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Tropentag, September 20 - 22, 2017 in Bonn

"Future Agriculture: Social-ecological transitions and bio-cultural shifts"

Linking up Wildlife Conservation and Climate Change Mitigation: The Case of Orangutans in Indonesia

Teresa Rojas Lara, Daniel Merdes

Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Deutschland, Germany


Tropical peat swamps provide numerous environmental services and contain 30% of the world's sequestered (or terrestrial) carbon. Indonesia has 50% of the world's tropical peat swamp. However, Indonesia peatlands are under pressure due to land use change, deforestation and fire occurrence. Indonesia is one of the top green greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters with about 2 GtCO2 equivalents/year. Peatland and forest fires are by far the largest contributors to Indonesia's GHG emissions. In 2015, approximately 2.6 million hectares of land in Indonesia were burned, half of it on peatlands. Therefore, at the COP 21 in Paris the Indonesian government announced plans to ban new developments and forest clearing in peatlands. Moreover, the government instructed to rewet drained areas by blocking drainage canals in order to reduce CO2 emissions.

At the same time, efforts are made by the worldwide biggest primate conservation NGO, Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) to contribute to the conservation of the Bornean orangutan and its habitat through the involvement of the local population. One of the intervention areas is Mawas, located within the ex-Mega Rice Project in Central Kalimantan. Mawas encompasses around 300,000 ha, most of them peatlands, and is the home to one of the last tracts of forest supporting wild orangutans. An estimated 3,000 wild orangutans and many other fauna and flora can be found in this area. A direct link to GHG mitigation is given through the role of Mawas as an important storage of giga-tonnes of sequestered carbon. Wildlife conservation activities involving forest conservation, reforestation and research thus unfold a direct positive impact on GHG mitigation.
This paper presents current work of BOS Foundation in cooperation with BOS Germany and other international organisations, central and local governments, as well as local communities. The work focus on combined forest conservation and forest landscape restoration activities with Orangutan habitat protection in Mawas. Until now, reforestation of more than 40 ha is completed and 27 canals are blocked, which represent a total of 58.4 Km of drainage canals. These actions contribute that 1500 ha has been rewetted, which in turn is protecting an estimated area of 5000 ha of community forest. Moreover, new proposals, which seek to combine REDD+ activities with community development and Orangutan protection are in preparation.

Keywords: Borneo, climate change, Orangutan, peatlands, wildlife

Contact Address: Teresa Rojas Lara, Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Deutschland, Potsdamer Straße 99, 10785 Berlin, Germany, e-mail: t.rojas@posteo.net

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