Livelihood Structure Transformation of Rural Communities: A Livelihood System Analysis of the Dayak Punan of Berau District, East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Dyah Ita Mardiyaningsih, Arya Hadi Dharmawan, Lala M Kolopaking, Muhammad Firdaus, Martin Reinhardt Nielsen


Forests are not only the main source of livelihood but are also at the centre of the culture of hunter-gatherer communities. Changing interaction with the outside world and increasing outside influence as well as reduced access to the forest has initiated a community livelihood systems transformation. Here we present a typology describing the level of transformation of Dayak Punan communities in Berau district in the East Kalimantan province of Indonesia. Based on a case study using a mixed methods approach in five communities we explore how hunter-gatherer communities slowly but surely are being transformed from nomadic to sedentary by external influences and circumstances and has become increasingly involved in the market economy and dependent on cash transactions. Resettlement, expansion of large-scale economic activity and community empowerment programs serves as driving external factors that replace high reliance on forest income with new cash-based livelihood opportunities. The livelihoods transformation provides hunter-gatherer communities access to higher material welfare but simultaneously increases economic inequality and reduces livelihoods resilience to shocks.

Keywords: Dayak Punan, hunter-gatherers, livelihood structures, cultural ecology, rural livelihood system dilemma.


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