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Land-use change and agricultural settlement

Land-use allocation in Kalimantan

In the early years after the opening of the Kalimantan forests, provincial authorities granted many small concessions, sometimes to contractors using traditional hand methods. This did not suit the Japanese buyers, who provided credit for mechanization and refused to accept hand-logged timber after 1971. A rationalization of production occurred, with the central government assuming responsibility and setting minimum sizes for concessions. More foreign capital was attracted in partnership with Indonesian firms. At the same time, regulations were drawn up to protect watershed areas. Initially these were defined as all land above 500 m, broadened in 1974 to include all hillsides with slopes of 20 per cent or more. Such regulations, however, were scarcely policed, and it was common to see timber being winched from extremely steep hills.

Beginning in 1980, a further effort attempted to place logging activities under tighter control and to designate zones for timber production, for protection of watersheds, and for conservation. Although steepness of slope and likely erodibility served as the criteria both for fixing the "protected forest" boundary and, to a lesser degree, for differentiating between "limited" and ordinary production forest, it has been the production/conversion forest divide that has caused the most argument. The conversion forest encompasses most of the accessible lands along coasts or rivers. Clear felling is permitted and all transmigration and other government settlements are supposed to be located in these areas. Local people, however, already occupy many such lands. The transmigration agency, seeking locations with reasonable soils as settlement sites, would often stray into the production forest and propose "swaps" of land from one category to another. Yet a piece of land unsuitable for forestry is not necessarily ideal for farming, a point made by Ross (1984) after several years' experience with transmigration settlements in East Kalimantan.

In many areas, the land-use zones bear little relation to conditions on the ground, particularly vegetation. Some "protected forest" is pure grassland. By definition, it is illegal for settlements to exist in protected forest, so people whose village lands fall within that boundary face problems and will meet with pressure to resettle (Potter 1990). The forest inventory under way in Indonesia is incomplete, but studies under the Regional Physical Planning Programme for Transmigration (RePPProT), carried out by a British team around 1985-1987 but based largely on 1982 data, provide a baseline on which to assess the extent and condition of the forested area. As their terms of reference were to analyse all existing land systems with a view to finding areas suitable for transmigration, these studies favour agriculture over forestry as a potential future land use.

The RePPProT team has provided a revision of the land-use zones, expanding the areas of both protected and conversion forest while considerably reducing that allocated to timber production (RePPProT 1985, 1987a,b; Potter 1990). Three series maps at 1:250,000 cover the whole of Kalimantan and provide information on land systems, current land use, forest status, and suggested future development, often in areas previously lacking accurate data. These maps, and accompanying descriptive volumes, are vital sources when examining the possibilities for sustainable land use, of whatever type. A constant warning throughout is that, despite the theoretical and "conditional" recommendations given for tree-crop development, soils everywhere tend to be low in nutrients, strongly weathered so that they are unable to yield fresh minerals or to retain added fertilizer, prone to erosion on slopes, and highly acid, especially in the swampy areas (RePPProT 1985).

Transmigrants in Kalimantan

Kalimantan's present population of 9.1 million people has grown from 5.2 million in 1971 (Census of Indonesia 1990). Above-average rates of increase in East and Central Kalimantan testify to the impact of net in-migration, both sponsored and spontaneous. In the other two provinces, outward movements partly offset settler arrivals, some of them to new opportunities on the forest frontier. Intakes of transmigrants were particularly high between 1980 and 1985, when nearly 400,000 went to Kalimantan (World Bank 1988), but they have since declined (Statistik Indonesia 1990). Over the 1980-1985 period, transmigration accounted for 41-65 per cent of the population increase in three of the provinces, but for only 14 per cent of that in East Kalimantan, which has been more affected by spontaneous movement (World Bank 1988).

Unlike settlers on official schemes in Malaysia, which from the outset have been based on tree crops such as rubber and oil-palm, the bulk of transmigrants entering Kalimantan have come as food-crop farmers. Whatever the quality of land available, they have been given 2 hectares, one near the house to function in part as the house yard, the other further away, intended for permanent tree crops or extension of the food-crop area. Often this second hectare remains uncleared because of a household labour shortage. Not all of the land was originally under dipterocarp forest; tidal swamp and grassland locations were common. Wet rice growing has been practiced where feasible, since this is the type of agriculture most familiar to settlers who come overwhelmingly from Java, but was possible on only a minority of sites, especially in the tidal swamps. There, yields are low because of problems with water control and development of acid-sulphate soils. In the uplands, dry rice yields usually decline after a couple of years. The use of fertilization to prolong cropping periods, especially when cash crops are introduced, poses a severe risk of erosion. Studies of individual transmigrant settlements (e.g. Levang and Riskan 1984) have concluded that incomes are too low for migrants to live from their farms alone. In accessible districts, most farmers (both local and transmigrant) are involved in off-farm work (Arman 1987). Many settlements are in remote areas, however, and often settlers end up practicing shifting cultivation, ironically under the tutelage of the very locals whose farming system they were supposed, by example, to improve (Hidayati 1990; Hidayati, personal communication).

