Our longest running programme, in Sebangau Landscape, was founded in 1999 as the Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop).
We identified Sebangau as home to the largest orangutan population in lowland Borneo, bringing the region to the forefront of orangutan conservation efforts and resulting in the award of National Park status in 2004.
In 2016, we created Borneo Nature Foundation to extend our reach and tackle conservation challenges across Borneo. We expanded our projects in Sebangau and established our Rungan Programme, working to protect 156,000 hectares of vital orangutan habitat.
We launched our Barito Ulu Programme in 2018, working in the Heart of Borneo to revive research and conservation in the spectacularly bio-diverse and yet unprotected rainforests of northern Central Kalimantan.
Borneo Nature Foundation was created in 2016, born out of the Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop). Our origins go back more than 20 years to a series of expeditions to the then little-known peat-swamp forest of Sebangau in Central Kalimantan.
In the early 1990’s, botanists Jack Rieley (University of Nottingham) and Susan Page (University of Leicester) teamed up with Suwido Limin and colleagues at the University of Palangka Raya to conduct fact-finding expeditions into the Sebangau Landscape.
They took students to measure trees, collect peat cores and build a species list. These studies resulted in the most comprehensive understanding of peat-swamp habitat ever collected and drew global attention to the importance of protecting tropical peatlands.
In 1995, Helen Morrogh-Bernard and Simon Husson, then zoology undergraduates, joined the third expedition and undertook the very first orangutan surveys in Sebangau. Incredibly, they discovered that this forest was home to the largest orangutan population in lowland Borneo.
But the situation was dire. Illegal loggers were cutting down trees, the peatland was being drained, animals hunted, and a year earlier the first major fires in Sebangau destroyed over 10% of the forest. The threat of conversion to agriculture or plantation was high.
OuTrop was founded by Helen and Simon in 1999 to raise awareness of the importance of Sebangau Landscape for orangutan conservation and to encourage sustainable management, protection and restoration of this vital habitat. With our urging and support, in 2002 WWF initiated an orangutan conservation programme here, resulting in the designation of the Sebangau National Park in 2004.
We have maintained a constant presence in Sebangau National Park, initiating our orangutan behavioural project in 2003 and expanding our research to study white-bearded gibbons, red langur monkeys, clouded leopards, forestry and biodiversity monitoring. Our reforestation and forest restoration projects are growing, and we support community patrol and fire-fighting teams to protect Sebangau National Park.
We are a not-for-profit wildlife and biodiversity conservation and research organization that protects and safeguards tropical rainforests and the environment in Borneo.