abusesaffiliationarrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upattack-typeburgerchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upClock iconclosedeletedevelopment-povertydiscriminationdollardownloademailenvironmentexternal-linkfacebookfiltergenderglobegroupshealthC4067174-3DD9-4B9E-AD64-284FDAAE6338@1xinformation-outlineinformationinstagraminvestment-trade-globalisationissueslabourlanguagesShapeCombined Shapeline, chart, up, arrow, graphLinkedInlocationmap-pinminusnewsorganisationotheroverviewpluspreviewArtboard 185profilerefreshIconnewssearchsecurityPathStock downStock steadyStock uptagticktooltiptwitteruniversalityweb

25 Jun 2021

Fiona McAlpine, Eco-Business

Sarawak communities gather data to challenge claims made by logging company

25 June 2021

Last month, Indigenous Penan and Kenyah communities of the Baram and Limbang rivers lodged official complaints to the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) outlining alleged breaches of its scheme by timber giant Samling. Included in the complaints were a lack of consultation prior to timber certificates being issued, alleged logging outside of permitted areas and a failure to respond when these issues were raised with the company.


With some digging, these civil society organisations have found that Samling’s understanding of community reliance on forest resources is chronically flawed. In its public summary of the Gerenai concession — a logging concession with a footprint 10 times the area of San Francisco with an estimated 11,000 Indigenous residents — Samling refers to the social impact assessment, which says:

those with family members in the larger towns “… purchase their household needs and transport them back to the villagers. Hence, the impact of the reduced forest area would not be a significant impact on their livelihood…”


“…forest management operations have provided impacts to the communities. These are through job employment which eventually improves household income and economic status”


The assertions that fishing, hunting, and forest resources are diminishing or unimportant are preposterous to communities, however countering these ideas was mostly hearsay until recently. For the past year three Baram communities have been documenting community forest reliance through the Baram Heritage Survey, collecting hunting, fishing, livelihood and nutrition statistics. These communities now have the data to back up what they already know: that a healthy forest is absolutely essential to the physical and cultural survival of their village.


Part of the following timelines

Malaysia: Timber company Samling accused of flawed environmental certification & legal threats against Borneans forest defenders; incl. co. response

Malaysia: Indigenous peoples seek revocation of timber company Samling's concession for lack of free, prior & informed consent