Myeik Myanmar


Borneo: Peatlands of Indonesia

Specific help for local environmentalists in the tropical rainforests

Small Indonesian nature organisations cooperate closely with our German partner "Rettet den Regenwald" ("Rainforest Rescue") to protect the valuable rainforests of Borneo. By supporting them financially, the Foundation contributes to the conservation of biodiversity as well as the protection of the global climate.


Deforestation emits about 20 % of the released carbon dioxide worldwide. If these forests grow on peatland, the emission of carbon dioxide raises even more as the land is being cultivated, for example to produce palm-oil.   
265.000 square kilometers of peatland are located in Indonesia, with 54 billion tons of stored carbon. It runs on third place after Russia and Canada. But with almost 500 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions Indonesia tops the list of all countries: The emissions are mostly caused by drainage, clearing and cultivation of peatland forest. Until 2008 about 125.000 hectares fen have already been degraded. Rewetting projects and the protection of remaining peatland areas have top priority. The reservoir capacity for carbon theoretically reaches up to 2 gigatons p.a., realistically some 100 million tons are possible.


Our partner organization „Rainforest Rescue“ is engaged in many activities in the province of Kalimantan on the isle of Borneo, which currently attracts the attention of the palm-oil-industry. Primarily these projects focus on long-term environmental education for the natives to help them struggle against the loss of their homeland. Most of them don’t even know their rights. Usually, they are left to believe that they don’t have a choice but to accept the plantations with a promise of a job. The work of the activists is challenging since they cover an area of some hundred kilometres with isolated villages and bad roads to travel.  

1. Save our Borneo
(SOB) This NGO was established 2005 by Nordin, an expert in struggling for the rainforest. Located in Palangkaraya, many activists are on outbound mission to find natives deprived of their homeland and to alert others in case of planned deforestations. SOB reaches 300.000 people in an area of 500 square kilometres, also by publishing in newspapers and on tv and radio. ”We are riding bike in comparison to the speed of an airplane” says Nordin. “But every success motivates to keep on struggling.” For example 326.000 hectares were saved as SOB put pressure on the government of Kalimantan to withdraw permits from the international oil-company Wilmar. SOB's activities are regularly supported by us.

2. Roadshow in Westkalimantan – non-governmental organization Walhi (Indonesian sector of Friends of the Earth) They ride by motorcycles to visit villages, packed with a laptop, projector and a DVD. The NGO is presenting a movie that shows an emerging palm-oil plantation: First valuable trees are being cut down, then the forest burns down. The soil is being bulldozed; Orang Utans die in the middle of the field. The formally tropical character of the landscape turns dry and dusty, rivers are poisoned by pesticides. The natives loose not only their forest but their food source since they don’t get a living wage on the plantations.

The movie is a great success, since all villages where Walhi showed the movie voted against the disposition of their forest. Diverse activities to inform and mobilize the inhabitants are often the best way to struggle against big companies. Our foundation financed the motorcycles and supported the organization in employing new staff.

3. support for the orangutan by COP

The Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) began its involvement with the rescue of orangutans that have become homeless due to rainforest loss. The COP care stations on Java and Borneo have become a magnet for many local visitors. This public relations work gradually leads to an interest of the locals in the orangutan and its worthiness of protection. Meanwhile COP is one of the most important NGOs in Indonesia for the protection of the orangutans and their natural habitat, the rainforest.

In 2008, we helped with the financing of an off-road vehicle and new employees.

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