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Your people and work are wonderful. We are blessed to be able to visit and to help however we can. Thank you for who you are and what you do!

Amory and Judy Hill Lovins / Snowmass/Aspen, Colorado, USA

My heart is full, thak you for your smiles, your kindness, for the beauty the orangutans – I will keep you touched inside my heart when I am home in California – may you all be well & happy.

Camille /

Thank you for all your help, ypur kindness, your smiles and for all the laughter. We had 14 fantastic days here. This is the best nature/animal project in the whoke world. Thank you for helping the animals, the nature and the local people. We will be back….. Hugs and Kisses

Ditte and Michael / ditte[at]orangutang.dk

For all the people at the Samboja Lodge We had a great time here. It is just wonderful and very interesting. So we hope one time we will come back and meet you all again.

Hansjorg and Andrea / Switzerland

Thank you for having us at your beautiful Lodge. Terima kasih banyak.

Luke + Marsha + Kevin + Georgia / Australia

Thank you for an enjoying and enriching stay. The staff of Samboja Lestari did a wonderful job taking care of us. Keep up your good work and care of these beautiful animals and renewal of their (our) environment. We hope to return again some day. Terima kasih banyak.

James Schultz /

Thank you for the nice time and for your extraordinary service!

Ivo - Germany /

Selalu tetap survive, kalau bisa ada ruang pertemuan.

Ihya Ulumuddin (Ekologi ITB) /

Sangat menarik. Bisa membuat hutan rusak menjadi hidup alami dan lingkungannya terpelihara dengan baik. Outstanding

Ova, Bandung /

Semoga sukses dan jaya selalu. Tempatnya ok habiiiisssss.

Jumisah (Tribun Kaltim) /

Samboja is a small village with 10,000 local people, located on the East coast of Borneo, about 35 km north of Balikpapan The provincial capital city of East Kalimantan was established about one hundred years ago when oil was discovered and was once covered in lush forest. The first mechanical logging in all of Indonesia took place in the 1950’s near this village, which opened the door for illegal logging and human encroachment. The forests disappeared, and the landscape became a patchwork of regenerating secondary forest and barren fields. In 1982-1983 and again in 1997-1998, severe drought, causesd by El Nino conditions in East Kalimantan caused two of the worst ever destructions by fire in a tropical rain forest region. Since those disastrous droughts the area has burned every year and as a result alang-alang (Imperata cylindrica) grassland vegetation took over the area, all without any benefit to the local people. In 2001 BOS started buying barren pieces of grassland in Samboja and began an ambitious project to bring the local forests back to this area.
Reforestation/Rehabilitation is the core of the Samboja Lestari project with hundreds of indigenous species planted. By the middle of 2006 more than 740 different tree species were planted, not yet including the special collections in the arboretum (see below). Our wish list includes 1716 selected tree species and every week we manage to get more species from this list. This huge and worldwide unmatched biological diversity in a project starting from scratch is already supporting hundreds of animal species, including nine species of primate, of which 8 showed up spontaneously in this quiet refuge of food rich greenery.

Plant Nursery
The reforestation process and all associated activities begin in the nursery. The general activities of the nursery include fruit, seed and seedling collection and selection, soil treatments for media, pest and disease control, and a wide range of techniques for vegetative propagation. Along with the timber and fruit tree species, BOS Samboja Lestari also houses a collection of medicinal plants as well as trees that yield resins, perfume, soap, edible fats, etc.

The Samboja Lestari program focuses on fruit tree species in order to develop a wildlife sanctuary in the near future, especially for the orangutan. Actually many of our trees were grown from the seeds extracted from the excrements of free roaming orangutans therefore a guarantee that they will support orangutans and other wildlife. The carrying capacity of the Samboja Lestari area for wildlife will be many times greater than the natural forest. Planting of other tree species increases the biodiversity of the area and also benefits research activities and helps the local communities.

The rehabilitation of the area begins by planting shade trees, such as pioneer trees, which help to reduce and kill the alang-alang as well as reducing soil erosion, improving infiltration of water into the soil, slowing down the outflow of water from the area thereby preventing floods and keeping streams alive during dry seasons. The planting of climax species follows a year later when the pioneer trees, just like in the patches of regenerating rain forest, have recreated a suitable microclimate with light shade and better humidity that these original rain forest species need. Rehabilitation activities include field maintenance such as weeding, hoeing, fertilizing, mulching, thinning, pruning, etc.


