As a native Dayak of Borneo, Iber Djamal (77) has witnessed two decades of ecological disasters that have destroyed Borneo’s forest. With the time he has left in his life, he is fighting to obtain a legal title for the remaining customary forest surrounding his home.
In 1996, one million hectares of Borneo’s forest was destroyed for Mega Rice Project. The large-scale government project aims to convert Borneo’s rainforest into agricultural crop land. Iber Djamal was part of indigenous communities who opposed this project unsuccesfully. But now, with the expansion of palm oil plantations, indigenous Dayak people like him are asked to sign an agreement for the companies to further encroach their forest. Although his children encourage him to go with the flow, Iber Djamal insists on pursuing the only legal way to protect the forest by obtaining a legal customary forest title for the remaining forest in his area.