Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project

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The Problem

The Sabangau Forest in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia is the largest non-fragmented area of peat-swamp forest remaining in Borneo. It is of major conservation importance for its high biodiversity and as a globally-significant carbon store. It also supports the largest remaining population of the Bornean orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) in a contiguous area, as well as many other endangered plants and animals including the critically-endangered white-shouldered ibis (Pseudibis davisoni), the threatened proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) and the storms stork (Ciconia stormii). The area, however, is under threat from drainage, peat-collapse, fire, illegal logging, over-harvesting of forest resources and encroachment. Our wish is to save this forest with the help of the local people. These threats will have a huge impact on the local community. Not to mention the loss of many important species if prevention measures are not put in place. We want to develop and implementing a plan to collaborate with partners in order to help set up an education and awareness programme in the area.

Our Plan

Are aims are: 1. Socialisation and Awareness: Get the community involved and to understand why the forest is important and why we need to conserve it; 2. Environmental Education for Schools: Get local schools involved in conservation. Including in-situ activities; develop learning exchanges with children in schools around Indonesia and the world and develop after-school clubs for the local school in the village – with the intention of expanding these to the school in Palangkaraya; 3. Develop an open-access Education Centre: Establishing a centre in the village. This would be a drop-in centre for schools; a nursery and demonstration site. This would also host exhibitions describing the community patrol team’s work, could host a Dayak cultural exhibition and be a site for after-school activities; 4. Explore the potential for developing a Dayak Cultural Education Initiative. Some of the best protected forests in Kalimantan are those where the forest conservation is driven by Dayak communities and a cultural determination to stop over-exploitation of their natural heritage. Dayak people place a high importance on the forests in the culture, although these are often different values to the one that westerners derive from the forest. Dayak people see the forest as a source of products, of fish and water, meat and medicines, timber for their houses and rattan for their nets. For many communities it is also the place their ancestors spirits go after they die. However much of Dayak lore and Dayak knowledge is being lost as the province develops and cities become the focus more than the jungle. Yet as we have seen, Dayak culture is a strong force for forest protection. It may be desirable to develop a Dayak education project, one which teaches about traditions, dance and music, history and the importance of the environment.

Themes Addressed

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    Community Enhancement
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    Indigenous Rights
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The Benefit

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