Trip to Nanga Keduai
12 March 2020

Nanga Keduai Forest Hamlet, Parang Village, Putussibau, is one of the hornbill research sites by the Indonesian Hornbill Conservation Society team. We have found many interesting things in the Nanga Keduai Forest Hamlet, especially those that are closely related to noble values ??and local wisdom.

Entering the forest of Nanga Keduai, we were accompanied by nine young men who were on duty for logistical purposes as well as helping us during the survey. It turned out that most of them have never entered the forest before. This became their first time experiencing the forest in their own village.

The forest ecosystem in the Nanga Keduai is in the form of peat-shelled forests. There are not many large trees and banyan trees in kerangas forest. Yet, Nephentes are abundant there. There, we only encountered a few interesting animals. One of them is gibbon that has made noises since 4 am and thus has become an alarm for us researchers.

Arriving in the forest, the nine young men who accompanied us immediately rushed to make a camp with wood. They built a camp with a stretcher-shaped bed with a base made of sacks. These young men were very diligent and deft. They make dish racks, shoe racks, logistical shelves, and even room for women to change clothes. This was our most luxurious camp for ten days during our survey in Nanga Keduai. They even gathered dry firewood for cooking. All that was available made us more comfortable.

The youths told stories about local wisdom and norms that must be obeyed when entering the forest. They said that when we enter the forest, we have to put moss on our faces or skin. This was done so we would smell like moss so that no spirits disturb us during the research process.

When it rains, Nanga Keduai residents believe that ghosts come out of the forest to hunt. We are encouraged to tuck leaves inside our ears or under our hats so we are seen as humans. Without the leaves, the ghosts would think of us as animals and we can even become their prey.

In the forest, we found unique plants. Most of them are Nepenthaceae. There are several species that we found there, including Nepenthes rafflesiana, Nepenthes hirsuta, Nepenthes ampullaria, Nepenthes albomarginata. Nepenthes are common in highland areas that are nutrient-poor, especially lacking in nitrogen, such as peat soils, limestone soils, and swamps.

After conducting the expedition, this forest turned out to be uninhabitable by hornbills because the availability of feed trees and nest trees is low. When it was time for us to get out of the forest, the sound of motorbikes passing was unfamiliarly heard. When we were crossing in front of junior high school, the students cheered the moment they saw us passing with a shabby look with a lot of luggage. In fact, residents who live on the roadside were very impressed to see our arrival and we had a meal together before our departure.

Written by Hardiyanti
Edited  by Mutiara Imanda Yusuf & Elsia Starina Yuanti