West Bali, The Border of Cultivation

Culture | Written By, Bruce Granquist |

If you travel west of Seririt the landscape changes quickly. Except for one road and some scattered villages this is undeveloped land. Contained in this area is a protected forest called the West Bali National Forest. This forest has been left undeveloped, although there are persistent rumours of illegal logging here.

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There is a stark contrast between the cultivated and uncultivated areas, as can be seen in the aerial view to the left. On the southwestern part of Bali the Balian river separates the east from the west. The eastern side is fully cultivated and the western side has been more or less left alone. The Balan river marks this transition, it looks like two different islands have been stuck together at this point.

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It is not easy to get into the National Park, if you are found there by a government official you will be asked to show your entrance permit. This area is most easily seen by driving around the perimeter and looking into the dense vegetation. There are massive trees emerging from the mass of smaller ones showing every conceivable shade of green. This is an area that seems to be undeveloped, but it is better to say that it has ‘self-developed’ and grown according to its own logic of interconnected systems of balance and exchange. It would require a book itself to unravel the complexity of this eco system, so for the purposes of this article it will be left as a mystery, seen only as a glimpse from the outside.

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Bruce Granquist

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