Question the EIA

It’s 3 am and I’ve just about completed the first in this micro docs series. It’s in fact the second episode based on data I’d pulled from the Bengoh Dam Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).

It was curious to find a decent listing of protected species such as bats, but no mention what so ever of the pitcher plants we had seen along the track, some of which I’d shot and you’ll see in this series. Also, no mention of any primates. Monkeys are known to steal fruit from the Kampong gardens and farms. I’d also seen a long tail species, which I think is a protected primate (in fact all primates are entirely protected here) caged in one of the Kampongs. They’re often kept as pets, occasionally eaten, often scared off.

They’re known to show themselves when it’s rained. We didn’t see any in the wild, so to speak, but we were inundated (a word used throughout the EIA) with mighty downpours and wind.

The EIA is detailed to say the least, but that it overlooked significant flora and fauna was quite a surprise when for us amateurs, it was clearly evident that we were walking through one of the more remarkable landscapes in this part of the world.

Okay, some may argue that shifting cultivation has destroyed the pristine nature of the landscape, but shifting cultivation is generally considered sustainable because it moves around, where as forestry will remove the entire biomass leaving both flora and fauna in a tragic state to recover from.

Ornamental fern
Ornamental fern

Here’s one such species I found in Semban, the highest of the four Kampongs.

To our left, sprouting from a cocunut shell is a unique ornamental fern of the epiphytic Lycopodium family. It’s a threatened species and is not listed in the EIA!

Although hunted infrequently in the region, the EIA made no mention of wild boar. Check out this photo I’d taken of wild boar jaw bones hunted by the Headman of Kampong Tabu Sait.

There was no mention of deer, although low in numbers, one of the villagers mentioned they’re known in the region. And not a single lizard listed despite the fact I’d seen many during the trek and eaten a monitor lizard in Kampong Rejoi!

I’m pretty happy with Episode 2! The soundtrack grew from a piece I’d started writing on Seymore’s guitar in Kamping Rejoi. You have no idea how pleased I was to see that instrument in Seymore’s house when we arrived and found we were staying there. Seymore and his wife are two of the loveliest people… He’s the local parishioner as well as the regions master bamboo bridge builder. And he plays guitar.

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