The Rungan landscape is one of Borneo Nature Foundation’s newest research sites, with rainforest covering nearly 150,000 hectares of this under-studied and highly-threatened area. Our programme aims to build a foundation to protect the forest and the biodiversity within the landscape, through partnerships with communities, industry and government stakeholders.
Since 2016, BNF has been carrying out research and expeditions within the Mungku Baru KHDTK (EducationForest with special purpose) in partnership with University of Muhammadiyah Palangka Raya and Exeter University. Within this relatively small area, we have already discovered a tremendous amount of biodiversity with many key species including orangutan, gibbon, and amazingly all 5 species of Bornean wild cat.
As part of our efforts to understand and protect this landscape we recently, began a large-scale orangutan population density survey and habitat assessment across the whole Rungan landscape. To date, we have completed surveys across 250km2 of the landscape, within the Rakumpit sub-district of Palangka Raya, in the forests surrounding the villages of Mungku Baru, and Gaung Baru.We have covered over 47km of line transect and identified 880 orangutan nests.
Through conducting orangutan nest counts along line transects we can estimate orangutan density and population size; our habitat assessments help us to understand the mosaic nature of the forest; Furthermore, by combining these data, we hope to better understand how orangutans are distributed across this landscape BNF research in the Rungan landscape area is the first study to highlight the importance of the kerangas (dry-heath ) forest for orangutans; Our preliminary results suggest that the density of orangutans in these kerangas areas is much higher than previously thought, and the densities calculated for other forest sub-types such as swamp forest are comparable to similar favourable orangutan habitat across Central Kalimantan.
Over the coming months, our nest and habitat surveys are set to continue across the landscape. Although we still have a long way to go to complete our landscape-wide research we are confident that the Rungan has a large and valuable orangutan population within it. We hope our research will lead to the protection of this forest block, imperative to the long-term survival of this and other charismatic species.