Transmigrants who arrived in Kalimantan in the early 1980s faced additional problems of severe drought, leading to crop failure. Two very dry years, 1982 and 1983, were followed by further droughts in 1987 and 1991. Even without these extra difficulties, transmigrant smallholder food-crop agriculture, as practiced on the soils of Kalimantan, is likely to lead at best to poverty, probably also to erosion or other environmental problems and in some cases eventual abandonment. A list of the 37 least successful transmigration projects as of April 1983 included 10 from Kalimantan. One description reads: "The working areas and gardens consist of quartz sand. The plants are stunted. Vegetation growth is not good and has no production. Topsoil is eroding. A large portion of the land slope exceeds 8 per cent so it is easily eroded" (IIED and GOI 1985, Annex D).

This particular project was in West Kalimantan, where 20,000 people were struggling with an obviously unsuitable site. At a location in the swamplands of Central Kalimantan, the soil was thick peat (4-5 m) with a pH of only 3.8. Plant growth was abnormally small, and chlorosis was present. Almost all of the recommendations for new transmigrant sites in the RePPProT reports are prefaced by warnings that only tree-crop projects are suitable. Recent years have finally seen a shift away from food-crop schemes toward the tree-crop alternative. A number of PIR (Perkebunan Inti Rakyat) small holder cash crop schemes have been established around a central processing facility or existing government estate. Settlers are given 2 ha of tree-crop and 0.51 ha of food-crop land for subsistence, and earn money both as labourers on the estate and by working their own holdings. Although rubber projects have been most common in Kalimantan, coconut, oil-palm, cocoa, and even sugar cane have also been introduced, and there are plans for rattan. All these projects carry the possibility for much better income levels than in the food-crop schemes, as well as greater environmental protection (World Bank 1989). Nevertheless, the prices received for these products are notoriously variable on the world market. Such developments are also much more expensive than food-crop projects.

Spontaneous settlers

Especially in East Kalimantan, many settlers arrive independently, not as participants in any government-assisted scheme. The most famous of these are the oft-described Bugis pepper-growers from Sulawesi, who have settled along the Balikpapan-Samarinda road in East Kalimantan. Vayda and Sahur (1985), who studied some of these farmers in Sulawesi and in Kalimantan in both 1980 and 1984, maintain that this production, which began in 1961, is essentially transitory, as are the growers. They claim that pepper production without fertilizer on these ultisols is unlikely to last more than 10 years before declining yields necessitate abandonment. Inoue and Lahjie (1990) suggest that the cycle may be 15 years and hint that fertilizer may now be applied. Potter has seen serious erosion in the sloping, clean-weeded fields. There is little obvious sign of retreat by the settlers, although abandoned fields are interspersed among the healthy crops. Several suggestions have been made for improvement in practices, and the situation is better in some areas than in others (Had), Hidayat, and Udiansyah 1988; Seibert 1990).

Criticism has focused on the impact of spontaneous migrants who follow the timber contractors and settle along the logging roads, destroying forest as they go. We believe this to be exaggerated, in so far as these roads are often quite empty of settlers and in some cases are actually broken up by the departing contractors. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that such settlers do open forest in the more accessible districts. Logged-out forests are easier to clear, especially if illegal loggers have also been active. Kartawinata and Vayda (1984) reported 50-60 illegal logging teams along the Balikpapan-Samarinda road in 1980. Hidayati (1990) quotes (from Franz 1988) figures of 400 kmē of forest being cleared by 25,000 spontaneous migrants in East Kalimantan.

