Advertisement

Gender Impact of Large-Scale Deforestation and Oil Palm Plantations Among Indigenous Groups in Sarawak, Malaysia

Chapter
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Environment, Security, Development and Peace book series (BRIEFSSECUR, volume 21)

Abstract

Land and forest ecosystems form the core of the belief systems and daily lives of indigenous forest people and communities. However, State policies and laws introduced in the colonial period, retained and reinforced by post-colonial states have substantially increased the state’s power and are restricting and removing indigenous rights to land and forest resources according to adat (traditional customs). This chapter examines the impact of changing land use and land tenure systems in Sarawak on human rights, livelihoods, and local gender practices. Conversion of forests to oil palm plantations is regarded as a disaster given the importance of land for customary practices, food security and income-generating activities, and other fundamental rights of indigenous peoples. We use the term ‘disaster’ from a variety of perspectives, foremost is the communities’ perspective placed alongside other perspectives such as gender, legal, socio-cultural, economical, and environmental. To support these arguments, this chapter studies the Iban community of Kampong Lebor whose customary lands were cleared by companies to plant oil palm without free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC). Large-scale plantations on these lands contributed to significant social and environmental risks and other negative socio-economic and climatic consequences. A human-made disaster in Sarawak was partly averted by restoring traditional land rights and tenure systems; however, without restoring women’s access to forest.

Keywords

Sarawak Oil palm plantations Land grabbing Customary rights Disaster 

Abbreviations

BN

Barisan Nasional

FPIC

Free, prior, and informed consent

Kpg.

Kampong

LCDA

Land Custody and Development Authority, Sarawak

NASA

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NCR

Native customary rights

NGO

Non-governmental organization

PBB

Parti Besaka Bumiputra

SACCESS

Sarawakians Access

SOPPOA

Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association

UN

United Nations

References

  1. Bryan, Jane E.; Shearman, Philip L.; Asner, Gregory P.; Knapp, David E.; Aoro, Geraldine; Lokes, Barbara, 2013: “Extreme Differences in Forest Degradation in Borneo: Comparing Practices in Sarawak, Sabah, and Brunei”, in: PLoS ONE, 8,7: e69679. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069679.
  2. Census, 2010: Population and Housing Census of Malaysia (Mukim Sarawak), 2010. (Malaysia: Department of Statistics); accessed online (21 October 2013).Google Scholar
  3. Colchester, Marcus; Wee, Aik Pang; Wong, Meng Chuo; Jalong, Thomas, 2007: Land Is Life: Land Rights and Oil Palm Development in Sarawak (Moreton-in-Marsh: Forest Peoples Programme—Bogor: Sawit Watch).Google Scholar
  4. Hansen, Matt. C.; Potapov, P.V.; Moore, R.; Hancher, M.; Turubanova, S.A.; Tyukavina, A.; Thau, D.; Stehman, S.V.; Goetz, S.J.; Loveland, T.R.; Kommareddy, A.; Egorov, A.; Chini, L.; Justice, C.O.; Townshend, J.R.G., 2013: “High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change”, in: Science, 342,6160: 850–853 (15 November).Google Scholar
  5. IDEAL, 1999: Tanah Penghidup Kitai—Our Land is Our Livelihood (Sibu: Ideal).Google Scholar
  6. Matsubara, Tomomi, 2003: Society and the Land: Contemporary Iban Society, Development Policy, and the Value of Native Customary Rights Land in Sarawak, Malaysia (Unpublished thesis; Kota Samarahan: Institute of East Asian Studies, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak).Google Scholar
  7. Pye, Oliver, 2009: “Palm Oil as a Transnational Crisis in South-East Asia”, in: Aktuelle Südostasienforschung/Current Research on South-East Asia, ASEAS, 2,2: 81–101; at: http://www.seas.at/aseas/2_2/ASEAS_2_2_A5.pdf (2 August 2014).
  8. Ross, Michael L., 2001: Timber Booms and Institutional Breakdown in Southeast Asia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  9. SACCESS, 2008: Adat and Human Rights in Sarawak, Human Rights Report, SUARAM, launched on July 23, 2009.Google Scholar
  10. Wee, Aik Pang, 2012: Guidebook on Reclaiming Sarawak NCR Lands in Courts: Practical Information for Communities on Resorting to the Court Process (Civil Litigation) to Reclaim Native Customary Rights (NCR) Lands (Kuching: SACCESS).Google Scholar
  11. Yong, Carol, 2010: Logging in Sarawak and the Rights of Sarawak’s Indigenous Communities (Brussels–Moreton-in-Marsh: Fern); at: http://www.fern.org; http://hornbillunleashed.wordpress.com/.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.KuchingMalaysia

Personalised recommendations