Resilience analysis and management of a social-ecological system in East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Through collaborative and integrated projects, we will examine ecological, social, and economic issues pertaining to forest conservation, conservation-based livelihoods, and local governance. The social-ecological system in focus is located in the district of Maura Wahau, East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. In 2004, facing the continued degradation of their land and physical separation from their forest, the Wehea Dayak people declared what remained of their forest ‘protected land’ under their traditional law. Since this initial self-organization, illegal logging has been reduced, incomes have increased and their project was awarded Indonesia's highest environmental honor. Despite early success in governing their common pool resource, the resilience of this SES to market pressures, changes in political context and continued environmental pressures, is unknown.

The study will begin in April 2011 through integrated ethnoecological and biodiversity studies. These studies will describe the system and help to map and define the spatial boundaries and scale of the Wehea SES. Information generated from these projects will be used to assess the resilience of the Wehea SES and to guide current and future policy options and management interventions that promote resilience-based stewardship. The information learned from this study should be broadly applicable to other regions of the world characterized by complex problems in conservation and development featuring fragmented “wild” biota, indigenous peoples, and emerging local governance.

Project Goals

1. Assess the resilience of the Wehea social-ecological system to promote resilience-based stewardship.
2. Work with Wehea knowledge holders to record and document ethnoecological knowledge and associated locations, oral traditions, and language.
3. Document the biodiversity of Wehea Forest and explore the relationship between species richness and ecological resilience.
4. Investigate how REDD+ may affect local indigenous resource management systems and adat institutions.

Project Outcomes

We have a research agreement with the Wehea Management Body and a team of researchers ready to begin in April 2011.


Biodiversity Study Information
More details about the biodiversity study on National Geographic Global Action Atlas Ethical Expeditions
Ethical Expeditions is the NGO organizing the studies in Wehea. Ethnoecological Study
More details about the ethnoecological study on National Geographic Global Action Atlas Youtube Channel
This channel contains multimedia associated with the projects in Wehea.
Project Image

Location: East Kalimantan, Indonesia

System Type: Forest/woodland

Contact: Brent Loken; Ken Lertzman

Organization: Ethical Expeditions/Simon Fraser University

Project Dates: 2011 to 2015

Keywords: Resilience; Borneo; Tropical Forest; Dayak; Wehea; governance; thresholds, REDD+; Biodiversity; Ecosystem Services; Education; Communication; Resilience-based Stewardship