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Entries in Rattan (27)


Tool Repair

The handle on Naw Aung's (see Naw Aung and His Sagawa) machete cracked while laying out the baseline of the management area in Shinlonga (see The Last Stake). Probably from over use. He repaired it in the field using the local rattan, pyant kyein (Calamus nambariensis Becc.). Wonderful to watch this. First he split the cane and shaved it down to the appropriate size.  Then he wove a ring, which he slipped over the cracked handle and then pounded into place to close the crack using another piece of rattan as a buffer. He finished the job by weaving a beautiful rattan sleeve around the handle. The machete was back in use clearing line the next day.


Which Rattan is That?

Dr. Ninh Khac Ban shows workshop participants how to identify "may sap" (Calamus dioicus), one of at least 20 local rattans at the Song Thanh Nature Reserve in Vietnam.  After learning how to identify the species, we will head into the forest to inventory wild populations of rattan. I doubt that everyone will look as fresh and neat in the transect photos. [NOTE: Posted from an internet cafe in Thanh My].  


Rattan Workshop

The rattan workshop starts tomorrow (see Song Thanh N.R.).  I love the sign they printed up.  And the fact that they hung it right next to the bust of Ho Chi Minh, the hammer and sickle, and the Vietnamese star.  This spiny forest resource may finally be getting the attention it deserves...  


Kon Tum

Truong Son range in the Kon Tum province of Central Vietnam near the borders of Lao PDR and Cambodia. Andrew Henderson and I have been visiting some of the protected areas in the region to collect and inventory rattans. Steep slopes, a few leeches, and lots and lots of rattan.  Some of them, apparently, new species to science.

Mr. Biu Van Thanh, our local counterpart, has been a great help and wonderful company. He is shown below pressing a plant collection. [NOTE: The specimens are first pressed in newspaper in the field, and then bundled in a large plastic bag and doused with alcohol to preserve them once we get back to town].




Nice Dayak lady from a small village in the Sanggau district of West Kalimantan sitting on the front porch of her house with an assortment of rattan baskets.  She was getting ready to go work in her rice field, which prompted me to comment on how stylishly she was dressed.  She agreed to let me take a picture after I said that. [NOTE: The red tinge on her lips is betel nut (Areca catechu), not lipstick.]



A lot of rattan harvested in the Danau Sentarum National Park (see Danau Sentarum) is used for lashing logs together to float them downriver to the sawmill.  Several "floater" logs are lashed to "sinker" logs until a bam of 20 logs is formed. Twenty bam are then lashed together to make a raft of 400 logs.  I was always curious about how much rattan this took, so the next time I saw a log raft floating through Danau Sentarum on its way to the Kapuas River, I motored over, hopped on, and did some counting.  The construction of one bam requires about 150 rattan canes; an entire raft needs 3000 canes.  Given that each cane is 6 meters long, every raft uses almost 18 kilometers of rattan.  This cordage is discarded once the logs arrive to Pontianak. [NOTE: The image above shows a mega-raft of 800 logs, i.e. two rafts lashed together].


Weaving a Trivet

During a rattan survey of Bach Ma National Park in Vietnam, our field assistant gave us a quick lesson in weaving useful household items out of rattan.  He made the whole trivet out of one rattan cane.  And he took it home after we finished for the day. [NOTE:  The other man in the clip is Dr. Ninh Khac Ban, a rattan specialist from the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources in Hanoi.]

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