Changing Place: Palm Oil and Sense of Place in Borneo

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Issue: Volume 6, Issue 2, 2012


The conservation of tropical ecosystems is complex and contested, not least in terms of cultural and political perspectives between developed and developing nations (Bawa & Seidler, 1998; Colchester, 2000; Brosius & Hitchner, 2010). In Sabah, on the island of Borneo, Malaysia much of the forest has recently been converted to oil palm plantations. The plantations cover vast areas and leave relatively little space for native flora and fauna. Whilst efforts are underway to enhance biodiversity within the plantations, there is no clear consensus as to how this might best be achieved and this has led in part to divisions opening up amongst stakeholders (Othman & Ameer, 2009). A range of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working within Sabah endeavour to conserve threatened biodiversity; at the Governmental level there are significant drivers for development and economic stability; while the plantation owners are trying to improve their yields and increase their global market. There is also increasing consumer pressure in Europe and North America linked to concerns about the survival of iconic rainforest species such as orang-utans. This paper considers these issues within a context of globalisation and profound economic and social change within Malaysia.

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Authors Affiliations

Ellie Lindsay(a), Ian Convery(*a), Andrew Ramsey(a), Eunice Simmons(b)
(a) University of Cumbria, Centre for Wildlife Conservation, Cumbria, United Kingdom
(b) National School of Forestry, United Kingdom
*Corresponding author. Email:


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Prof. dr. Liliana Dumitrache
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

Dr. Daniela Dumbrăveanu
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

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