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Part of the Punan Adiu customary forest. The Punan believe that a mystical tiger protect their ‘Bukit Bintang’, a sacred ridge in their customary forest (the highest ridge in the background of the photo). No one have courage to go there, even the Punan. “One time, me and my friends camped out near the Bukit Bintang. We heard a tiger’s roar nearby but couldn’t see it physically”, Piyang said. Punan Adiu, 2020.

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Ninety seven percent of Punan Adiu Territory is rainforest and it is home for endemic plants and animals.


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Sigong Kelafang, a freshwater lake in Punan Adiu customary forest area. 2020.

an river

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The An River in the Punan Adiu customary forest. 2020

adiu river

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The Adiu River, North Kalimantan Province of Indonesia. 2020.

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At least two tree species in the customary forest are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN): Agarwood (Aquilaria spp.) and Ironwood (Eusideroxylon zwageri).

ulin tree

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Ulin tree (Iron wood / Eusideroxylon zwageri) in Punan Adiu customary forest. 2020. The IUCN Red List lists this slow growing tree (60 cm per year) as a vulnerable species of high quality timber. Forest conversion and logging put this endemic species at a high risk of extinction.

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An old tree in Punan Adiu customary forest. 2020

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Of the wildlife species in the Punan Adiu Customary Territory, 172 are listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Of these, three are critically endangered: Helmeted Hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil), Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica), and Bornean Banded Langur (Presbytis chrysomelas).

source : The IUCN Red list of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. Retreived from on December 25, 2016.

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A study in 2017 estimated 55,216 metric tons of CO2 emission reduction per year are expected if the community can avoid deforestation in the customary forest.

source : LTS International. 2017. Nugum Lunang, Lelum Tano. Sustainable forest, safe Earth. Sustainable Forest and Biodiversity Management in Dayak Punan Long Adiu Customary Community Territory, Malinau, North Kalimantan, Indonesia.

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With this potential, the Punan Adiu and the organization partners are planning to join the global market of carbon trading. It will enable them to independently fund their conservation programs.



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Photosynthesis: plants and other forest organisms use sunlight to synthesize nutrients from carbon dioxide and water. The process removes the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and generates oxygen as a by-product. When humans destroy nature and release carbon into the atmosphere, the intact forest ecosystem sequesters the carbon and produces oxygen to our planet. Punan Adiu customary forest, 2020.

sigong kelafang

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Sigong Kelafang, a freshwater lake in the Punan Adiu customary forest area. 2020.


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Lichen grows on a tree branch. Punan Adiu customary forest. 2020

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Forest provides food, water, housing material and other important resources for the Punan Adiu. The Punan traditionally hunt and gather food in the forest to fulfill their daily diet.

jamur kuping

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Jamur Kuping (Wood ear / Auricularia auricula-judae). This edible fungus grows on dead or living wood and can be consumed as food. The Punan Adiu customary forest. 2020.


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Rattan in the Punan Adiu customary forest. The Punan use rattan as a material for traditional pouches, bags and other handicrafts.

bamboo cook

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The Punan traditionally use bamboo to cook the food. The bamboo is heated above the firewood until the food is ready to be served.

edible frog

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The Aren River, 2020. Frogs are one of the protein sources for the Punan Adiu community


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The Aren River, 2020. The Pythonidae snake is one of the protein sources for the Punan Adiu community.

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With its role as natural sanctuary, food source and carbon sink, the Punan Adiu Customary Forest has a significant impact on protecting local biodiversity and providing food for the community as well as contributing to reducing global warming.


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Piyang and Lukas pose for a portrait in front of a Benggeris tree (Koompassia excelsa) during their forest patrol. The tree grows higher than the average canopy tree and its branch is home for giant honeybees (Apis dorsata). Protected by smoke, local climbers harvest the honey for additional income. With its economic and cultural value, native taboo forbids people cutting the tree down. To protect the forest, the Punan Adiu conduct patrols in their customary forest area. 2020.

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Lunang Tlang Ota Ine
The forest is our mother. She breastfeeds us like her children.