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Places We Protect: East Kalimantan

In East Kalimantan, we're planting the seeds for some of our most ambitious forest projects.


August 19th is World Orangutan Day! Send an Orangutan inspired ecard to family & friends to celebrate!

East Kalimantan Province, located on the eastern portion of the island of Borneo, boasts some of the last remaining large, untouched wilderness areas in all of Indonesia. But there’s no guarantee those areas will remain intact: widespread deforestation remains a concern for the region’s wildlife and forest-dwelling communities.

The Nature Conservancy is working throughout East Kalimantan’s 78,000 square miles to protect an incredibly rare expanse of biologically rich tropical rainforests. East Kalimantan is the site for some of the Conservancy’s most ambitious forest projects, which aim to protect wildlife, enrich local communities and innovate new models that can spur forest conservation worldwide.

Watch this video to see for yourself how this vision is becoming a reality across Asia Pacific.

REDD-y for Change

In East Kalimantan’s Berau District — a region that’s nearly the size of Belize — the government of Indonesia and the Conservancy launched the Berau forest carbon program (BFCP), which is helping to jump-start an international system of similar projects. The Conservancy is translating Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD)+ — a mechanism that encourages the sustainable management of forests through the power of global carbon markets — into on-the-ground conservation results that protect trees and combat climate change.

BFCP will provide the region’s people with compensation for stewarding forests in ways that will ensure their continued survival and prevent their stored carbon from polluting the atmosphere. And the BFCP is one of four national REDD demonstration programs chosen by the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, and the only project to be launched by an NGO.

“REDD+ is about reducing deforestation and forest degradation,” says Tri Nugroho, the Conservancy’s Forest Program Director in Indonesia. “That will lead to less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and will help solve the biggest problem ever faced in human history: climate change. REDD+ is an incentive mechanism that will reward people for being more responsible to nature.”

Improving Life in Indonesia

Collaboration is key to keeping the forests of East Kalimantan safe and fighting back against global climate change. The Conservancy is showing a wide range of parties that sustainable forest management yields benefits for people as well as ecosystems.

By providing forestry solutions throughout East Kalimantan, the Conservancy is:

  • Identifying forests with high conservation value and helping the government classify them as protected areas.
  • Implementing Reduced Impact Logging techniques that will make timber companies both sustainable and profitable and assisting local organizations as they seek certification.
  • Giving local communities a say in forest management and providing them with ecosystem and livelihood benefits through conservation and sustainable forest management opportunities.
  • Halting the conversion of forests by providing financial and other incentives to encourage land swaps.
  • Solving long-standing land tenure issues through improved spatial planning and land allocation.

By introducing smart land use practices to East Kalimantan, we can keep forests productive for many generations to come.

Protecting Primates

The region’s many unique and imperiled species also stand to benefit from smarter forest management.

East Kalimantan is home to some 2,500 orangutans and it shelters the largest remaining population of the northeast Borneo subspecies. Scientists estimate that the province contains roughly 10% of the world’s remaining wild orangutans.

In addition to protecting orangutan habitat, the Conservancy is conducting a Kalimantan-wide survey in 724 villages to learn more about the orangutan’s distribution and threats. We’re also assisting the Orangutan National Action Plan — launched in 2007 by the Indonesian government — and its efforts to create safe habitats for the primate.

Through forest protection initiatives, the Conservancy is helping to conserve a bevy of species that includes 11 types of primates, mouse deer and banteng, a species of wild cattle unique to Southeast Asia.

We share the views of the Dayak, one of Borneo’s earliest indigenous peoples, who esteem the forests as sacred places that nourish and support life. We’re similarly compelled to protect the forests of East Kalimantan in ways that balance the needs of every living thing that depends on them.

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