Land development in Sabah and Sarawak

Eastern Sabah contains substantial tracts of unoccupied, but potentially good, arable land. The developmental efforts of the former British North Borneo Company have been expanded by the Sabah Land Development Board (LDB), set up in 1969, and then by the Peninsula-based Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA), invited to extend its activities to Sabah in 1978. Land is prepared and planted by contractors before settlers arrive, and blocks of 4-6 ha, a figure much larger than in Kalimantan, are allocated. Settlers are expected to repay the large costs over time. Initially, oil-palm was the principal crop planted, and by 1978 Sabah already had 780 kmē under this crop. Subsequently, FELDA land in Sabah has increasingly been planted to cocoa. By 1987-1988, over 52,000 ha had been planted with oil-palm and cocoa, principally in the east, where the large Sahabat Complex, which will cover 1,000 kmē if it is ever fully developed, is larger in size than any of the newer settlement complexes of Peninsular Malaysia.

The pace of settlement has, however, never kept pace with the increase in the area cleared and planted. In 1987, the 34 LDB schemes housed only 2,748 settler families on 52,289 ha, fewer than on a smaller area of land in 1980. The indigenous people of Sabah are reportedly unwilling to accept discipline on the Peninsular model (Sutton 1989). Few of the Sahabat schemes had attracted settlers by the end of the 1980s, and three whole groups of schemes were almost without settler families; a production much smaller than that of the private sector was sustained only on a plantation-estate basis, using immigrants from the Philippines and Indonesia as the principal source of labour. By 1986, foreign workers formed 90 per cent of labour in Sabah agriculture as a whole and almost half the workforce in forestry (Pang 1990). A blanket termination in 1991 of all new land development by FELDA in the Peninsula, discussed below, applies also in Sabah (Malaysia 1991a). Hopes of developing large new agricultural areas by land settlement seem to be at an end.

In Sarawak, land settlement has been of small importance. No core organization promoted tree-crop development. A need to resettle people away from the insecure border with Indonesia, in the 19631965 "confrontation" mini-war, initiated new settlement on the FELDA pattern (Jackson 1968). A Land Development Board began to create oil-palm estates on state land. Since 1976, more resources have gone into land consolidation and rehabilitation, sometimes on existing cultivated land, but often on new blocks right away from the former longhouses. A Sarawak equivalent of the Peninsula Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (FELCRA), named SALCRA, was set up for this purpose. Most of its activity has been among impoverished farmers in the more closely occupied areas of western Sarawak but, despite constrained resources, recent innovation has progressed further east in areas made sensitive by conflicts over land rights (King 1988). Few SALCRA schemes have been truly successful, but a new drive is being undertaken in the 1990s (Hatch 1982; Malaysia 1991a).

Impending crisis in forestry and the timber industries

Problems of logging in Kalimantan

Critics have asserted that unsustainable logging practices are causing permanent degradation of a unique resource, and are likely to jeopardize future timber-related employment, including downstream industrial processing in the urban centres. The Indonesian selective-cutting system, similar to that now also used in most of Malaysia, theorizes a return period of 35 years after the first logging cycle. To permit this, however, only trees with a minimum diameter at breast height (DBH) of 50 cm may be logged, while on each hectare at least 25 trees of marketable species, with DBH 35 cm, should remain to secure the next cut. Field studies have revealed that such a number of medium-sized trees is rarely available (Marsono 1980; Soekotjo 1981). Criticisms of logging activities have emphasized the damage done to surrounding trees by mechanized selective cutting, with an average of 50 per cent of the stands being destroyed or damaged, although only 30 per cent is removed (Hamzah 1978; Kartawinata 1978). Thang (1990) has argued for Malaysia that a second cut in as few as 35 years will be possible only if residual damage is not greater than 30 per cent. The compaction of soils, which impedes regeneration of dipterocarps and favours nomad species, and the similar effect of the large gaps often left after logging are other reasons cited for inadequate regrowth of desirable timber types (Kartawinata 1990; Whitmore 1991). A recent study in one district of East Kalimantan has noted that the proportional areas of "primary" and "secondary" forest have shifted dramatically toward the latter (Sukardjo 1990). A further problem is that of fire, which we discuss separately below.

