Siberut Island, part of the Mentawai archipelago in western Indonesia, is recognized as a U.N. Biosphere Reserve due to its outstanding cultural and ecological value.The traditions of the indigenous Mentawai people, including agroforestry and customary land tenure, have allowed the people of the island live off the forest without depleting it.Roughly half of the island is protected as a national park. The rest, however, has been parceled out for timber and biomass plantations, road building, and the development of a special economic zone including a yacht marina and luxury resort. DOROGOT, Indonesia — Toikot rises as the golden light of dawn begins to shine on the heavy mist that cloaks the rainforest canopy outside his home in Indonesia’s Siberut Island. The pigs leave their sleeping place under his traditional uma clan house and set out to forage in the forest. Later they will return to the farmstead to eat sago. An elderly indigenous Mentawai traditional healer, or sekerei, Toikot’s first task of the day is to gather “something beautiful from nature” with which to adorn himself. Today he plucks two red flowers and places one behind each ear. A loincloth, elaborate tattoos and headdress complete the distinctive customary dress for which the sekerei are known. Toikot’s home, the farming community of Dorogot, is a cluster of forest farmsteads on the eastern side of Siberut, around three hours’ walk from the nearest village, mostly through arduous lowland swamp forest. Siberut is the largest island in the Mentawai archipelago, which lies 140 kilometers (87 miles) west of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The rainforest-swathed island has been isolated from the rest of Indonesia for half a million years, leading to an unusually high level of endemism. Two-thirds of the animals here are thought to be unique to the island. This unique biological and cultural diversity was recognized in 1981 when UNESCO designated the island a Biosphere Reserve. This was consolidated in 1993 when Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry established Siberut National Park, spanning 1,905 square kilometers (736 square miles) and covering most of the island’s western half. Now, though, both Siberut’s traditional lifestyles and its biodiversity are under pressure from a spate of development projects. While the western half of the island is largely protected, the northeast is already home to a sizable timber concession and a biomass forestry concession. The central government also has big plans to develop a special economic zone in the south, and a highway linking it to the forest concessions in the north. The local government and a private company also plan to bring electricity to villages via a biomass project.