ECO-SEA: The Ethnobotanical Conservation Organization for South East Asia
Tado Cultural Ecology Conservation Project
Annual Report 2000
Tado Community Research Center (PPD)

The Tado Community Research Center, or Pusat Penelitian Desa Masyarakat Tado (PPD) was inaugurated on May 27th, 2000 by Tado elders, village officials and local community representatives. Senior women greeted the elders with sirih-pinang (betelnut quids), and Tua Golo Yohanes Jehabu led the group in a traditional prayer. Following brief speeches by Tua Golo (ancestral head of the Tado Clan), the head of Golo Leleng village, Ambrosius Ganggung, and ECO-SEA director Jeanine Pfeiffer, community members were given a tour of the Research Center along with demonstrations of ongoing projects. After spending the previous night and morning cooking, a team of over a dozen women served lunch to approximately one hundred guests. The Research Center contains two workstations, a resource library, supplies cabinet, an ethnobotanical museum, an outdoor cooking hut and a rest area.

Cooperative Agreement

Following a series of meetings with community leaders in May (at the Village Office in Kotatado) and June (at Tua Golo's home in Pusut) to comment on the draft agreement, on Saturday, September 23rd, 2000, PPD staff hosted the Tado community leaders [12 tua mukang (settlement elders), 9 tua batu ciok (ancestral land elders) and tua golo beo tado (traditional leader of the Tado) and the village heads of Desa Nampar Macing and Desa Golo Leleng] for a special lunch at the Research Center in order to effect a signing of the Janjian Kerjasama (Cooperative Agreement) between Masyarakat Tado (the Tado Community) and ECO-SEA. The Cooperative Agreement emphasizes the joint responsibility of both parties to adhere to the 1993 Principles and Guidelines (Annex A) of the Working Group on Indigenous Knowledge Rights and the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity by agreeing to undertake all research, training and publications jointly, to honor and conserve Tado traditions and natural resources, and to refrain from disseminating Tado indigenous knowledge without the express permission of the Tado Community at large. The Cooperative Agreement formalizes ECO-SEA’s donation of the Research Center to the Tado Community, with the understanding that ECO-SEA has the right to use the Center for the duration of the research.

Field Associate Recruitment

To date sixteen Tado field associates (6 women and 10 men), recruited from 7 of the 12 Tado settlements, have been trained in ethnoecological field research methods. Staff recruitment has not discriminated on the basis of gender, age, religion, educational background, social class or political or sexual orientation. Tado field associates range in age from 19 to 48 years old. All the staff members are farmers, two staff members also serve as settlement administrators, two have been employed professionally as agricultural insurance agents, two work in carpentry and brick laying, three of the staff are members of Kempo Manggarai singing groups (one is a composer of traditional songs), and two of the staff are experienced caci (whip dance) performers. Three staff members finished elementary school, while the rest have high school diplomas.

Research Associate Training and Administration

In addition to applied field training in qualitative and quantitative data collection and processing, a Sub-Team for Herbarium Collections has been established, and two field associates (Yeremias Uril and Aloysius Sta Belamo) were sent to the Bali Botanic Gardens for special training in herbarium specimen and ethnobotanical artifact collection and curation. Upon their return, Yeremias trained three other staff members (Kanisius Jehalu, Adolphus Wanggur and Agustinus Angkol) in the same methods, and Aloysius assisted with developing the new ethnobotanical museum, which at present has a dozen handicrafts. Sisilia Nisa and Bernadeta assisted Jeanine in Mataram with qualitative ethnobotanical data entry.

Research associates began management of the Research Center on their own as of mid-September 2000. Staff members are learning to type, make phone calls at public wartel, undertake photodocumentation, and coordinate meetings. Agus Angkol has been appointed treasurer and accountant, and is in charge of dispersals and maintaining an interim budget of approximately Rp 500,000 per month. Yeremias and Hendrikus are jointly in charge of reports and telecommunications, and PPD staff completed their first set of written reports on September 25th. Staff have phone conferences with Jeanine 1-2 times per month while she is still in Indonesia. As of January 2001 all communications will be by fax or post, until Irene Wibawa is able to visit the field site in March 2001.