A recent Indonesian study, using information from Malaysia and the Philippines as well, has now admitted that, even with enrichment planting and good seedling regeneration, it would be more likely to take 60-70 years than 35 years for the next crop of timber to be available (FAO and GOI 1990). The authors agree with earlier writers that the area logged could be reduced through an increase in the number of species designated "commercial," so that smaller sections of forest could be worked more intensively, and with less waste (FAO and GOI 1990; IIED and GOI 1985; Ross 1984). In addition to problems that seem to apply even if the selective system is followed, many concessionaires (or their multiple contractors) do not operate within the rules. Each year they are supposed to cut only in a carefully designated area, but instead evidence abounds of haphazard cutting all over the concession, or the re-logging of parts of it within the 20-year lease period. Inadequate marking of boundaries may lead to the felling of protected forest, or even of timber belonging to a neighbouring concession, as in a 1991 case that has inspired much comment (Jakarta Post, 17 July 1991; Tempo, 27 July 1991). It is sometimes suggested that more flexible management systems be adopted, bearing local conditions in mind. Extended concession periods would be necessary, since one of the biggest problems has been to interest concessionaires holding 20 year leases in any form of long-term planning.

In 1990, Kalimantan was estimated still to have 22.7 million ha of forest with "management potential" (i.e. outside protected areas, national parks, etc). Of this, nearly 6 million ha (26 per cent) were classified as "conversion and unclassed forest" (eventually to be cleared for agriculture and other activities) and 16.7 million ha were production forest. Of the production forest, 10.8 million ha were classed as "unlogged," 4 million ha as "logged," and 1.9 million ha as "heavily logged" (FAO and GOI 1990). Although it is noteworthy that much of the unlogged forest was in inaccessible districts, there is obvious scope for several more years of continued production. Between the 1982 RePPProT studies and the 1990 FAO report, however, the total area forested is calculated to have declined from 72 per cent to 63 per cent. East Kalimantan experienced a drop of almost 16 per cent, the largest decline of the four provinces, partly a result of the 1982-1983 fire.

Supply constraints in the wood-based industries of Kalimantan

We have noted that the banning of log exports brought about no lasting reduction in the pressure on the forests of Kalimantan. The Indonesian plywood industry, which draws all its raw material from natural forests, has been warned not to exceed an annual capacity of 10 million mģ through the 1990s; otherwise, real shortages of raw materials could arise by 2000. Some say this shortfall will arise sooner, by the mid-1990s (MOF and FAO 1991). Until now, however, only the plywood mills of West Kalimantan need to bring in supplementary supplies of logs from Sarawak (Dines Kehutanan, Kalbar 1990). Since shortages of higher-quality logs will soon be likely in Sumatra, it is suggested that Kalimantan's mills begin to diversify their equipment, so that they can supply some of Sumatra's needs and begin to process lower-quality logs at the same time, instead of simply sending them to the sawmiller (FAO and GOI 1990).

The rapid growth of the Indonesian plywood industry has been possible largely because of low local prices for both logs and labour, which have resulted in a cheaper finished product. Such prices have, however, militated against care and efficiency in all stages of the industry. There is certainly room for improvements in efficiency; wastage is sometimes very high, in both the forest and the mill, and, on the basis of international comparison, mill workforces might be cut 25 per cent without loss of production. The milling of smaller and lower-quality logs is recommended, as well as, conversely, development of some specialization in high-quality veneers following the pattern of Peninsular Malaysia. Most telling is that recent publications emanating from the government (FAO and GOI 1990; MOF and FAO 1991) suggest an increase in the local price of logs, and even a partial lifting of the logging ban for high-quality, but high-priced, timber. This recommendation is seen as a way of improving logging conditions and protecting the remaining forests.

In a move that appears contradictory to that discussed above, recent years have witnessed an imposition of export bans on raw and semi-processed rattan and the introduction of a high export tax on sawn timber. The purported aim was to encourage internal processing, but the result has been a catastrophic decline in local prices, since the local rattan industry cannot develop fast enough to absorb the quantities of raw material collected originally for export. The impact has been very severe on the small producers. Rattan-growing has been encouraged to provide a cash crop for shifting cultivators and is recommended in agro-forestry systems. Both rattan carpets and rattan furniture have proved to be difficult to sell on export markets, necessitating centralized quality control that has essentially cut out many small manufacturers, especially those from rural districts.

It is the same for sawmillers. The newspaper Kompas (20 and 24 October 1989) estimated that small regional mills employ 200,000 people; Kalimantan must have had at least one-half of these. Whereas the large sawmillers attached to the concessions have a high-quality product and will survive, the medium-sized mechanized mills have had a difficult time. In South Kalimantan, they have disappeared from rural areas, forcing the people of whole villages to move to town. Moreover, in the city, a gap separates the very large producers and the tiny, hand-operated sawmills (wantilan), which use off-cuts from the bigger mills and cater to the bottom end of the market (field survey, July 1991). These two commodities - sawn timber and rattan - provide examples of the tendencies in the Indonesian economy for centralization and large-scale activity, which greatly exacerbates inequalities and reduces local opportunities.

