Volunteer with Borneo Nature Foundation

Borneo Nature Foundation

Palangka Raya, Indonesia, South East Asia

The Borneo Nature Foundation is a not-for-profit conservation and research organisation. We work to protect some of the most important areas of tropical rainforest, and to safeguard the wildlife, environment and indigenous culture on Borneo.

Throughout our programmes, we support and empower community-led initiatives to protect forest and biodiversity, including anti-logging patrols, fire-fighting teams, environmental education and the replanting and restoration of damaged forests. All our field programmes include high-quality scientific research as a basis for protecting and managing forests, and we have particular expertise in monitoring the distribution, population status, behaviour and ecology of Borneo’s flagship ape species; the endangered orangutan and southern Bornean gibbon. We provide training and capacity building for local students, researchers and conservation-area managers, and work with a number of local partners to implement successful conservation projects.

Our longest running programme, the Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop), was founded in 1999. We identified the Sabangau Forest as home to the largest orangutan population in the world, bringing the region to the forefront of orangutan conservation efforts and resulting in the award of National Park status in 2004. Here we carry out long-term ecological research; contribute to peatland restoration efforts and support local initiatives to manage and protect peat-swamp forest habitat. We are proud to support, advise and fundraise for the TSA Kalteng Community Patrol Team and other fire-fighting units in Central Kalimantan, who put their lives on the line to stop fires and save forest.

In Barito Ulu we have adopted the management of the former University of Cambridge research station, one of the longest-running research programmes in Kalimantan. This site is in a critical region in the south of the Heart of Borneo landscape and has been used for orangutan reintroductions. The Rungan River Orangutan Conservation Programme is our newest programme, where we are working with local stakeholders with the aim to protect up to 100,000 hectares of forest within a multi-use landscape. This is a critical region that contains one of the largest populations of orangutans outside of protected areas on Borneo.

Alongside these programmes we work with a wide range of partners throughout Kalimantan to survey biodiversity, make recommendations on forest management, support conservation efforts and advise on national and international strategies to protect the natural habitats and wildlife of the island of Borneo.

Our Activities

What We Need

In the Sabangau Forest (Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo) we monitor the behaviour, distribution, density and ecology of orangutans, gibbons and red langur monkeys; survey biodiversity; and monitor changes in forest structure, productivity, regeneration and disturbance in the different peat-swamp forest habitat types. Satellite camps are positioned at sites along the upper Sabangau River where we collect data to assess trends in condition of the forest and its wildlife. The results provide feedback on forest condition, allowing us to report on any issues and assess the effectiveness of our conservation activities. This is a lot of work and we couldn't do it without the help of volunteers. We need people who will thrive in a remote jungle setting in a small camp with simple facilities. In return we offer a challenging, exciting and educational experience of field research and conservation in the Bornean rainforest.

Volunteers gain a wide variety of skills from navigation to field ecology and surveying techniques, to peat-swamp forest restoration approaches. We offer a window into a career in conservation biology and, hopefully an unforgettable experience!

As a volunteer, you will work alongside our field scientists to help collect research data and gain an in-depth understanding of the importance of our field projects. You'll learn about habitat and biodiversity monitoring techniques, as well as a range of forest skills, and participate in discussions related to current issues in ecology and conservation led by our scientists. Asides from the biodiversity research, this programme will also involve cultural exchange with the surrounding community and our education team, and an introduction to our conservation and habitat restoration projects.
Volunteers will assist with some or all of the following long-term research and conservation projects:
- Orangutan and gibbon population density surveys
- Camera trap project
- Invertebrate and vertebrate species surveys such as butterflies, birds and frogs
- Habitat structure and forestry research, which involves establishing and measuring tree plots
- Habitat restoration and reforestation project. Volunteers will help with the seedling nursery potentially including replanting saplings and measuring growth rates.
- Volunteers will go on expedition to a remote forest camp for a week or so, to undertake monitoring of ape populations and other biodiversity.
- Other short-term research projects.

The volunteer expedition lasts for six weeks in two sessions: first-from June 20th-July 31st 2017 and the second-from August 6th-September 16th 2017.
The volunteer expedition lasts for six weeks in two sessions: first-from June 20th-July 31st 2017 and the second-from August 6th-September 16th 2017.

What We Provide


The fee covers accommodation in Palangka Raya, airport pickup, transport to and from camp, use and maintenance of base camp and facilities (including electricity, food, cooks, equipment and medical supplies), Indonesian field assistants, travel to remote survey sites, visa fees, and a trip to the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) Orangutan Reintroduction Centre.

The fee also includes an important contribution to the long-term conservation of Borneo Nature Foundation and our partners, University of Palangka Raya, to support Forest Patrol Unit and Firefighting Teams. Costs you will also need to cover include international and internal airfares, and travel insurance. Day-to-day costs are typically small and may include drinks, snacks and souvenirs.

Important Info

Suitable For


Minimum Stay

Any period of time

Staff Size

20 to 50 people


The cost to volunteer for six weeks is £1,675. Please note that this does not cover all travel expenses.



Your Contact Person

Palangka Raya, Indonesia.

Other Information

If you are interested in applying, please send the completed application form (request via email) and your CV to join@borneonature.org. We allocate volunteer places on a first-come first-served basis, so it is essential you send your completed application, which you can download from our website (http://www.borneonaturefoundation.org/en/join/volunteers-2017/) as soon as possible.

What are you waiting for?

We at Borneo Nature Foundation would love to hear from you!