|Changing Forest Landscape and Local Communities in Sabah, Malaysia
|Sabah, Malaysia, was one of the first regions in Southeast Asia to have experienced large-scale commercial logging. In this paper, the author investigates the drastic change of forest landscape and its impact on the subsistence activities of local communities in order to evaluate the effects of commercial logging. The analysis was conducted through interviews with villagers and collection of data on historical changes of land use in the research area. Before the 1950s, villagers customarily gathered forest products and engaged in swidden agriculture. From the 1960s the area was demarcated as a forest reserve, and logging companies conducted massive logging. This logging had an impact on the villagers' livelihood, as many of the villagers worked as logging workers. However, in the 1990s, after forest resources were depleted, the Forestry Department implemented strict control of forest resources - especially after it introduced the forest certification scheme. Villagers became restricted in their use of the forest. The paper concludes that in the post-commercial logging area, without securing tenure rights over their customary land, villagers face difficulty earning sufficient income, and conflict may arise over the use of forest resources and land.
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