The Future of the Bornean Orangutan

Impacts of Change in Land and Climate

image of The Future of the Bornean Orangutan

Over the past century, orangutan populations in Southeast Asia have seen a very steep decline, driven to the brink of extinction by a host of man-made threats. Deforestation, illegal logging, the expansion of agro-industrial plantations and hunting – these forces combined to isolate orangutans into precarious pockets of forest on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Now, a new threat has emerged: climate change. This report assesses the impacts of land cover change and climate change on Borneo's endangered orangutans. It also examines the major driver of deforestation – the expansion of oil palm – and analyses how various land-use scenarios might impact the region through different climate change projections. As global initiatives are being set in place, it is encouraged to utilize these approaches to ensure a path towards sustainable development, not just for the benefit of humankind, but also for its closest relatives, the orangutans.



Climate change impacts on the suitability of land for oil palm

Conversion of forests, whether primary or degraded, to oilpalm plantations is a major threat to remaining orangutans (Wich et al. 2012) and other biodiversity (Meijaard & Sheil 2013; Foster et al. 2011; Fitzherbert et al. 2008). Historically, the main growing regions for oil palm on Borneo have been in West Kalimantan and Sabah, but increasing demand has spurred a drive for planting in other regions, primarily in Sarawak, as well as Central and East Kalimantan. Demand for oil-palm products continues to increase and is projected to increase further in the future (Corley 2009). Therefore, long-term conservation planning for Borneo's biodiversity should account for potential changes to the extent of this threat as well as the responses of species to the resulting environmental change (Koh & Sodhi 2010).


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error