Mawas: A Tale of Forest Restoration
Date Posted July 22, 2022
Text by: BOS Foundation Communications Team at Headquarters, Bogor, West Java
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The Mawas Conservation Program is just one of the BOS Foundation programs in Central Kalimantan. The project balances forest protection and restoration through the use of natural resource management, sustainable community development, land rehabilitation, and research. We do this in order to protect natural orangutan habitats and strengthen local communities.
The Mawas Conservation Area spans 309,000 hectares which include vital, natural orangutan habitats. This vast area was once the site of a failed, large-scale rice cultivation project, but today the remaining peat swamp forest hosts one of the largest populations of Bornean orangutans in the world at an estimated 2,550 individuals.
It takes a huge collaborative effort, including all relevant stakeholders, to successfully protect such an important and complex ecosystem. It takes active governance, monitoring and enforcement, and community buy-in and engagement, all in addition to the classic reforestation activities such as replanting and fire monitoring.
In the areas degraded by past human activities, we are rehabilitating the forest by working closely with local communities to plan and implement large-scale replanting projects. In collaboration with the National University and Rutgers University, the Tuanan Research Station is conducting ground-breaking research in the fields of wild orangutan behaviour and peatland ecology.
However, more needs to be done. It is estimated that 70% of the wild orangutan population in Kalimantan lives outside of protected areas. To ensure the conservation of the species, the BOS Foundation also plays a role in developing the Orangutan Strategy and Action Plan. We also operate within the private sector, working to support more sustainable practices in the oil palm, logging, and other extractive industries through Best Management Practices (BMP) for Orangutan Conservation. Through this program, we work closely with companies in the development and implementation of procedures linked to sustainable land management that protects biodiversity and reduces conflict between humans and orangutans. Together, these partnerships have proven to be beneficial for both humans and orangutans alike.
As orangutan populations continue to decline, we cannot hesitate to take action. No single solution can solve a problem as complex as the threat of extinction, so, together we must act to protect all orangutans and their habitat.