Background

Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia (RHOI) is company established by the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation on April 21, 2009 for a specific purpose of obtaining a business license for the Utilization of Forest Timber Products through Restoration of the Ecosystem (IUPHHK-RE), also known as ERC (Ecosystem Restoration Concession).

Such license was required because since 2002, the BOS Foundation’s orangutan rehabilitation centers in East and Central Kalimantan could no longer reintroduce orangutans into the wild due to unavailability of suitable and secure forests to be allotted as orangutan release sites that meet the bothnational and international standards in quality, carrying capacity and security.

However, based on government regulations, as a non-profit organization the BOS Foundation is not allowed to apply for this license. Therefore solely for that reason, RHOI was established.

On August 18, 2010, RHOI became the first legal ERC license holder of an orangutan habitat restoration concession in Kutai Kartanegara Regency and East Kutai Regency, East Kalimantan, giving RHOI the authority to use and manage 86,450 hectares of rainforest in both regencies and answering the above challenges by providing a sustainable and secure habitat for orangutans for at least 60 years, which can be extended for another 35 years.

Published by the Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia, this ERC license cost RHOI around US$1.4 million. Funds to pay for the license were generously provided by donors and partners of the BOS Foundation in Europe and Australia.

RHOI named this forest concession the Kehje Sewen Forest (pronounced KJ7 Forest), adopting the local Dayak Wehea language in which the words ‘kehje sewen’ mean orangutan. Therefore, the Kehje Sewen Forest is a forest for orangutans.

In addition to providing a home for orangutans, RHOI also undertakes general sustainable forest management activities such as restoration, rehabilitation, environmental management, securing forest area, as well as local community empowerment and involvement through partnerships, forest concession education and training, research and development, and trading (goods and services for non-timber forest products) for domestic and international markets.

RHOI is also currently in the process of applying for a concession license in Central Kalimantan to address challenges in the BOS Foundation’s rehabilitation center in Nyaru Menteng, as well as a license to expand the Kehje Sewen Forest in order to meet the required carrying capacity for the number of orangutans in the BOS Foundation’s rehabilitation center in Samboja Lestari.

This is the beginning step of being fully responsible towards our commitment to bring a brighter future for orangutans and to support the worldwide effort to combat the serious threat of global warming and climate change.