Agustus 26, 2015

The Quest for Food for Forest-Dependent People in Sumatra, Indonesia

A BRIEF account of Orang Rimba or literally means ‘forest-dependent people’ in Jambi Province provides quite illuminating information and evidence as well. They are forest dependent peoples, living in small colonies of tribal communities, eking a living by gathering and hunting forest products and wildlife. Jambi province used to have vast stretches of rain forests, which suffered severe degradation, attributed to rapid growth-focused development, poor forestry management practices since 1970s which promoted plantation crops (rubber, oil palm, and coffee, among others), increased accessibility through the construction of infrastructure; transmigrant settlements, logging practices (both legal and illegal), and slash and burn subsistence cultivation practices.

My paper will focus on the food security for Orang Rimba on the basis of ethnographic fieldwork. The special case of this paper is Terab Group, which is one of the groups of Orang Rimba living in the National Park of Bukit Duabelas in Jambi Province. With this, I hope to provide a clearer idea of the problems facing forest-dependent people living in Jambi Province, and offer a systematic overview of how they cope with the existing problems of food security. Moreover, I would like to understand the relationships between cultural traditions and customs as vital sources of indigenous knowledge as applied in Orang Rimba livelihood management, particularly in the protected area.

In light of that, I would like to address the main question of my research which is: what is the current situation of food security of Orang Rimba in Jambi Province? The main research question will be followed by specific research questions: how do Orang Rimba maintain their food security? What challenges do Orang Rimba face in their efforts to maintain food security?; and how do Orang Rimba adjust and moreover reproduce their knowledge on their environment to such changes?[]


Ekoningtyas Margu Wardani, “The Quest for Food for Forest-Dependent People in Sumatra, Indonesia”, Paper presented at the 8th EuroSEAS Conference, Vienna, 11-14 August 2015.

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