Book From The New York Botanical Garden Focuses On Threats To Indonesia's Forest Riches

October 20, 1997

BRONX, NY, October 20, 1997 -- What is the world giving up when the tropical rain forests are destroyed? This topic is explored in THE NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN'S latest publication, BEYOND SLASH AND BURN: BUILDING ON INDIGENOUS MANAGEMENT OF BORNEO'S TROPICAL RAIN FORESTS, by Carol J. Pierce Colfer with Nancy Peluso and Chin See Chung. The author examines the Uma'Jalan, an indigenous Kenyah people of Eastern Borneo, looking at the complex management systems they have developed for their tropical rain forests. Says Colfer: "The timing of the publication of this book has been in some ways fortuitous. This being an 'El Nino' year, we unfortunately expect grave consequences, some of which have already begun, such as drought, fire, and severe air quality problems. These are partially due, in my view, to the changes in management from the traditional system described in this book to a more modern kind of management that includes clearing of vast areas for transmigration, industrial timber plantations, and mining, as well as the continuing onslaught of large-scale, comparatively unmanaged commercial logging."

This informative volume shows the many uses the Uma'Jalan make of the various stages of forest regrowth, the under recognized benefits gained from the forest, the forest's value beyond that which is attached to it by outsiders, and concludes with recommendations on how the Uma'Jalan system might be adapted to help in the conservation of tropical rain forests and the continued subsistence of traditional rain forest communities. "It is my hope," states Colfer, "that the publication of this book can serve as a wake-up call for policy makers, scientists, and managers to act quickly to protect the environmental health and human well-being of Borneo."

Because the scientific study of plants is not complete until the results are published, the SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS DEPARTMENT OF THE NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN was established in 1896 for the purpose of disseminating the Garden's research results and information to the scientific community and the general public. It is presently the largest publishing program of any independent botanical garden in the world. Current catalog offerings include four scholarly journals, five monographs, and more than 30 books.

BEYOND SLASH AND BURN: BUILDING ON INDIGENOUS MANAGEMENT OF BORNEO'S TROPICAL RAIN FORESTS, by Carol J. Pierce Colfer with Nancy Peluso and Chin See Chung, Volume 11 of the Advances in Economic Botany Monograph Series, ISBN 0-89327-405-4, Paper, 248 pages, $28.00 (plus postage & handling). Order No. AEB11. To order, call (718) 817-8721, fax (718) 817-8842, or e-mail


The New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden

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