Gender impact of oil palm plantations among indigenous peoples in Sarawak
An article from the recently launched book “Gender and Land Tenure in the context of Disaster in Asia”, examines the impact of changing land use and land tenure systems in Sarawak on human rights, livelihoods, and local gender practices. The article studies the Iban community of Kampong Lebor whose customary lands were cleared by companies to establish oil palm plantations. Authors Carol Yong and Wee Aik Pang, conclude that “Conversion of forests to oil palm plantations is regarded as a disaster given the importance of land for customary practices, food security and income-generating activities, and other fundamental rights of indigenous peoples.” This changing in people’s relationship to land has a stronger impact on women, who are primarily responsible for the well-being of the family and community, as they lose their access and control of specific forest resources that are sacred to spiritual activities, when such resources have degraded.
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