Growing Toge­ther: Our Refo­re­sta­tion Efforts in Action

Protec­ting tropical rain­fo­rests and refo­res­ting destroyed areas—this is how BOS secures the future of oran­gutans and many other animal and plant species on Borneo. Curr­ently, we are prima­rily working in two exten­sive refo­re­sta­tion areas: in our “Lebens­wald” project in Mawas, Indo­nesia, and in Sabah, Malaysia, where we are conver­ting an oil palm plan­ta­tion into a rainforest.

How it all began

The opening of BOS’s first oran­gutan reha­bi­li­ta­tion center, Samboja Lestari, in East Kali­mantan in 2001 marked the begin­ning of our initial refo­re­sta­tion project. Due to logging and fires, the 1,853-hectare area was reduced to nothing but a waste­land of grass and weeds. It all began here with the plan­ting of the first tree. Today, Samboja Lestari is surrounded by a thri­ving secon­dary forest, even though setbacks, such as those follo­wing the cata­stro­phic fires of 2015, occa­sio­nally occur, neces­si­ta­ting further refo­re­sta­tion efforts.

Samboja Lestari im Ost-Kalimantan vor der Aufforstung

The Samboja Lestari rescue center area before it was refo­rested in 2004

Samboja Lestari im Ost-Kalimantan nach der Aufforstung

The Samboja Lestari Oran­gutan Rescue Center After Reforestation

Plan­ting the Forest for Life: Join Our Green Journey

One of the most signi­fi­cant peat swamp forests in Indo­nesia is located in Mawas, Central Kali­mantan, cove­ring an area of appro­xi­m­ately 300,000 hectares. Home to over 2,500 animals, it boasts one of the largest wild oran­gutan popu­la­tions in Borneo. However, in recent decades, Mawas has expe­ri­enced exten­sive defo­re­sta­tion. In the 1990s, thou­sands of hectares of forest were cleared to make way for rice culti­va­tion, exten­sive drai­nage canals were excavated, and the peat swamp soil was desic­cated. This ambi­tious project, known as the ‘Mega Rice Project,’ ulti­m­ately failed, leaving a legacy of destruc­tion in its wake.

Bau von STaudämmen im Torfmoorgebiet Mawas

Dam Cons­truc­tion in Mawas Peat Swamp

Setzlinge in Boden

The Young Seed­lings Should Be Cautiously Maintained

Transport per Boot von Setzlingen zu den Aufforstungsflächen

The Seed­lings Are Trans­ported by Boat from the Nursery to the Plan­ting Area

One of the long­stan­ding conse­quences of the drai­nage canals is their role in provi­ding easy access to the exis­ting forest for loggers. These canals were, and still are, utilized for syste­matic illegal forest clea­ring and the trans­por­ta­tion of logs.

BOS (Borneo Oran­gutan Survival) is taking action by blocking the canals, wetting the peat swamp, and initia­ting the resto­ra­tion of the rain­fo­rest. This monu­mental task is being carried out step by step. In colla­bo­ra­tion with local commu­ni­ties, we are estab­li­shing new habi­tats here—for animals, plants, and people alike. A new forest fpr life is gradu­ally taking shape.

Trans­forming Palm Oil Plan­ta­tions into Flou­ris­hing Rainforests

In Sabah, the Malay­sian part of Borneo, we are colla­bo­ra­ting with our partner Rhino and Forest Fund (RFF) on a scien­tific pilot project. Palm oil plan­ta­tions are being acquired by RFF with the support of BOS Germany to trans­form them into thri­ving secon­dary rain­fo­rests through reforestation.

Setzlinge unter den Ölpalmen

With this project, we are reclai­ming vital habi­tats and natural areas from the palm oil industry. The initial stage aims to estab­lish a wild­life corridor connec­ting the Tabin Wild­life Reserve with the Kulamba Wild­life Reserve. Curr­ently, these two nature reserves in eastern Sabah are frag­mented by oil palm plan­ta­tions. Conse­quently, popu­la­tions of nume­rous endan­gered wild­life species, inclu­ding oran­gutans and pygmy elephants, remain isolated from each other, further dimi­nis­hing the survival pros­pects of these threa­tened species.

Through the crea­tion of the wild­life corridor, RFF and BOS Germany are paving the way for a brighter future for oran­gutans, Bornean elephants, and many other endan­gered species. RFF and BOS Germany are actively plan­ning the acqui­si­tion and resto­ra­tion of addi­tional palm oil plan­ta­tions. The long-term objec­tive is to connect these nature reserves to the ‘Heart of Borneo’ area through dedi­cated wild­life corridors.

Nasenaffen in Sabah, Malaysien

Probo­scis monkey in the treetops

Zwergelefant in Sabah, Malaysien

Bornean elephant in the area of Sabah

Forest for life

Save the rainforest

Saving the oran­gutans cannot succeed without preser­ving their habitat! Mawas is a thousand-year-old peat swamp rain­fo­rest housing one of the largest wild oran­gutan popu­la­tions in Indo­nesia. Although signi­fi­cant portions of this unique rain­fo­rest were lost as part of a mega­pro­ject in the 1990s.

Now, we have a vision: To restore the forest and make it a home for even more orangutans.

Sonja Wende

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Dona­tions are a matter of trust

Trans­pa­rent use of funds is a matter of course for us. In September 2013, we joined the a non profit initia­tive of Trans­pa­rency Inter­na­tional Germany and signed its decla­ra­tion of commitment.