Thursday, May 3, 2007

Orchid and jungle trekking eco tourism was on the agenda last night when Upik came to talk about his activities in a small community of the Barito Timur region of Central Kalimantan, adjacent to the Barito River. He is working for the regional government in a community which maintains an 'adat' forest, one that is traditionally managed and utilised. In effect, this gives the forest protection from development or logging or other activities that would destroy it.

The forest is some 60 square klms in size, and contains potential for forest walks, peaceful canoe rides through proboscis monkey habitat, and seeing the famous black orchid of Borneo in situ. The latter flowers in June and July, and this would be a perfect time to visit, between the rainy and dry, hot seasons.

We talked about planning a trip which included some time within the community to learn about what exactly the 'adat' forest is, and how they maintain and control its use. Staying first in a home stay, and then having 2 nights in a jungle camp, would give a real experience of this surviving traditional forest usage. The problems we have are simply getting there. The roads are very poor from Palangka Raya to this region, so we are looking at usage of float planes - an adventure in itself!

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