The Punan Batu Benau community is a small community, administratively located in RT 11 Sajau Village, Tanjung Palas District, Bulungan Regency, North Kalimantan Province. They live along the banks of the upper reaches of the Sajau River and the forests around Mount Benau. Their main residential location is in cave burrows scattered in the forest area of Mount Benau. The number of members of this community is 35 families with 106 people.
The Punan Batu community has had a tradition of using forest resource since their ancestor times until now. Almost all of their life activities are very dependent on the existence of the forest. They still occupy cave burrows as a place to live, although for a while they were seen living in tarpaulin tents on the banks of the Sajau River. Their daily life activity is exploring the forest area of Mount Benau in search of food sources.
The existence of this community is increasingly threatened due to its increasingly narrow territory. The activity of clearing forest land for plantations is one of the threats to their existence.
For this, Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) supports the efforts of the government of Bulungan Regency, North Kalimantan to recognize Punan Batu as indigenous people. On June 2, 2023, the Regent of Bulungan, Syarwani MSi, symbolically handed over the official recognition document to representatives of Punan Batu elders.
This recognition is the foundation for them to gain their rights for future forest and natural resources management in this location.