made headlines with his rediscovery of Miller’s Grizzled Langur, a monkey that many thought was extinct. He says the world can learn from what is happening in Borneo and how the Wehea Dayak are responding.
“Borneo contains some of the greatest biodiversity on Earth. Its forests store incredible amounts of CO2, thereby helping to mitigate climate change globally. However, the forests are being lost with increasing speed, with 60 per cent already converted to some other land use. The Wehea Dayak understands it has to act now to protect these globally important forests.”
The presentation, which starts at 3:30 p.m., will be held in the IRMACS Centre on SFU’s Burnaby campus.
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