TROPICAL RAINFORESTS: Human Inhabitants

The Dyaks

The Dyaks of Borneo have land claims that conflict with logging concessions given to the timber industry. The government more readily grants forest land to commercial interests than to tribal groups. Logging operations cause heavy flooding, siltation of rivers, the departure of animals from the area, and deforestation. The Dyaks are equally displeased with the Indonesian government's resettlement program, which brings city dwellers and peasants to remote forest lands.

In the late 1980s, the Dyaks, along with the Penan, Kayan, and Kelabit peoples, set up roadblocks to prevent logging trucks from entering their lands. The Malaysian government responded by dispatching military forces and arresting native protesters.

In 1999, the Dyaks made international news during their bloody conflict in Indonesia with recent transmigrants from Madura. Hundreds were killed as native Dyaks raided the villages of the Madurese, whose migration to Borneo was sponsored by the Indonesian government under its resettlement program.

Suggested reading
  • The Lost Amazon: The Photographic Journey Of Richard Evans Schultes by Andrew Weil, Chris Murray, and Wade Davis
  • Light at the Edge of the World: A Journey Through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures by Wade Davis
  • Last Place on Earth by Mike Fay and Michael Nichols
  • One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest by Wade Davis by Wade Davis



  • Continued: People of the Rainforest
    Unless otherwise specified, this article was written by Rhett A. Butler [Bibliographic citation for this page]

    Other resources

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