Dayak communities were aware of, and respected the forest and its biodiversity, long before researchers arrived in Central Kalimantan. Traditionally, the local ‘adat’ (customary) law afforded protection to the forest, limiting human activity to the edges, and so leaving the primary forest undisturbed to allow its animals and plants to thrive. The Dayak people have a wealth of knowledge about local plants and their uses. Many of their traditional practices reflect a more sustainable approach towards resource and land management than the intensive agricultural monocultures of today. But these practices have been passed down from generation to generation with little or no formal documentation. Thus, as lifestyles and livelihoods change, the younger generation is moving away from traditional ways of life and the Dayak ethnobotanical knowledge is at risk of being lost forever.
The information contained in this booklet is the result of ethnobotanical research conducted in collaboration with the Dayak communities of Kereng Bangkirai and Sabaru from 2017 to 2018. This booklet compilation includes local terms, beliefs and practices associated with the use of plants by the Dayak communities residing along the border of the Sebangau National Park, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.