Ethnobotanical Field Research

Field research on ethnobotanical uses of edible native fruits has expanded to include all known ethnobotanically useful plants, at the request of community members – especially the women – who noted the importance of recording plant taxa which had medicinal value even if their fruits were inedible. Qualitative data has been collected on over 300 taxa: edible native fruit trees, wild-harvested flora and medicinal plants. Versions 1.0 and 2.0 reporting the results of ethnobotanical data collected on edible native fruit taxa were distributed to all 12 settlements, and the community has responded with revisions and additions which are being incorporated in Version 3.0. A Medicinal Knowledge Sub-Team, composed of four PPD staff, is documenting naturopathic remedies and collecting plant specimens to aid in assigning botanical nomenclature to local names for the medicinal plants.

Directed interviews with tua mukang, tua batu ciok, tua golo beo tado, and several dozen community elders have resulted in the first drafts of cultural and historical narratives in Bahasa Indonesia and Kempo Manggarai on traditional ethnobotanical practices such as preparing spirit offerings, assembling palmrib-oil nut candle-lamps, weaving mats and baskets, tapping palm wine, making palm sugar, and crafting clay pots. Illustrated English versions of these narratives have also been published. Historical accounts of the Tado genealogy, the origin of Tado's ancestral leadership structure, the establishment of the 12 Tado settlements, early living and farming conditions, and legends of pre-Tado ancestors were recorded; and the first drafts of verbal accounts of life cycle rituals (birth, marriage, death) were completed.

Research into Tado ethnoecology has resulted in defining twenty folk classifications for the surrounding ecosystems, a tentative listing of vertebrate plant dispersal agents, and limited entomological data.

Interpretive Materials

Posters describing field research activities line the walls of the Research Center, and a brochure in Bahasa Indonesia on the PPD, its objectives and activities, was printed and distributed to all 570 Tado households. A trilingual (Kempo Manggarai, Bahasa Indonesia, English) illustrated booklet describing the ethnobotanical uses of a select twenty plant taxa will be printed and copies distributed throughout the 12 settlements in 2001.

Additional mini-Projects

At the request of Tua Golo, PPD staff undertook the enormous task of photographing all 570 Tado households to provide a photographic record of the Tado Community in the year 2000 (as an accompaniment to the Indonesian Census 2000). Each of the households photographed was given the original negative and one print of the photo, and additional prints were placed in photo albums divided by settlement. All but a few dozen households in Kotatado, Nampar and Dahot settlements have been photographed.

Donations of instructional supplies to local schools has continued, with the University Research Expeditions Program participant donors providing the initial USD $1000 worth of books, maps, posters, writing and drawing materials, and sports equipment. Copies of ethnobotanical instructional sheets produced by ECO-SEA and booklets developed by the Bali Botanic Gardens were distributed to the three elementary schools (SDK-Pusut, SDI-Nampar, SDI-Kaca). Medical assistance was initially provided on a case-by-case basis by Dr. Haruyasu Yamaguchi of Gunma University (Japan), who later donated Rp 1 million to the Tado community to set up a health fund. Of that fund, Rp 400,000 was expended on basic pharmaceuticals (to augment the insufficient supplies of the local health clinic [Puskesmas]) and the remainder set aside to cover hospitalization costs for expectant mothers.


The Research Center, valued at USD $2500, is built of woven bamboo walls, alang-alang thatch roof, with a concrete floor and wooden doors and windows. The cooking hut, located behind the center, is made of bamboo slats with a thatch roof. A solar panel was donated by PT Len Industri of Bandung. ECO-SEA donated USD $1800 worth of research materials, including several dozen texts, specimen collection equipment, a typewriter, Apple Macintosh 5300 Powerbook, an Olympus camera, assorted office supplies and all the PPD furnishings. Construction, equipment and training funds were provided by proceeds from ECO-SEA private fundraisers, the 1999 University Research Expeditions Program, and Jeanine's Fulbright Research Award. Research associates are not salaried, but they are paid an honorarium, which is also derived from the previously mentioned sources. Funds for constructing plant specimen presses and for training the staff in herbarium collection and curation were provided by the Davis Botanical Society.