Skills to identify and help resolve environmental challenges
In the main Lamin (i.e. longhouse building) we have several mobile education exhibits. These focus on two important areas in Balikpapan, specifically the Bay of Balikpapan and the Sungai Wain Protection Forest. Both of these are unique areas, and incredibly important to Balikpapan and the wider world, but also under sever threat.
The Sungai Wain Protection Forest is a 10.000 hectare rainforest reserve (Hutan Lindung) within the boundaries of Balikpapan. This forest is an incredibly important watercatchment area, and has been providing (free!) fresh water for the oil refinery in Balikpapan (2nd largest in Indonesia!), which is the backbone of the economic development of Balikpapan.
Sungai Wain is still home to many endangered and endemic species including sun bears, orangutans, and many other primate species. The forest is managed by the Sungai Wain Management Board, and although management has improved as compared to the early 1990s, threats are still very high to this last patch of primary coastal rainforest. About half of the reserve was affected by forest fires during the sever El Nino drought in 1998, illegal logging used to be rampant, and now people are still trying to encroach, hunt and carry out illegal logging. In June 2014 a group of illegal loggers was arrested…and the battle goes on.
The Balikpapan Bay is an extremely rich ecosystem, and home to a significant population of endemic proboscis monkeys. Even the Irrawaday dolpin and finless porpoise can be found is the bay. The mangroves in the Bay of Balikpapan are unique in terms of that they grow to huge sizes. Ecotourism potential used to be huge, but now various industrial estates are (illegally) developing oil palm factories, coal plants etc without regard to the environment. If this continues, not only will this unique habitat with all its endemic wildlife be destroyed forever, but the livelihood of all the fishermen depending on these fish breeding grounds will also be destroyed.
Very sad if that happens under our open eyes!
This exhibit was developed with the help of Pro Natura Foundation.