Rebuilding orangutan homes: Community-based, multi-sector, landscape-scale tropical peat swamp forest restoration

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Laura Graham1

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The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation’s (BOSF) vision is “the realization of Bornean orangutan and habitat conservation with the community’s participation”. BOSF Mawas Conservation Program, Central Kalimantan, works towards protecting a single hydrological peat-dome area – 309,000 hectares, which is the natural habitat of ~2,550 wild orangutans surrounded by 53 villages. Tropical peatland ecosystems have some of highest rates of degradation world-wide, through drainage, logging, fire, and land conversion to agriculture, oil-palm, and paper-pulp. Tropical peatland degradation results in the annual release of huge volumes of GHG, with devastating local air pollution. The Mawas area has suffered 50% forest cover loss since 1990. BOSF Mawas (established in 2002) has partnered with international peatland restoration efforts, increasing our knowledge capacity, technical expertise, and field activities: canal blocking (177 small canals blocked in 9 villages), community-based fire management (16 villages participated over 13 years), seedling nursery programs (established in 18 villages), reforestation and ANR activities (several hundred hectares), and annual landscape-scale environmental monitoring (120,000 ha peat, hydrology, vegetation, fuel and fire – 2010 to date). Nearer to villages, we priortise alternative livelihood development (programs established in 22 villages), and community empowerment and education (programs established in 8 villages). With this capacity and knowledge, we have designed a new project – ‘Rebuilding orangutan homes’, which prioritises holistic, integrative restoration efforts. Whilst BOSF’s ultimate goal is to ensure sustainable wild orangutan populations, we are aware that this cannot be achieved without applying an interdisciplinary, multi-sector, community-based, landscape-scale approach.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

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Society for Ecological Restoration