Biodi­ver­sity conservation

The world is curr­ently expe­ri­en­cing the grea­test extinc­tion of species since the disap­pearance of the dino­saurs. The conse­quences are dramatic not only for the flora and the fauna, but also for us humans. The loss of biodi­ver­sity is desta­bi­li­sing our ecosystem, acce­le­ra­ting climate change, and driving the spread of dise­ases. We are expe­ri­en­cing it first­hand right now. But one thing is certain: preser­ving the diver­sity of the world’s animals and plants and protec­ting their habi­tats is a century-long task that we can only accom­plish together.

The oran­gutan as an umbrella species


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Climate change, defo­re­sta­tion of rain­fo­rests, and the relent­less global popu­la­tion growth have taken a toll on our closest animal relatives—the great apes, inclu­ding oran­gutans, chim­pan­zees, bonobos, and gorillas. Their habi­tats have drama­ti­cally shrunk in the past two decades, leading to a dire decline in their popu­la­tions. Compoun­ding this issue is the rampant illegal wild­life trade, which victi­mizes millions of protected animals world­wide each year. The survival of these great apes hangs in the balance.

Diverse vege­ta­tion in the rainforest

Wild female oran­gutan in the rainforest

Species conser­va­tion should be a para­mount concern on both poli­tical and social agendas. Safe­guar­ding biodi­ver­sity is an enormous under­ta­king, and BOS is actively engaged in two distinct projects aimed at ensu­ring the sustainable protec­tion of Borneo’s rich biodiversity.

Refo­re­sta­tion projects

Wild­life corridor

In Sabah, Borneo, rain­fo­rests have been destroyed for palm oil plan­ta­tions, putting wild­life like banteng, pygmy elephants, oran­gutans and many rare birds species in grave danger. We are crea­ting a wild­life corridor to allow these animals to freely move between two protected areas.


The peat­land­fo­rest of Mawas

The peat swamp area of Mawas in the Indo­ne­sian part of Borneo was once the home of wild oran­gutans and hundreds of other animal species. Then, it was parti­ally destroyed in the 90es by the so a big agri­cul­tural project. Now, we are crea­ting new rain­fo­rest here, giving the oran­gutans their home back.

A Life­line for Wild­life: Crea­ting a Corridor

We are trans­forming plan­ta­tions back into rainforests.

The habitat of the oran­gutan and many other rare species is dying, and with it, these unique crea­tures. Every day, vast areas of rain­fo­rest are destroyed for oil palm culti­va­tion. In Sabah, Borneo, we are now rever­sing this trend. We purchase palm oil plan­ta­tions and convert them back into thri­ving rainforests.

Frequently asked questions

What is meant by species conservation?

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Species conser­va­tion means preser­ving the world’s biodi­ver­sity of animals and plants and conser­ving their habi­tats. All of this requires concrete measures at the sub-national, national, regional and local levels, which are usually regu­lated by laws, regu­la­tions, guide­lines and agree­ments. The measures are enforced by corre­spon­ding orga­ni­sa­tions and initiatives.

Which animals are most threa­tened with extinction?

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The global envi­ron­mental orga­ni­sa­tion IUCN (Inter­na­tional Union for Conser­va­tion of Nature) regu­larly publishes the “Red List” of animal and plant species threa­tened with extinc­tion world­wide. The list serves as a guide for actions regar­ding the protec­tion of species, nature and the envi­ron­ment world­wide. The IUCN curr­ently esti­mates that more than 37,400 species are threa­tened with extinc­tion. Amphi­bians top the list at 41 percent, with mammals second at 26 percent. Sunce 2016 the Bornean oran­gutan has been clas­si­fied as a criti­cally endan­gered species.

What does it mean when an animal is clas­si­fied as a protected species?

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If an animal is protected as a species, it is illegal to hunt or capture it.

What threa­tens species conser­va­tion in Indonesia?

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The destruc­tion, frag­men­ta­tion, and loss of natural habi­tats have imme­diate effects on species diver­sity: flora and fauna in tropical forests are disap­pearing, habi­tats are shrin­king, and there is a lack of refuge for animals. Further­more, human-induced climate change is acce­le­ra­ting the pace of natural climate change to an alar­ming degree. Many species are over­whelmed by the changes in ecosys­tems and cannot adapt quickly enough.

In a direct and cruel manner, the wild­life trade also contri­butes to the disap­pearance of species: the smugg­ling of wild animals is a billion-dollar industry. Exotic animals are kept as pets, consumed as food, or processed for medi­cine. This illegal trade not only contri­butes to species extinc­tion but also poses a signi­fi­cant threat to humans, as we have expe­ri­enced first­hand through the COVID-19 pandemic. All of this repres­ents an immense threat to biodiversity.

How can we protect the genetic diver­sity of species?

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Every year, well over a million hectares of rain­fo­rest are destroyed in Borneo, mainly in order to culti­vate oil palms. The resul­ting mono­cul­tures are redu­cing biodi­ver­sity to an alar­ming extent: they endanger animal species living here, such as oran­gutans, pygmy elephants or bantengs, as in addi­tion to redu­cing the food supply they also frag­ment form­erly connected habi­tats. For many animals, crossing plan­ta­tions in search of food and getting too close to humans ends in their death. Yet, prima­rily the problem is a long-term one: as a result of habitat frag­men­ta­tion, animals remain only in their original group, causing the gene pool to conti­nuously shrink. This is one of the main reasons for species extinc­tion. After all, higher biodi­ver­sity produces more robust species that can better adapt to the effects of climate change or dise­ases. Ther­e­fore, in addi­tion to protec­ting remai­ning natural land­scapes and their wild­life popu­la­tions, the connec­ti­vity of habi­tats in parti­cular is a key measure for preser­ving biodiversity.

What is the diffe­rence between species protec­tion and nature conservation?

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Species conser­va­tion is a part of nature conser­va­tion and is concerned with the protec­tion of habi­tats in addi­tion to the protec­tion of indi­vi­dual species. Species conser­va­tion aims to preserve the species. Nature conser­va­tion focuses on the ecosystem as a whole.