Planting a future for West Kalimantan’s forests

Posted on 24 November 2012  | 
On a recent school trip to the Heart of Borneo (HoB), the WWF Heart of Borneo Global Initiative Communications Unit and school trip participants visited WWF’s Forest Corridor Restoration Program in Lanjak, West Kalimantan. A project designed to build a ‘Wildlife Corridor’ to protect the habitat of Borneo’s endangered wild Orangutan and to allow them to roam freely in protected areas by connecting the Betung Kerihun and Danau Sentarum National Parks.

By focusing on conserving a forest corridor for wild Orangutan, WWF believe the project will also save other rare wildlife and species in the region.

“Our prime target is saving this forest space for wild Orangutan. Orangutans are the umbrella species in saving other animals, as Orangutan need a lot of forest space to live. If we save Orangutan habitat, we can save other animals such as deer, sunbear, other primate and thousands of rare species”, said Syahirsyah (or known as Jimmy Bond), Communication Manager for WWF-Indonesia West Kalimantan Program.

The project has been operating over two years. WWF staff in West Kalimantan and a team of 80 local volunteer farmers have planted a staggering 80,000 plants of mixed variety on 300 hectares of degraded forest land with target coverage of 500 hectares and thousands more plants to flourish in the forest canopy.

The restoration project is designed to not only benefit the wildlife of this region, but is also part of WWF’s local strategic Community Empowerment Program to give local communities new sustainable farming skills so they can improve their livelihoods, and give them an alternative to cutting down trees, poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

In consultation with the local community, WWF has helped local farmers to develop new sustainable crops such a Rubber Agroforestry Systems (RAS) via mentoring programs that can co-exists in mixed forests, and also have the potential to provide economic benefits to local communities. This kind of farming provides a new way forth for both the community and wildlife to live in harmony.

Farmers can now have the opportunities in the near future to farm rubber, while wild Orangutan can munch on their favorite plants such as Durian, etc…which have been planted by the local community. The corridor will give wildlife the opportunity to safely roam freely back and forward between the two national parks.

“The simple fact that local farmers freely volunteer their time to this project, sometimes dedicating 2 hours each day to this initiative, demonstrates how much they care about the well-being of the forest and its wildlife, and finding a better solution to conserving its future”, said Syahirsyah.

WWF has helped local farmers in the forest corridor between Betung Kerihun and Danau Sentarum National Parks, to develop new sustainable crops
WWF has helped local farmers to develop new sustainable crops
© (c) WWF Heart of Borneo - Jane Spence Enlarge

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