« There Are No Straight Lines in Nature » : Making Living Maps in West Papua by Sophie Chao, 17/05/2017, Anthropology Now
With land growing scarce in Sumatra and Borneo, the oil palm frontier is rapidly moving eastward into West Papua, where rainforest and savannah are being razed at an unprecedented rate . In particular, oil palm expansion in the Papuan regency of Merauke, a remote region of swamplands and savannah on the border with Papua New Guinea, has been the subject of growing campaigns led by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including advocacy at the level of the United Nations . Largely implemented without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous Marind-Anim people (hereafter the Marind), oil palm expansion has been facilitated by widespread collusion among corporate, state and military interests.
Along the banks of the Bian River in northern Merauke, I carried out fieldwork among several Marind communities whose lands and settlements are encircled by large-scale oil palm plantations established in the last decade. Participatory mapping with local communities is one of the key tools being used in the area to protect remaining forest areas in indigenous territories from oil palm incursion. This article explores maps as objects and mapping as practice, both of which are part ethnographic method, part advocacy tool.
As ethnographic tools, maps and mapping can provide important insight about how our research participants conceptualize place within their particular cultural value systems and cosmologies. Among the Marind, for example, mapmaking reveals that place is a dynamic entity shaped by the lives and doings of multiple actors, both human and nonhuman. In producing their own maps, the Marind convey this sense of place as a multispecies endeavor by emphasizing the role of different organisms in shaping it and giving it meaning. In this respect, places and the maps that represent them are lively entities, characterized by constant movement and transformation. The consequence of this is that Marind maps themselves keep morphing and never sit still, in the image of the multispecies world itself.
Atlas of deforestation and industrial plantations in Borneo : new interactive atlas developed by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
For a better Borneo, new map reveals how much terrain has changed, 15/02/2017, Forests News, CIFOR blog
New atlas displays 40 years of human impacts on forests – from fires to logging to industrial plantations and more
Incorporating 40 years of maps of Borneo (the world’s third largest island), the tool reveals both the forest remaining and what is being reshaped due to degradation and extraction industries. With the ability to search by oil palm or pulpwood concessions, and view the locations of intact peatland, as well as determine the speed with which forest is converted to plantation, the atlas offers the first significant opportunity to distinguish companies that are avoiding deforestation to a large degree.
CIFOR scientist David Gaveau, who developed the atlas, said, “The tool is an open platform for researchers, advocacy groups, journalists and anyone interested in deforestation, wildlife habitats and corporate actions.”
The data provided by the atlas is free to download, and informs whether a particular oil palm concession is certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)- the organization that implements a global standard for sustainability in the palm oil industry.
Kalimantan’s sad palm oil revolution by Ward Berenschot, 30/01/2017, KITLV Blog
“See what is left of our rubber trees”, says Titik, the leader of a group of angry villagers. After a magnificent boat ride through majestic forest, I met his group in Rawang, Central Kalimantan, standing at the edge of a seemingly endless muddy field, full of felled tree trunks. They point to a few leaves growing out of the mud – a sapling of a rubber tree, and proof that they once had valuable rubber trees there. Now excavators are preparing the land (their land!) for another massive palm oil plantation.