Sawang Senghiang Village is located in Serawai District, Sintang Regency. The trip to this village is taken by land route from Sintang City. By using an ordinary motorbike, it takes a duration of 8 hours. Sawang Senghiang Village has natural characteristics. Besides having a local culture that is still preserved, it also has beautiful nature with a geographical location which has hills and river streams, as well as a stretch of forest covering Sawang Senghiang.
The people there live and use the forest as a source of livelihood. From the forest, the community gets a source of clean water, forest vegetables, fish, and even a source of wood which is used to build houses. In addition, the community is still cultivating rice as a staple food source. The rubber commodity is also still becoming the main commodity, the rubber plantations which they have been cultivating for generations. Even the rubber plantations they own have become part of the forest ecosystem. Apart from the rubber trunks, trees and other plants also grow, such as rattan, taro, and forest wood.
Sawang Senghiang is one of the assisted villages of Gemawan which proposed forest and land management and protection through Customary Forest scheme. With the community and the Sawang Senghiang Village Government, the proposal and document preparation which was submitted in 2019 to the Government of Sintang Regency had been completed with the proposed borders of customary forest in the form of a mapping activity of the Customary Forest proposed borders for five days from January 21 – 25, 2021.
Senghiang Bayak and Karangan Panjang hamlets become the areas of the Customary Forest which were proposed and mapped. According to Stefanus Kardi, a Gemawan activist, the mapping of customary areas in Sawang Senghiang Village is the main requirement related to land use and areas managed by indigenous people in the village. “In Serawai and Ambalau districts, almost all villages have not conducted a mapping of their managed areas. The proposal for Customary Forest by Indigenous People of Uud Danum Tepe Dayak Tribe, which currently known as Temp /Sawang Senghiang Village, will be the starting point for the proposals of Customary Forests in other villages in these two districts,” said Kardi, who is a Customary Forest Specialist of Gemawan
In the participatory mapping of this proposed customary forest, the team had to explore the forests and rivers. Participating in the mapping team was the Village Head, Village Secretary, traditional leaders, village youth – both men and women, as well as village officials. Supported with sunny weather, the team traced hills, walked up fields, rivers and even went through cliff trails.
According to Markus Nedi, Head of Sawang Senghiang Village, Customary Forest or in the local language Luvang Horomaung, was proposed for its legality in order that the forest will be preserved and inherited for their children and grandchildren. The forest which they have preserved for a long time will become a physical evidence for future generations that the forest which becomes their source of life was not merely got from historical stories, that in this village there were still lush forests and large trees.
“Our children and grandchildren will directly see the form of a complete forest and diverse plants in it. Our forest will later become a historical bond which cannot be separated from the elderly people who guard and manage the forest wisely. Long before today, the community has traditionally recognized local wisdom, that Sawang Senghiang Village has owned a customary forest, yet this recognition was only based locally, “said Markus Adam when doing the mapping. He hopes that the process of acknowledging and issuing the Customary Forest Decree (SK) can be completed as soon as possible. With the issuance of the SK, it will certainly provide legality of protection for the community in preserving the customary forest.
The same thing was delivered by Jahanis, an old leader of Sawang Senghiang Village who was involved in the participatory mapping process, that the proposal for the Customary Forest is to be immediately followed up by the Government of Sintang Regency and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.
“I am worried if the process is slow, this thing, it is chancy if I am still alive, if I pass away and this thing has not been finished, there will be no one to preserve it. Therefore, it is necessary to immediately issue the SK, to become a guide and evidence that can be seen by the descendants in the future and they say this is the evidence from the ancestors, datok, grandfather, grandmother, in preserving and protecting the forest. If it is a lie you can check it in the field, this is real. Those are my wish and hope so that this thing can be quickly realized by the government, “said Mr. Jahanis to the mapping team.
After the participatory mapping of the taking of coordinate points, the process will be followed up with the finalization of the customary forest proposed map. This stage, according to Abang Rustaman, will always be consulted with various related parties. “The map made will become an inseparable attachment to the Customary Forest proposed documents. The finalization of the map will always be discussed with related parties, especially the local indigenous people,” said Abang, Head of the Gemawan Participatory Mapping Unit. (RN/ZN)