Twenty-four years ago, loggers holding government concessions began cutting down a jungle on the swampy southern fringe of Kalimantan—the Indonesian part of the south-pacific island of Borneo—supposedly to make room for rice paddies for feeding the populous country. Nobody predicted the chain of disastrous events that happened next. The huge development project robbed indigenous people of their land and livelihood. It turned tracts of rare jungle habitat into vast plantations of oil palm and acacia trees. And then it set in motion an environmental catastrophe of global dimensions. Indonesia is still trying to set things right. And some of the solutions are making life for the rural farmers and fishermen of Kalimantan even worse off.
Support for this reporting was made possible by the Rainforest Journalism Fund, in association with the Pulitzer Center.