The village of Long Tanid sought Seacology’s support to complete a 12-kilowatt micro-hydro installation to power a community rice milling enterprise. The community has agreed to protect more than a thousand acres of pristine Borneo forest for 15 years.
Long Tanid is a rice farming community in the remote highlands of Borneo. The villagers are members of the Lun Bawang ethnic group, an indigenous minority. The men are famous for their traditional tree bark jackets. The organic rice grown there is renowned for its high nutrient content, but because of poor access to markets, most of the rice grown is for subsistence.
Installing a community-based micro-hydro system helps the community fulfill its dream of forming a rice-milling co-operative. Energy from a micro-hydro system is 80% cheaper than electricity from a diesel generator. And because micro-hydro makes use of the rivers that course down Borneo’s mountains, without disturbing them or the surrounding forest, it is much more environmentally sound.
The conservation area is old-growth hardwood rainforest. The region is a biodiversity hotspot, with 130 species of orchids, 40 species of ginger, and the greatest variety of rhododendrons in Borneo. There are an estimated 250 bird species, including hornbills, as well as pangolins, gibbons, red langurs, Hose’s leaf monkeys, bearded pigs, and Malayan porcupines. Conserving the area will not only save the habitat of these and other creatures, but also reduce erosion, siltation, water scarcity in the dry season, and floods in the rainy season.
Like most communities in Borneo, Long Tanid is under constant pressure from timber and oil palm interests; there is a large logging concession nearby. Setting aside the forest for conservation helps the community resist this pressure.
Our partner is Green Empowerment, which has worked with Seacology on other successful Borneo micro-hydro projects and has collaborated with Seacology Prize recipient Adrian (Banie) Lasimbang for decades. These organizations are known for their community engagement and are almost entirely staffed by indigenous community engineers.