Age of Union allies with Kalaweit, an association that works to protect biodiversity in Indonesia, on a $100,000 mission to secure 100 hectares of the Dulan forest located in Borneo (Central Kalimantan region, Barito Utara District).
The Dulan Reserve currently covers 732.1 hectares and Kalaweit is working hard to secure the entire area of 1,500 hectares, which is surrounded by several palm oil and coal mines responsible for extensive deforestation and massive threats to the ecosystems.
“The Dulan Reserve is like tens or even hundreds of fragments of forest or forest pockets of more than a thousand hectares that have become the last refuges of an exceptional fauna which has already fled the deforestation happening in the island. There are plenty of forest fragments like the one in the Dulan Reserve that are threatened in the very short term. There is only a pragmatic approach that can save these pockets of forest: protecting the land, making sure they do not fall into the wrong hands. The change is happening very quickly; if we had not started the Dulan Reserve three years ago in 2019, it would have already become a palm oil plantation.” – Aurélien Brulé, also known as Chanee, founder of Kalaweit
Indonesia is known as one of the few megadiverse centers of the world: it is home to more than 70% of the planet's biodiversity (source: World Atlas). The Dulan forest is a refuge for animals, particularly for a hundred orangutans who have escaped deforestation. The extreme diversity of the forest – a mosaic of ancient primary and secondary forest – makes it possible to shelter a large number of animals of each species: white-bearded gibbons, langurs, Malaysian sun bears, clouded leopards, proboscis monkeys, pigtail macaques, crab-eating macaques, sambar deer, muntjacs, and many more.
“Why is saving and protecting the Dulan forest important for Borneo, the animals, Kalaweit and for me? Well, first of all, it is vital for Borneo and its animals because this forest is synonymous with conservation of all these species: these fragments are their last refuge. It is also important for Kalaweit because it is our role, it is our mission. And finally, it's crucial for me because, quite simply, once you have discovered this forest, understood the problems of the region and witnessed encounters with these animals (the orangutans, these gibbons… all the wild animals) it becomes a heavy responsibility to protect them. I would sleep better the day I have saved all of this forest.” – Aurélien Brulé, also known as Chanee, founder of Kalaweit
The forest belongs to the Butong community that depends on the lake located at the center of the forest and the fruit trees. If the forest is degraded by human activity, the lake will inevitably become polluted and fishing activities will be compromised. To preserve the balance of the ecosystem and the local villagers that depend on this area for their daily needs, Kalaweit is working hand in hand with the Butongs community and in partnership with the provincial forestry department of central Kalimantan, as well as the Indonesian Ministry of Environment to secure the protection of the Dulan Reserve.
Communication Written by Mariette Raina.
Mariette Raina writes articles discussing environmental, spiritual and artistic subjects. Mariette has a Master's degree in Anthropological studies and vast experience within the Fine Arts field. She has contributed to numerous projects for Dax Dasilva since 2016. She is currently Projects Coordinator at Age of Union.
Aurélien Brulé, also known as Chanee, founder of Kalaweit.
Born and raised in France, Chanee moved to Indonesia when he was 17 years old and gained his Indonesian citizenship in 2012. Since he was 12, he has dedicated his life to helping gibbons, in zoos first, which eventually led him to act in Indonesia, where he created the biggest protection center for gibbons in the world. Chanee created Kalaweit in 1998, with the overall goal of saving gibbons and their habitat in Sumatra and Borneo.
Photos by Kalaweit.