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Counter-mapping and the Dayak lands in West Kalimantan, Indonesia

January 11, 2010

“Ten years after: counter-mapping and the Dayak lands in West Kalimantan, Indonesia”
By Albertus Hadi Pramono, Ita Natalia and Yohanes Janting

In mid 1990s the first exercise of counter-mapping took place in West Kalimantan in order to protect Dayak lands from land-grabbing industrial activities. By the end of 2004 more than 1 million hectares of Dayak lands were mapped, which is about a half of the total counter-mapped areas in the country. As a social movement which uses mapping technology, it is crucial to understand why counter-mapping grew rapidly in the province and what it achieves to date. While recognizing the advantages of counter-mapping in empowering Dayak peoples and protecting their lands, in a recent evaluation proponents of this movement realized the problems created by the existing mapping approaches. Following a historical description of the movement in West Kalimantan, this paper explores the reasons of rapid expansion of movement in the province, the impacts of counter-mapping to customary institutions and practices, and the influence of the movement to natural resource management policies at the different scales.

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