The Dayak and forests of Borneo need your help.
In the forests of Borneo, a native community struggles to protect its ancestral homeland from industries poised to destroy one of the Earth’s oldest and most biodiverse rainforests. This film offers a glimpse into the lives of those most at risk, the Dayak “people of the forest,” who for millennia have relied on the forests for everything. Their close bond with nature is being threatened as they watch the forest disappear.
Borneo is the planet’s third largest island and is roughly the size of Texas. With over 15,000 different species of flowering plants, it hosts the largest diversity of trees and plants anywhere on Earth.
Palm oil plantations are rapidly replacing old growth forests. Deforestation in Indonesia alone averages 300,000 hectares – roughly half the size of Delaware – each year.
For thousands of years the Dayak have depended on the forests which surround them. Today many communities must decide if they will protect the land of their ancestors from exploitation.
Borneo’s Value for Our Future
Borneo’s forests are absorbing more carbon than they are releasing. Especially the peat swamp forests of Kalimantan. They act as a carbon sink, absorbing carbon into the roots and soil. This makes this rainforest of utmost concern for protection to attain the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Conversion of peat forests releases large volumes of carbon from below ground
Borneo’s forests can store 10x more carbon than other forests. When peat soils are stripped of their protective forest covering, drained by canals, and planted with plantation crops, the peat carbon oxidizes and leaks greenhouse gases continuously to the atmosphere for decades, at a rate of up to 72 tons per hectare per year. Corporations continue to convert peatland to palm oil plantations, despite recent protection policy by the Indonesian government.
Burning a sq. mile of tropical forest releases as much CO2 as driving an American car to the sun and back, twice.
Reforestation is not a viable option. Once deforestation has released the carbon stock of a mature tropical forest, it takes decades for a replanted or regenerating forest to sequester the equivalent amount of carbon back from the atmosphere. We must recognize the value of Borneo as a carbon sink; far more valuable than palm oil.