Young Batek Negrito man on a new logging road that cuts into the forest along the Taman Negara National Park boundary to prepare to log right up to the edge of the park next to Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia.  2010  The Batek use this road to get to a riverside settlement of semi-nomads on a tributary to the Lebir River.  Almost all the land north of the park, their traditional homeland, has been clear cut and converted to oil palm cultivation.  Most of us cannot go a single day without using palm oil because it is an ingredient in baked goods, cosmetics, cooking oil, bio-fuel, shampoo. ice cream and on and on.
 Papan (L) and Dolah (R), Batek Negrito men overshadowed by towering primary rainforest crowding a muddy logging road in the core of their homeland just outside Taman Negara National Park, which will offer loggers access to giant trees of this virgin forest which they will cut down for profit.  Near Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia.  2011
 Palms in the undercanopy of the rainforest in Taman Negara National Park, 434,300 hectares (4,343 sq. km / 1,676 sq. miles) of protected 130 million year old primary rainforest that supports tigers, sumatran rhinoceros, Asian elephants, Malaysian gaur (wild bovine), tapir, gibbons, monkeys totaling over 200 species of terrestrial animals, over 300 species of birds and over 1,000 species of butterfly.  Malaysia's dwindling rainforests are home to over 14,500 species of flowering plants and trees.  2010
 Batek Negrito women rest beside a muddy logging road in the heart of the Batek Negrito homeland that had been surveyed and marked for logging in the last, very narrow strip of old growth rainforest that still existed sandwiched between Taman Negara National Park and massive oil palm plantations.  All the land here less than a generation ago, had also been old growth rainforest and the homeland of the Batek.  Near Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia.  2011  Now this parcel of rainforest has also been clear cut and terraced in preparation for a new oil palm plantation converting the most diverse ecosystem on the planet, a carbon sink absorbing greehouse gases, into a monoculture cash crop wasteland devoid of the wildlife upon which the Batek depend for sustenance.     
 Wary-eyed, almost elfin Batek Negrito beauty of a new mother holding her newborn child, just days old in the 130 million year old rainforest in which he was born.   Near Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia.  2010  The Batek Negritos, like many forest dwelling people, can be quite aloof in the presence of strangers from outside the forest.  This is a typical Batek Negrito settlement, who live in temporary, rudimentary shelters that are easily abandoned, except that polyethylene sheeting has largely replaced palm thatch and cotton clothing has replaced clothing from plant materials.  
 Last nail in rainforest's coffin: First the rainforest was likely "selectively" logged once or even several times, then clear-cut, and finally oil palm was planted on the bare ground.  Finally a major road is cut, clearly designating the land for permanent development.  North of Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia.  Batek Negritos used to live in the forest here.  2010
 Batek Negrito boy swims in the pure waters of a stream that comes out of the old growth rainforest of Taman Negara National Park, a protected forest almost completely surrounded by oil palm plantations.  Near Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia.  2010
 Debris litters grounds at an unfinished brick housing built at a government-funded settlement built to lure the Batek Negrito people out of the rainforest and assimilate into the mainstream cash economy outside the entrance to Taman Negara National Park. The government has tried now for several generations and failed to achieve this. Batek who work outside on the cash economy use this settlement as a bedroom community but inevitably return to the cooler rainforest at the first opportunity.  Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia.  2011
 Open-air shower already squalid six months after its installation at the settlement built by the government to lure the Batek Negrito people out of the rainforest and assimilate into the mainstream cash economy outside the entrance to Taman Negara National Park.  Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia. 2011
 Papan navigates from the bow of a bamboo raft that Batek Negrito on the spot in the forest when fishing to avoid a long walk back to their settlement down the Sungai (River) Pertang.  Near Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia.  2011  Silt from the muddy logging road built to extract the biggest trees in this sliver of old growth rainforest is already clouding this clear river.
 A logging camp in northern Peninsular Malaysia on the edge of the homeland of the Batek Negrito people, which is the first step on the conversion from old growth rainforest to oil palm plantations.  Manik Urai, Kelantan, Malaysia. 2010
 Palm oil processing plant where the rainforest once stood where the Batek Negritos lived, north of Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia.  2010  The rainforest must be clear-cut before oil palm can be planted.  Oil palm plantations are impoverished "green deserts". 
 Young female Batek Negrito students all wear "hijab" Muslim headscarves on the campus of the regional boarding school built by the Malaysian government specifically for the Batek at Post Lebir.  The Malay teaching staff claim that the girls have all chosen to wear the hijab because they have all converted to Islam from the indigenous Batek animimism.  Batek residents in Post Lebir disagree with that assessment.  There is a high drop out rate among the Batek in large part because long separation from families in a culture that largely lacks motor transportation is rare, leaving the children particularly ill-prepared for leaving for months on end.  Near Manek Urai, Kelantan, Malaysia.  2010
 Batek Negrito man hitches ride on the back of a motor bike along a dusty highway that runs through vast oil palm plantations, that used to be the hunting and gathering grounds of the Batek, to the main highway between Gua Musang and Kota Bharu.  Kelantan, Malaysia.
 Several generations of an extended Batek Negrito family shelter from the rain in a typical structure built along a muddy logging road built to transport out the last sliver of old growth forest sandwiched between expansive oil palm plantations on one side and Taman Negara National Park on the other.  This spot has been clear-cut and the headquarters of an oil palm plantation have been set up on this plot.  Near Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia.  2011
 Clear cut forest that has been planted with oil palms on the FELDA plantation, a former government-owned venture to stimulate the economy in the interior.   The Batek Negritos are the losers hear as they used to live in the old growth forest that used to grow here.  North of Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia. 
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