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Gunung Palung National Park is one of the most significant strongholds for the orangutans in West Kalimantan, containing as many as 2,500 orangutans in a 90,000 ha forested area. The area north of the park, which is known as the Mendawak landscape, is potentially even more significant, but is largely unsurveyed and is formally unprotected.


The Mendawak landscape doesn’t have defined boundaries, but covers an area of approximately 500,000 ha, from the coast of Kubu Raya and through to the districts of Kayong Utara, Ketapang, and Sanggau.

According to the 2016 Population and Habitat Viability Assessment (PHVA), the landscape could contain as many as 1,348 orangutans. The core area is covered almost entirely by 20 corporate concessions, a mixture of oil palm, industrial forest, and restoration ecosystem concessions (the latter for the development of carbon projects). There are two conservation areas, the 18,681 ha Mendawak Protected Forest and the 6,791 ha Sungai Padawan Community Forest. The Mendawak landscape contains areas of primary and secondary forest, peat, and mangroves, with communities made up of Melayu and Indigenous Dayaks.

Despite its importance, the Mendawak landscape has not received the same level of attention as other key nearby orangutan habitat or forest areas. Consequently, large-scale land conversion and timber extraction has taken place. This is seen particularly on PT Mayawana Persada, which makes up the southern part of the landscape. Operated by the Indonesian company Alas Kusuma, PT Mayawana Persada contains approximately 50,000 ha of forest. In 2020 and 2021 respectively, 2,800 ha and 5,300 ha of forest was cleared. In 2022, Alas Kusuma has been the largest deforester in Indonesia’s industrial forest sector, clearing 5,200 ha of forest. In 2023, it has cleared more than 10,000 ha.

To conserve the forest in Mendawak, Sangga Bumi Lestari is working with our partner NGOs, Tanjungpura University and the regional government of West Kalimantan to develop conservation initiatives that will conserve forest inside corporate concessions and ensure connectivity throughout Mendawak. Key to this is strong direct engagement with the corporate concessions in the landscape, and multi-stakeholder forums to facilitate dialogue between companies.

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