Toward a "post-timber" future in Sabah

Much of the foregoing discussion about Kalimantan applies with equal force in Malaysian Borneo, but there are differences owing to the long-continued specialization in the export of unprocessed round timber. Sabah already faces a serious crisis that foreshadows what may happen elsewhere in the island. Estimates of the area annually cut over in Sabah fell from 3,640 kmē in 1978 to not more than 2,000 kmē a decade later (Malaysian Business, 1 August 1988; Country Profile 1991). Most of this is now hill forest; estimates of the remaining timber resource have been declining sharply. With imposed quotas, log exports fell by over one-half between 1987 and 1990 and, although sawn timber production increased by over 40 per cent during the same period, the total volume of exports has fallen by almost one-third (Country Profile 1990; Buku tahunan perangkaan 1990). A debate, if this is the right term, between official and commercial apologists for the high rate of logging in Malaysian Borneo, on the one hand, and critics on the other, is well presented and analysed by Hurst (1990). At least in Sabah, the debate is resolved by events.

The change in Sabah from apparent surplus to perceived deficit has been sudden and demonstrates the extraordinary measure of self-delusion about the achievement of sustainability that has characterized responsible officials and their publicists, not only in Sabah but throughout the region. Hurst's comprehensive discussion uses sources to 1988 and even 1989 but reveals only that logging was up to four times the estimated rate of regeneration (Hurst 1990, 141). In 1989 a Forestry Department study, however, foresaw a drop in productivity by almost an order of magnitude between 1988 and 1998, leading to the prediction that "from 1992 onwards, timber production from natural forest would not be able to meet [even] local demand" (Pang 1990, 10). Belatedly in the late 1980s there was a serious attempt to develop a wood-based industry in Sabah, principally simple sawmilling, imposing quotas and higher export royalties to restrict log exports. Sawmills and veneer and plywood mills all increased sharply in number.

Sustainability in Sarawak?

In Sarawak, official circles have perceived no supply constraint, so log exports have continued to expand, taking up, in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, the market share vacated by Indonesia and increasingly also by Sabah (Asean Focus 1989; Logging and Resources 1989; Sarawak Update 1990). The rate of cutting is virtually out of control in a system in which the whole timber operation, including sale, is frequently let out to contractors by the concessionaires, and the contractors themselves further subcontract (Hurst 1990; Lian 1987). Making use of estimates of timber density in relation to data on log production, Hong (1987, 128-129) estimated the area logged between 1963 and 1985 as 28,217 kmē, about 30 per cent of the whole forest area. The rate, however, was rising, with 60 per cent of the forest area under concession in 1984. More recently, a careful external review has concluded that:

if harvesting of the hill forests continues as at present (13,000,000 mģ/ yr+/-), all primary forests in PFE [Permanent Forest Estate] and State land assumed to be available for timber production, including those of more than 60 per cent slope, would have been harvested in about 11 years. At that time only cutover forests would remain. There could then ensue a sharp decline in yield, employment and revenue until the cutover forests mature. (ITTC 1990, 35)

However, harvest levels reached a record 20,000,000 mģ in 1990, and it remains to be seen if a decision to halve this coup will be capable of implementation (Primack 1991).

Yet good management principles are in place in Sarawak. A selective-cutting system is supposedly in use, and in the Permanent Forest Estate (PFE) concessionaires should lodge working plans showing the area to be cut in each year. Similar but less restrictive regulations apply on the equal area of state land outside the PFE, from which most timber is currently cut. The 1989 International Tropical Timber Organization mission found most of the policies good but implementation inadequate (ITTC 1990). In particular, the concession system frustrated rather than facilitated sustainable management, the Forest Department needed greatly to be strengthened, catchment protection called for major improvement, and, above all, the area cut annually had greatly to be reduced. They concluded that "utilization and management cannot maintain the forest based economic structure at its present level and, at the same time, sustain it indefinitely into the future" (ITTC 1990, 60). Primack (1991) interprets the report and its findings to suggest that a reduction of harvesting levels by at least two-thirds is the only way to achieve a sustainable industry.

