The forests and rivers of Borneo have been used for countless generations by indigenous communities. Communities have hunted, gathered, and farmed the land for generations. Different agricultural practices have evolved to suit the many varying ecosystems of the island.
Most of the indigenous communities of Borneo do not have legal rights to the land that they rely on for their lives and livelihoods. This means that the government has the ability to lease community lands to loggers or plantation companies. These companies then come and kick people off the land, and use it for their own profit, without sharing any of the benefits with the communities who live there. Often communities do not know that they have customary rights to their land until it is too late. For communities who do want to actively seek legal land rights, the cost and time involved in the process is often a barrier that is impossible to overcome (for more information on this struggle, check out our documentary film on land rights, Rumah Nor.)
These problems are hardly unique to Borneo; they are part of a larger struggle for self-determination and human rights that is being fought by indigenous people all over the world. Working to support the rights of communities in Borneo to their land and their cultural self-determination is an integral part of the work of the Borneo Project.