Monday, 19 January 2009

Buayan, Sabah, Malaysia

The landscapes around Buayan have a detailed story to tell about local peoples’ management of the environment. One of the most striking features is the patchiness of vegetation cover. Although ardent conservationists might regret the loss of forest, a more humanistic viewing reveals a mosaic of fields of rice ripening in the intermittent sunshine, great shafts of bamboo emerging from clumps of tropical trees and small clearings that are evidence of the previous years’ farming. The overall diversity of these landscapes, from field to forest, is higher than in the protected areas where access for local people is denied. An understanding of these anthropogenic landscapes – ones created by people – has led to a new trend in conservation that embraces cultural diversity and local ecological practices.

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