At the moment Tropenbos Indonesia works in Gunung Tarak Landscape located in Ketapang and Kayong Utara District, West Kalimantan Province. The 506,425 ha landscape is adjacent to Pawan River in the North, Pasaguan River in the South and Karimata Strait in the West. The landscape consists of 4 forest ecosystems, i.e. Gunung Palung National Park (95,000 ha), Gunung Tarak Protection Forest (24,000 ha), Sungai Putri Peatland Forest (59,000 ha) and Pematang Gadung Peatland Forest (15,000 ha).
Communities living in this area come from various ethnics including Chinese, Dayak, Malay, and Javanese. They live as farmers, workers of agro commodity plantations, traders, miners in bauxite and gold mining, fishermen, and small scale loggers.
As a strategic area for industries and trades, the landscape indeed has invited the interests of many investors especially in plantation and mining sectors. Like a double-edged knife, that fact is not only beneficial but also threatening and giving pressure for this area. A part of the area, for instance, that becomes a tug between the interest of investment and environmental conservation is the peatland forest Sungai Putri, which almost all parts of this area are deep peatland with an average depth of 7 m. In fact, a foreign investor has got a license upon this area and started its activity.
Sungai Putri area is also the home for the population of about 25,000 orangutans which live in ecological trap due to disconnection of ecological corridors to natural forests, cut off by land conversion into farmland and palm oil plantations, mining, construction of road and infrastructure, and settlements. The rapid development is important to improve the country’s economy and the people’s welfare, but maintaining sustainable practice for business sectors, protecting forest and its biodiversity as well as curbing the unwise extractions of natural resources are no less important.
In such concerns, Tropenbos Indonesia tries to bridge the gap between knowledge and sustainable practices and increase people’s awareness on how important environmental protection is in the midst of various threats and the needs to lead a sustainable path in the fast development of the area.