How can planting a tree save an orangutan?
That is the same question we asked our friends at Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) when we heard about their Tree Planting Project—and the answer will amaze you.
Below is a great explanation from Barbara Bichler, director of School Projects for BOS in Germany:
Located in the Indonesian part of central Borneo, Mawas is an area of 309,000 hectares—twice the size of greater London.
More than 80% of it is covered by tropical peatland forest, which, built through thousands of years, is among the oldest forests in the world and serves as a massive carbon sink.
Its value for biological balance is immense.
The Mawas region is home to approximately 3,000 wild orangutans—one of the largest populations in the world.
The area is actually named after the primates, since Mawas literally means orangutan in the indigenous language.
In order to create space for rice plantations, parts of this area were deforested and drained of water.
Many trees were logged and irrigation canals built before it was realized that this area was not suitable for planting rice at all.
The result was devastating. The peatland became both drought-prone and flood-prone.
The “One Million Hectare Rice Barn” ended up becoming a barn of problems.
BOS Germany is working on a large-scale rain forest replantation project in order to re-establish Mawas’ lost nature.
The entire area is divided into five territories.
One of them is Rantau Upak, an area of 1,000 hectares, which suffered a lot from drainage, illegal deforestation, and forest fires.
To rebuild the forest, canals need to be blocked.
This will allow the swamp to be rehydrated, enabling the forest to grow again.
A hundred hectares of land are to be replanted, and four local villages have collected seeds and cultivated seedlings to be planted in the wet peat.
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