Photo exhibition by biologist Inger Kærgaard and forestry candidate Ika Francisca, Danida – sponsored expedition to Borneo August 2009. These are the 24 pictures that are used for the exhibition. Inger took around 4500 pictures in total on the journey. So there were a lot of considerations and selecting. If you want to see more pictures please contact Inger.

Some explanations to the text:
Borneo is the name of the whole island (including Brunei and the Malaysian part); Kalimantan is the Indonesian part and also the Indonesian name for the whole island. Inger and Ika spent time only on the Indonesian part of the island.

The pictures tell many stories. Some are sad, but still there is a lot of hope.

This is how Inger feels about the forest after she “met” it:
“I realized that I had fallen in love with a forest. This is a kind of love that calms you down and gives you fulfillment; you never finish exploring your beloved. This love contains much beauty and excitement. And yet it is a stressful love, because the forest is constantly under pressure and every second you risk losing it ‒ forever …”

1. Landing on the burning land
August is the high season for slash and burn farming. This is the cheapest way to clear land. The farmers are getting ready for planting before the wet season starts. The effects on the climate and the health of the local people are notable. Central Kalimantan.

2. Fruit tree seedling
Wild durian Durio ocleanus seedlings growing in Pesalat Reforestation Project in Tanjung Puting National park. These seedlings are about one month old. There is also need for forest restoration in the National park, because 75 % of the land there is degraded. Central Kalimantan.

3. Local harvest of timber. Is this illegal?
When big logging concessions lease forest areas, the local villagers are no longer allowed to use the forest, as they did for generations. East Kalimantan.

4. Blackwater
Blackwater (peat swamp water) near Palangkaraya. The peat swam forests has huge storage of carbon. Research shows that if the peat is 5 meters deep one ha contains 2850 tons of carbon. Sometimes the peat is more than 20m deep. By way of comparison, a grass field contains around 100 tons per ha. Central Kalimantan.

5. Slash and burn farming in darkness
It is easier to control the fire if it is visible and that is easier in the dark, especially in peat swamp areas, where the fire sometimes burns more or less underground. Central Kalimantan.

6. Lunch in the forest
Two of the local forest rangers preparing lunch in the forest. Wehea Protected Forest is 38000 ha big and have borders on two logging concessions and a palm oil plantation. Therefore the local people are patrolling the borders of the forest. The connection between these old cultures and the forest is significant. If the forest goes, the local communities will have redefine a huge part of their cultural identity. East Kalimantan.

7. Transmigrations
In Indonesia some islands are much denser populated than other, this has led to the government’s transmigration programs, where people especially from Java and Bali have moved to for instance Borneo. This is also causing deforestation because the newcomers receive 2 ha of “agricultural” land. Central Kalimantan.

8. Slash and burn farming
Because of the loss of forest and the burning, Indonesia has the third highest green house gas emission after USA and China. East Kalimantan.

9. Computer room in a village
The gaining of computer skills makes the indigenous people stronger in the meeting with logging companies and palm plantations owners. East Kalimantan.

10. Ferns
The ferns are pioneer plants and next to the grass they are the first to shoot, when land has been cleared. They are also well represented in a more abstract form in the traditional pattern of the indigenous peoples’ textile and wood paintings. East Kalimantan.

11. Gold mine
Forest transformation into desert. Central Kalimantan.

12. Tracks
These train tracks used to transport timber out of the forest and now they lead to an international research station. The area has status as a National Park since 2005 and has around 7000 orangutans. Central Kalimantan.

13. Wehea Protected Forest
The rainforests of Borneo are said to be some of the oldest rainforests in the world. They are around 80 million years old, this is mainly due to the lack of active volcanos on the island. East Kalimantan.

14. Wehea Protected Forest in the morning
The forest still contains around 60 % virgin forest, which means that no humans have ever been there. East Kalimantan.

15. Palm oil Plantation
These palms are in their most profitable age (around 13 years old). The growing European demand for palm oil is causing an explosion in the number of palm oil plantations in Indonesia. Recently research stated: If you buy ten products in a UK supermarket, there will be palm oil in seven of them. Central Kalimantan.

16. Coal mining
This coal lies just below the surface in the ground, so the forest will be cleared and the land is opened. The coal mine announces the explosion time to the public and hopes to make it a local tourist attraction. East Kalimantan.

17. Slash and burn farming
Central Kalimantan.

18. Collection of seeds
Forest rangers are collecting the seeds from Dipterocarpus grandiflorus, Pesalat Reforestation Project. Tanjung Puting Nationalpark. Central Kalimantan.

19. Zircon mining
This mineral is used for ceramic materials. This picture also illustrates how the local climate changes if there is a tree. There used to be forest here, and now this man is using a dead tree to provide shade. Central Kalimantan.

20. The head of the tribe
Non Timber Forest Products produced here by the head of the tribe. Craft made from rattan. An increased focus on Non Timber Forest Products can have a huge effect on forest protection. Other examples of NTFP in this area is honey, firewood or hunting. East Kalimantan.

21. Logging Concession
Indonesia has huge problems with illegal logging. Between 50-80 % of all logs coming from Indonesia have been cut down illegally. Europe still gets lots of suspicious timber from Indonesia. East Kalimantan.

22. Traditional planting of dry rice
Normally rice is grown in paddy fields, but the indigenous people of Borneo plant rice on dry ground. Some places people don’t know how many hectares they own, but only how many kilo of rice they have harvested. This can cause trouble when companies want to buy the hectares of land. East Kalimantan.

23. Rattan
Non Timber Forest Product, rattan, sold to Java, where it is used for the production of furniture for China, USA and Europe. East Kalimantan.

24. Mother tree
Forest with a mother tree of Dipterocarpus grandiflorus. Many of the trees are more than 60 years old before they start to flower. These dipterocarp trees have very irregular flowering intervals. Sometimes there are more than 10 years between the flowerings. This makes these giants of the forest difficult to replant and study, once they are gone. Central Kalimantan.