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Penan village successfully protects forest from logging

Penan village successfully protects forest from logging
The Penan community of Long Tevenga in front of their blockade on the logging road

The small Penan village of Long Tevenga on Borneo saved their forest from timber extraction with unconventional means.

(Long Tevenga, Malaysia) After two years of struggle against logging in their forest, the Penan village of Long Tevenga in Northern Sarawak gained a major victory: The Sarawak Forest Department said that the logging company Lee Ling cannot proceed with the logging as long as the community has not given their consent.

For the last two years, the Penan have tried to prevent the logging company from entering the forest with a barricade on the logging road. This August, the village under headman Peng Megut decided to strengthen their efforts: They built a house across the logging road. When the logging company came back, they had no chance to get through and to continue the road construction as well as the timber extraction.

Last Friday, the 12th of October, the logging company Lee Ling returned to the blockade site with support of the police and representatives of the Sarawak Forest Department. Based on the recently completed community maps, the Penan showed how the logging activities threaten their territorial rights in the area. Consequently, the Sarawak Forest Department sent the logging company home and stated that Lee Ling should not proceed with further timber extraction without the consent of the Penan village.

Last year, the Penan and the Bruno Manser Fund published a set of 23 maps documenting the Penan's traditional forest and land use.

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