Local community participation in managing natural resource conservation in Loagan Bunut National Park

Jack, Liam (2005) Local community participation in managing natural resource conservation in Loagan Bunut National Park. Masters thesis, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, (UNIMAS).

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Abstract

The purpose of this field study was to investigate the status of state-community alliance as an instrument for managing biodiversity conservation and how this semi-official arrangement of managing natural resources utilization in the Loagan Bunut National Park (LBNP) has an impact on the livelihoods of indigenous communities residing in the area.i. A one-shot cross-sectional survey design was employed in this study. At total of 81 respondents were selected from three main ethnic groups living in six long houses in LBNP. These key informants were chosen based on a purposive or non probability sampling technique. The sample consisted of 14 Berawan 11 Penan, 1 Kenyah and 55 Than respondents. The data was collected mainly through face-to-face interviews with the respondents using structured interview schedule, group discussions and personal observations by the researcher during the fieldwork. Additional information pertaining to the formation and administration of the park were obtained from the Sarawak Forestry Department. Based on the analysis of the empirical data the findings are stated as follows. The natural resource utilization (NRU) index was inversely related to educational achievement of respondents, but has no relationship with age, number of occupations, and number of family members. Remittance, sale of fish and salaried wages were significantly correlated with household cash income. The results of the present study show that the local communities, regardless of their ethnic groupings, were not solely dependent on the available natural resources in the park for cash income, but NRU, as the data indicate probably contributed mainly for fulfilling their subsistence needs. Most respondents have positive future expectation toward co-partnership with the park authority in managing natural resources in the area although their perception of the current co-operation somewhat lukewarm in nature, especially among the Penan. The Than were indifference to the formation of the national park because they have been considered new comers to the area. This does not come as a surprise because of the fact that exclusive rights to fishing and utilization of natural resources in LBNP were given to the Berawan community. Nonetheless, despite all this, through coopting the Than and Penan community leaders into the Special Park Committee (SPC) in LBNP has won over their cooperation as co-partners with the Berawan and the state in managing natural resources in the area. The following conclusions are drawn from the research findings. The inclusion and exclusion policies are implicit in the gazzettement of the Loagan National Park. The inclusion policy favors the Berawan by given exclusive rights of access to natural resources in the park. In so doing it pushed the Penan and the Than to the margins. Due to the institutional failure on the part of the park authority to monitor human activities there, the unwritten rule and/or regulations here was that the former still could fish, farm, gather and hunt in the park in the absence of official enforcement within the borders of LBNP. This also implies that particularly the Than and Penan communities, choices of livelihoods are limited because the forests surrounding their longhouses had logged, and now what they hope for in the future is the prospect to benefit from spillover effect of eco-tourism in the LNBP and potential development in the periphery of the national park As it is for now, they seem to be willing to participate actively in managing the natural resources in LBNP through SPC. Co-opting the local leadership into the committee would dispel suspicion on the government's role in conservation. When local leadership was involved it helps establish mutual trust between local communities and the park authority. Such arrangement has legitimised and used as a form of social control instead of using bureaucratic exercise for eliciting local initiatives to monitor and prevent encroachment into the park Although the data shows an unequal access to natural resources in the area, this was no indication to suggest that this could jeopardize the existing social relations between the three ethnic groups. The main reason for this is that livelihoods of the Penan, Berawan and Than are not exclusively dependent on the natural resources in the park. Also, the Berawan, although they have exclusive rights of access to natural resources in the area they seem to be not interest to engage in hunting and gathering of forest resources other than fishing and farming. As such, competition for resources among these stakeholders is minimal at the moment. The Than community has a special place in the history of the Berawan in Loagan Bunut because of the covenant between Penghulu Lawai, a Berawan leader and Medan, the leader of migrant Than from Skrang in the 1800s, in which the former gave permission of rights to the latter to establish their territorial domain in the area, which the Berawan community still recognizes and honors until the present day. Perhaps, this is the only reason why the Than still can farm, hunt and gather in the area. Whether the park authority recognizes this longstanding agreement between the Berawan and Than poses another question.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: Thesis (M.Sc.) -- Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 2005.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Conservation, natural resources, Bunut National Park, unimas, university, universiti, Borneo, Malaysia, Sarawak, Kuching, Samarahan, ipta, education, Postgraduate, research, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Academic Faculties, Institutes and Centres > Faculty of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Karen Kornalius
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2016 00:24
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2016 00:24
URI: http://ir.unimas.my/id/eprint/12386

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