The mission was also doubtful about the drive to build a wood working industry to absorb 50 per cent of the cut by 2000, pointing to market uncertainties. The new drive has had limited success, with about 10 per cent of timber domestically processed, much less than in Sabah (Asean Focus 1989; Country Profile 1991). Many problems exist, including the woodworking industry's heavy dependence on illegal immigrant labour. Strong federal pressure on the state government calls for more extensive bans on log exports, currently applied to only a few species. Yet proposals from Peninsular wood manufacturers that certain species of logs be reserved in their interest, or that domestic rates of royalty be applied to timber sold to the Peninsula, have encountered strong resistance (Vincent 1988). This continued through 1991. Both East Malaysian states prefer to try to develop their own timber-working industries, in spite of high costs, and to attract timber-starved Peninsular sawmillers to relocate in East Malaysia.

As interpreted by the Sarawak authorities, the ITTC mission report offered encouragement that firm government support for its recommendations would achieve sustainable forestry (Sarawak Update 1990; Primack 1991). If more conservationist policies are in fact implemented, if the market problems can be resolved, if infrastructure can be improved, and if the labour shortage can be overcome (Asean Focus 1989), there might yet be some hope of developing in Sarawak a vertically integrated timber industry with a sustained future, using dipterocarp and other indigenous timbers. But these "ifs" are of a large order. Dependence on natural regeneration is clearly still the aim. Enrichment and "silvicultural treatment" of dipterocarp forest is planned for 370 kmē, but this contrasts with 2,000 kmē in Sabah and 3,931 kmē in Peninsular Malaysia (Malaysia 1991a).

Plantation forestry as a solution?

Timber shortages are now real in both Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, are imminent in Sumatra, and are a longer-term prospect even in Kalimantan and Sarawak. Given a low rate of success with "enrichment planting," greater emphasis is now being placed on plantation forestry, which began seriously in Sabah in 1983. Initially, this was with pines, but other fast-growing exotics are now mainly used, principally Acacia mangium, Paraserianthes falcataria, Gmelina arborea, and, sometimes, Eucalyptus deglupta. The method is to clear the site completely, but without destumping, and weeding is required until the seedlings become young trees and develop a shading canopy. In Peninsular Malaysia, where major plans now exist for the expansion of plantation forestry, a sustainable yield on a 15-year cycle is anticipated. Apart from Gmelina arborea, which makes reasonable furniture, the fast-growing timber is suitable only for constructional purposes and as pulpwood or as fillers in plywood. Sabah Softwoods, the pioneer in the region, still regards plantations as high-risk ventures that require a considerable degree of skill in monitoring and management (Golokin and Cassels 1988). Moreover, a risk of disease and pest invasion is attributable to the narrow genetic base; it is reported that the whole stock of Acacia mangium in Sabah comes from a single Australian parent (Salleh and Hashim 1982).

Indonesia has stepped up its reforestation efforts, now using mainly Acacia mangium. The industrial-plantation programme in Kalimantan looks to the future establishment of pulp and paper mills. Experimental plantings date back more than a decade on one huge concession in East Kalimantan and off the south-east coast at Pulaulaut, where problems of insect infestation and inappropriate varieties have been encountered and overcome. Supposedly, reforestation is practiced on a part of every concession, but little has been developed. The selective logging system has now changed its name to the "selective logging and planting system" and, in a new move to encourage private investment, the government has permitted the leasing of land areas quite separate from the concessions for plantation forestry for 35 years (FAO and GOI 1990).

In Sabah, where the situation is most critical and where there is also the greatest fund of experience, plans for 1991-1995 allow for 3,200 kmē of new forest plantations (Malaysia 1991a). This is in addition to the large area designated for enrichment planting. It is likely that a significant part of the new effort will be in areas burned in 1983, most of which had been logged. Since drought is a recurrent hazard in Sabah, as in East and South Kalimantan, important questions arise regarding the drought-tolerance of the planted species. Most have little fire resistance and this is more serious, especially where the preexisting vegetation was not forest but grassland. This grass burns readily in the dry season and, even in normal years, some of the new plantings have been lost. Where local shifting cultivators perceive the plantations as taking over their lands, the rates of burning are likely to increase. In one such area in South Kalimantan during July 1991, tensions were high between forest police, protecting the plantation, and villagers, not allowed to burn as their usual method of field preparation. In Sarawak, forest plantations hardly exist, and plans for the coming five years include only 200 kmē, less than the 420 kmē planned for Peninsular Malaysia. Yet some badly degraded areas in western and west-central Sarawak are at least at risk from drought, and forest plantations could be a very suitable use of the land.

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