The Pangajid Indigenous Forest covers 494 acres (200 hectares) on the island of Borneo, six hours from the Malaysian border. It is rich in tree species listed as vulnerable by the IUCN, including the endemic tengkawang tree and highly sought-after ironwood. Birds, deer, and monkeys flourish there.
The region’s indigenous inhabitants face outside pressure to develop the land with logging, mining, or plantation concessions. Seacology is funding a project that will help them instead make a sustainable living by harvesting and processing tengkawang nuts. The oil from these nuts is used for cooking, soap, and cosmetics. It is valuable because it is an alternative to palm oil. Selling the oil is much more profitable than selling raw nuts, and waste from the processing is food for chickens and pigs.
The traditional method of processing the nuts for their oil, however, is labor-intensive and time-consuming. In cooperation with Pontianak Urban Forest, Seacology is providing funds to buy an oil-processing machine and to build a cottage that will house it and provide community meeting space. In return, the community will patrol and protect a 247-acre (100-hectare) parcel of the Pangajid Indigenous Forest for 10 years.