Thanks to your incredibly generous support, we are now breaking ground on a crucial rehabilitation project for a degraded peat swamp forest in Central Kalimantan, Borneo.
The area was once part of a failed mega-rice cultivation project, where attempts to convert a million hectares of peat swamp forest into paddy fields left the forest drained and at risk for fires and further degradation.
BOS Foundation has joined forces with stakeholders from across the spectrum in a long-term effort to turn the area back into the lush forest it once was and ensure a future for the estimated 2,550 wild orangutans and many other native species that reside there. Your kind gift helps transform 40 hectares of this area into a vital habitat.
Together, we can perform miracles
The effort to grow back a forest is a colossal undertaking. Not only does it take time, but it also needs support from all stakeholders, near and far. Therefore, the BOS Foundation always involves the local community when embarking on reforestation endeavours. From preparing the seedlings to maintaining the young trees, the continuous involvement of local people brings them more knowledge, pride, and benefits than any independent project. This engagement is critical because, in the end, they are the ones who will be the stewards of the new forest and will be able to sustainably reap from it for generations to come.
Supporting wildlife and humans alike
As with any other reforestation program under the BOS Foundation, the plan for these 40 hectares is designed to support both wildlife and humans through sustainable management practices. The selected plants include many orangutan food species native to peat swamp forests, such as plants from the genera of Dyera, Garcinia, Syzygium, and Litsea.
To ensure that the new forest is conserved long into the future, the work of the BOS Foundation starts long before planting the first seedling. The project has been kicked off by introducing the methods and goals to the local communities from the nearest village. The locals interested in participating are given the opportunity to undergo further training from specialists and declare their commitment to the program in the form of a signed working agreement.
First things first – preparing the seedlings and land
The next step is to prepare the seedlings. Participants from the local community have formed groups, each responsible for their own seedlings. All the groups started by building a nursery, which took about a month to finish. The seedling production process takes ten full months, and this is before the groups can even start planting. During this long period, they also prepare the land by clearing competing weeds, building the necessary canal blocks, and monitoring fire outbreaks, commonly occurring during the annual dry season.
Forest fires can be devastating. In peatland, the fires can even burn underground in the peat dome for days at a time, unnoticed by the casual observer. One might think that peat swamps should not be able to catch fire since it is supposed to be wet. However, degraded peat swamp forests, like the one we are working in, are highly flammable during the dry season. In the case of fire, one might only see a thin wisp of smoke, but it is burning aggressively under the surface. These fires are incredibly difficult to extinguish and release the immense quantities of carbon previously stored in the peat, which contributes directly to global climate change.
Finding the right time to plant
The planting activities will start in the eleventh month of each cycle. Ideally, the process only begins when there is dry weather, and the water level allows the young plants to start to grow. During the rainy season, the swamps are often too wet, submerging the plants for months. Some species can take 10 to 15 years to reach their full size, while others grow faster.
It is up to us to repair the damage of past human activity and return orangutan food species to the area. However, once the trees produce their fruit, the orangutans will take over, spreading the seeds themselves, propagating the natural regeneration of the forest and protecting the biodiversity within.
It’s a long process, but we know we will succeed with you on our side. And the sooner we start, the better the prospects for the recovery of the precious peat swamp forest – and the future of the wild orangutans living in it!
Thank you so much again for your help! We couldn’t do it without you.