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Franco on Hornbills in Brunei

Assistant Professor and Deputy Director of IAS Merlin Franco gave a talk on 19 August 2019 to the Brunei Nature Society on “When the Seeds Sprout, the Hornbills Hatch: Traditional Ecological Knowledge of the Ibans on the Hornbills of Brunei.”

In this talk Dr. Franco shared some of the findings of a research project that he carried out together with his research assistant, Miss Misa Juliana Minggu, on the traditional ecological knowledge of members of the Iban people of the Temburong district in Brunei.

The full results of this research project have been accepted for publication and we will make an announcement when that publication is available.

The abstract of the talk is as follows:

Hornbills are known to play an important role as agents of seed dispersal in rainforests. Decades of scientific research has led to a vital body of knowledge on hornbill taxonomy, ecology, distribution and conservation status. However, the traditional knowledge (TK) of local people on hornbills have largely been underexplored. In 2018, we collaborated with the Iban people of Temburong, Brunei Darussalam to document their TK on hornbills. The results show that the Iban ethnotaxonomy recognizes seven folk species of hornbills, with Asian Black Hornbill (Anthracoceros malayanus) and Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) considered as a single folk species. The Iban TK on diet and reproductive behavior of hornbills match with scientific records, with the Iban TK being able to provide additional locale-specific information. The Iban TK identifies the various threats faced by the hornbill population, while also providing important information related to their distribution and abundance at the local level. The results of the study show that TK of local communities could be an important source of locale-specific knowledge on species of high conservation values such as the hornbills.