A Better World - Volume 4

[ ] 74 A B et t er W or ld villages, longhouses and towns along the Batang Baram River. Two timber concessions partially overlap with the buffer zone. Several hundred species of flora were recorded over the course of the project, and camera trapping revealed more than 28 mammal species in the buffer zone, of which 25 species have some kind of protected status, as well as 18 frog and toad species, of which seven are endemic to Borneo. The Penan people in the buffer zone live in four villages, comprising 52 families and approximately 250 individuals. The Penan roamed the forests in the upper Baram before the Pulong Tau National Park was constituted in 2005 but, under Sarawak law, they were not granted user rights to the forest because of their nomadic existence. Nevertheless, the people are culturally attached to the forests on which they depend for energy, food, construction materials, handicrafts and medicine. It is therefore crucial for their culture that they remain in the area. The traditions of the Penan are strongly compatible with sustainability. For example, starch obtained from the wild sago palm ( Eugeissona utilis ) is an important staple food, especially among older people. The Penan communities in the buffer zone have disallowed logging in certain areas to protect their water catchments and plant and animal resources, including sago palms. The communities lack modern education and employment, however, and they have struggled to develop new livelihoods to suit their changed circumstances. The project helped build the capacity of the Penan to grow fruit crops, create fisheries, make handicrafts and carpentry products for sale, engage in ecotourism, and improve their water supply infrastruc- ture. The project also identified three communal forests to be managed for the longterm supply of forest products. The project demonstrated the multiple functions of the Pulong Tau National Park buffer zone. Crucially, it worked closely with local people to develop sustainable livelihoods that would enable them to safeguard and sustainably manage the zone. Achieving SFM is a long-term endeavour; the process is well underway in the Pulong Tau buffer zone, but more work is needed to ensure enduring success. Supporting women A small grant from ITTO in 2009 provided the stimulus for a women’s association in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire to improve charcoal production using efficient, eco-friendly processing techniques, thereby increasing the standard of living in the community and raising awareness of the impor- tance of forest conservation. Now, the MALEBI women’s association is implementing a larger ITTO project in the nearby Ahua gazetted forest to ensure a continuous supply of wood for charcoal production. Nearly three-quarters of households in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire use charcoal or firewood to meet their daily Globally, demand for wood, such as this Togo teak ( Tectona grandis ), is expected to continue growing rapidly, making sustainable forest management an urgent necessity Image: G. Dieterle/ITTO