Over the past 20 years, Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF) has been working to protect and preserve the Sebangau National Park forest, one of the last remaining peat-swamp forests in Indonesia. Under a partnership with CIMTROP, University of Palangka Raya, BNF has been at the frontline of protecting and preserving this lowland forest unique biodiversity in the Natural Laboratory of Peat-swamp Forest (NLPSF).
To translate the above mission into actions, BNF works hand in hand with the academic institutes, non-profit organizations, stakeholders, government, and local figures to prevent the Sebangau National Park forest from any threats that will lead to the severe forest degradation.
One of the recent collaborative efforts that BNF is currently working on is supported by many people from various organizations. The projects on the Sebangau National Park forest conservation are focused on the issues of land and forest fire prevention, forest restoration, community nursery, capacity building, and the afterschool activities for local children.
To socialize the programmes, BNF recently hosted a workshop and socialization that aims at disseminating the conservation works that BNF pioneered and raising the awareness towards the importance of collaborative efforts to tackle the issues on the peat-swamp forest.
The event that took place on 28 February in Luwansa Hotel, Palangka Raya, was attended by the government representatives, academic institutes, stakeholders, partners, and media. The event was kicked-off with the opening from Central Kalimantan Regional Secretary, Fahrizal Fitri S, Hut., M.P, that emphasized the important role of the joint efforts towards the peat-swamp forest restoration.
“Restoration efforts demand multi-parties strategic collaboration, without that, it won’t happen,” said Fahrizal.
He added that any research on the peat-swamp forest should be well-coordinated and it should also bring positive impacts to the sustainable management of the forest instead just being a mere collection of scientific information. To achieve that, it requires strong partnerships and synergy to the sustainable development plans of Central Kalimantan Province.
Sebangau National Park comprises one of the most significant areas of rainforest in Indonesia. This is the last remaining unfragmented lowland forest in Borneo which serves as the home to the globally-significant populations of endangered species such as wild Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), white-bearded gibbons, endemic birds and Bornean wild cats.
by Duncan Murrell | BNF | CIMTROP
by Pau Brugues Sintes | BNF | CIMTROP
by Andrew Walmsley | BNF | CIMTROP
As for the conservation contributions, the partnerships with national and international organizations have enabled BNF to build hundreds of dams in severely degraded peat-swamp canals that trigger the annual land and forest fires in Borneo due to the failure of the Mega Rice project in the early 90s. In addition to that, BNF has also been participating in the reforestation project of the Sebangau National Park forest where this organization has planted over thousands of trees with careful scientific monitoring to ensure the successful reforestation programme.
In the long run, BNF plans to move forward with the reforestation of over 50,000 endemic trees in the peat-swamp forest.
“The reforestation project is not merely a pilot project to see how this might affect the forest positively, but it is also attempted to restore the ecosystem that was severely impacted because of the forest fires,” said Bernat Ripoll Capilla, BNF’s Field Director.
As a conservation organization, BNF is not only focusing on the research of the tropical rainforest in Borneo but it has also been working hand in hand with local communities who live in the two villages of Sabaru and Kereng that become the entrance gate to the majestic forest of Borneo.
Most of the field staff at BNF are coming from these two villages, these people have been involved in various projects that BNF carried out such as biodiversity, research, and forest protection. Recently, BNF expands its community empowerment programmes through the local nursery community initiatives. The organization provides sustainable livelihoods through the making of local products that are made from naturally available materials.
The flagship education programme “Anak Sebangau” is aimed at raising conservation awareness to the children of the two villages in Sebangau through various after school activities including forest visits that bring children to the Sebangau National Park forest to get to know this forest and the wildlife animals that make this forest their home.
“BNF has successfully approached local communities and gave the children conservation education. I myself once joined children festival which was hosted by BNF” said Fahrizal, Regional Secretary of Central Kalimantan Province.
By the end, we would like to thank our partners; Darwin Initiative, Arcus Foundation, The Orangutan Project, and US Fish and Wildlife Services that have provided generous supports that enable us to carry out more conservation works on the orangutan’s only home.
BNF socialisation of Sebangau Programme in Luwansa Hotel, Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan
Photo by Danny | BNF | BPI