A total area of 159 hectares, located in the centre of Samboja Lestari, has been allocated for the establishment and development of an arboretum, a huge scientific tree garden twice the size of the famous Bogor botanical garden, in which some 5,000 indigenous tree species and sub-species of Borneo will be planted, along with many other smaller plants. The purpose of the development of this botanical garden is to make a collection of indigenous tree species, to facilitate research especially on the growth and development and phenology (flowering) of the species, and to facilitate environmental education programs for the local communities as well as for school children and older students. Inside the Kukar botanical garden (named after the district in which Samboja Lestari is located) we will also preserve the superior trees that were selected over 20 years of forestry research in East-Kalimantan. Some of these tree are now now the only ones left in Samboja Lestari are extinct in the wild.


Orangutan Reintroduction Program
The Orangutan Reintroduction Project at Wanariset has moved to Samboja Lestari. Several Forest Schools have already been established. Forest Schools are areas that will provide natural, educational playgrounds for the orangutans in which to learn forest skills. Here they will roam freely (but supervised) and be returned to sleeping cages for the night. There is a brand new Clinic and Quarantine area as well as many new forest cages for larger orangutans and a Babies Room for the little ones.


Wildlife Sanctuary
Moving the Wanariset Orangutan Reintroduction Project to Samboja Lestari is only the beginning of what we hope to develop here. The plan is to create a wildlife sanctuary not only for orangutans but for other species as well and provide them with a safe haven with abundant natural foods from rain forest trees. The sanctuary area will be used to house orangutans that can never be released, such as blind or other severely disabled orangutans (missing limbs, epilepsy, stroke, Down syndrome, hospitalismus, etc.) as well as other disenfranchised animals. In addition Samboja Lestari has already established 6 Orangutan Islands, covering a total area of 6.52 hectares, with feeding sites and extra enrichment for a special class of chronically ill orangutans that otherwise would have to spend the rest of their lives in cages (the Islands currently hold a small population of Hep B orangutans). Many more islands will be established, where more orangutans and other wildlife that cannot be returned to the wild can live under almost completely natural conditions.


Sun Bear Sanctuary
Expanding on our wildlife sanctuary promise, the Sun Bear Sanctuary covers a total area of 58 hectares inside Samboja Lestari. It is fenced in by electric wiring and divided into several compartments to accommodate bears of different ages and sex. The sun bears have their own team that monitors their behaviors, diet and behavioral enrichment needs. Sun bears are brought in from all over Indonesia, confiscated from the trade (people use their gall bladders, claws, teeth, skin, skulls and paws) or from people who kept them as a status symbol or handed over by people voluntarily.


Community Development
The Samboja Lestari Program participates strongly in community development through a wide range of activities including providing employment within our various projects, giving opportunities to the local community by involving them in agro-forestry practices (people are allowed to grow fruits and vegetables in between the newly planted trees in Samboja Lestari and sell part of them to the project) and providing training on skills such as making handicrafts produced from Samboja Lestari’s waste wood. BOS helps sell these items around the world to create many more environmentally friendly local jobs for what was until recently the poorest district in East-Kalimantan.

Through these activities the local community has begun to understand and appreciate the benefits of maintaining and protecting their forest environment and in return support the many efforts of Samboja Lestari. One good indicator: Thanks to the fire fighting teams with the local people BOS Samboja Lestari has not lost a single tree to fire!

The parameters for social well being we are using (through a local NGO helping BOS assessing the socio economic impacts of our work) are amongst others the jobless rate, the crime rate and the people’s general health condition. Since the regeneration activities began in Samboja Lestari, the village of Samboja has decreased its unemployment rate dramatically thereby increasing the average income level of the area. Local crime which was high, has disappeared. The number of hospital visits is steadily decreasing. If only we could measure the quantity of smiles BOS is generating!

Forest Research
Some parts of Samboja Lestari are reserved as tree research areas. Research topics include: the growth and comparisons of different tree species, hydrology, meteorology, plant physiology, species site matching, space based monitoring, etc.
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