Friday, December 21, 2007

Putting a Price on Borneo's Rainforest

Trees in Setulang village are viewed the old-fashioned way - as building material for boats.

Tucked into the Borneo rainforest, there is not much debate about climate change here. No one reads about carbon stocks in the morning paper - there isn't one.

But a few months ago, something happened on Setulang's doorstep that brought this village face to face with the cutting edge of carbon trading.
If you have any intrest in the rain forests of Borneo you simply must read this book: Stranger in the Forest.
I read it while I was in Malaysian Borneo in early November 2005. The author spent considerable time walking across (from north to south) Borneo on several different treks. It was a fascinating read and a remarkable journey. Reading it you can't help but develop a sense of awe for the rain forests that remain on Borneo.

I finshed the book at about 35,000 feet while curled up in Business Class on a Singapore Airlines 777 enroute from Bandar Seri Bagwhan, Brunei to Singapore. We passed over the north coast of Borneo as we made our way west to Singapore and I remember looking out the window at the seemingly endless forests below me wondering how much longer they will survive. Unlike the government of Indonesia (the southern 2/3 of Borneo) the Malaysian government seems to at least have a remote interest in keeping the forest alive (for tourism). The Indonesians, on the other hand, seem to care less. We all lose when that happens.

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