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Malaysia

Long Liam Village

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Conservation benefit: Protection of 524-acre riparian forest reserve for 15 years

Community benefit: Micro-hydro electricity generating system

Date Approved: 02.2018

Energy

This project promotes sustainable energy production, helping reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and slowing global warming.

Forest

This project protects forest, preventing the release of greenhouse gases and reducing erosion that damages coastal and ocean ecosystems.

The village of Long Liam sits in the “Heart of Borneo,” an area in the center of the island where rainforests are for the most part intact. These forests are some of the world’s most diverse; Borneo has about 10 times more tree species than does all of Europe. The forests are home to 10 primate species, more than 350 bird species, and 150 kinds of reptiles and amphibians. The Baram River basin, where Long Liam is located, has bearded pigs, the endemic Hose’s palm civet, and a newly discovered color-changing frog, among other distinctive species.

The community will conserve 524 acres of this invaluable forest. This will keep it from being cleared for timber or oil palm plantations. Just across the Baram River from Long Liam, both legal and illegal logging have recently increased. The community, however, has experience in protecting its forest. In 2009, the government announced plans to build an enormous dam on the Baram River, which would have flooded huge tracts of forest. Long Liam community members joined the fight against it, and the government put the plans on hold in 2015.

Long Liam is a traditional long house community. Its 200 residents, members of the indigenous Kayan subgroup, live in a single long structure—essentially, a horizontal apartment building. There is a room for each family. With a Seacology grant, the community will install a micro-hydro system to produce electricity. Families now rely on diesel generators, which are noisy, expensive, and spew pollutants into the air.

With rapidly flowing rivers and modest demands for electricity, the villages of Borneo are ideal for environmentally friendly micro-hydro projects. Seacology has already funded successful micro-hydro installations in Malaysia. The regional effort is led by Adrian (Banie) Lasimbang, who received the Seacology Prize in 2004. This project received guidance or funding from SAVE Rivers, TONIBUNG, the Bruno Manser Fund, and Green Empowerment as well as Seacology.

Project Updates

February 2019

Community members and representatives from organizations that helped with this project held a ceremony in January to mark the completion of the micro-hydro installation and commit to protection of the watershed. Villagers put up signs at the boundaries of the protected area, warning that it is off-limits to logging. They have also reached out to the Sarawak Forestry and Land Survey Departments, to try to get the state of Sarawak to recognize the protected forest as a conservation area.

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December 2018

Mapping of the forest reserve has been completed, and a watershed protection protocol is being drafted. Working with our nonprofit partner, community members built a powerhouse, installed all of the micro-hydro components, and connected cables to the long house. An opening ceremony is scheduled for January 12, 2019.

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May 2018

There is already good progress on this project, thanks in part to strong leadership of the community’s micro-hydro power committee and community enthusiasm about both the power and watershed conservation parts of the project. Mapping of the forest reserve has begun. Community members have been holding communal work efforts (gotong royong) every other week, six days a week. The pipes were transported to the project site by boat and are being hand-carried by the community members up to the forebay/intake area. The micro-hydro system components, including the turbine, have also been brought to Long Liam and are ready for installation.

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