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Hutan worker looks up at jungle
and Restore Nature
2022 Finalist


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In Malaysian Borneo, research organisation Hutan is working with the local community to develop a more harmonious coexistence between its wildlife and people.

Their Story

The forests of the Kinabatangan floodplain in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, are among the richest and most biodiverse in the world. They are home to the endangered Bornean orangutan, elephant, proboscis monkey, and clouded leopard. In 1996, Isabelle Lackman co-founded Hutan, a grassroots wildlife research and conservation organisation empowering the local community to protect its unique natural heritage.

Past human activities, however, have broken up large swathes of the Kinabatangan natural forest into fragments. Orangutans and other wildlife are now trapped inside isolated forest patches, with no alternative other than venturing through agricultural land and villages when moving between islands of protected forest.

Human-wildlife conflicts have erupted at the border of the forest fragments, affecting local communities and plantations. Today, the region’s iconic wildlife species are facing the risk of becoming extinct.

For the past 25 years, Hutan with its 100 staff from the local Sungai community, has thoroughly studied and monitored the region’s biodiversity, from wild orangutan and elephant research to hornbill and frog surveys.

This solid science revealed that wildlife could survive in the future if allowed to travel freely and safely between the remaining fragments of protected habitat. These findings now guide Hutan’s efforts to create strategic wildlife corridors and to reforest degraded areas with native trees, ensuring safe passage, food and shelter to orangutans and other species. At the same time, Hutan provides environmental education and training to communities and landowners to live side-by-side with wildlife.

After becoming Finalists in 2022, Hutan were introduced to the Ecological Restoration Fund by The Earthshot Prize, who provided them with a grant to help them improve biodiversity in the farms and forests of Kinabatangan in Malaysia.

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Other 2022 Protect & Restore Nature Finalists

Learn About the Earthshots

and Restore

By 2030, we choose to ensure that, for the first time in human history, the natural world is growing – not shrinking – on our planet. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Protecting areas of high biodiversity such as forests, wetland, peatlands and wildlife corridors
  2. Restoring damaged ecosystems
  3. Feeding people while protecting nature
Learn more about this Earthshot

Clean Our

By 2030 we choose to ensure that everyone in the world breathes clean, healthy air – at World Health Organization standard or better. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Engaging citizens in data collection and clean air policies
  2. Preventing the burning of fields, forests and waste
  3. Transitioning to clean transportation for all
Learn more about this Earthshot

Revive Our

By 2030, we choose to repair and preserve our oceans for future generations. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Protecting and restoring coastal ecosystems
  2. Replenishing fish populations
  3. Reducing demand for fishmeal
Learn more about this Earthshot

Build a

By 2030, we choose to build a world where nothing goes to waste, where the leftovers of one process become the raw materials of the next – just like they do in nature. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Reducing food loss from farm to fork
  2. Phasing out single-use and non-recycled plastics
  3. High-value circularity in fashion and electronics
Learn more about this Earthshot

Fix Our

We choose to fix the world’s climate by cutting out carbon: building a carbon neutral economy that lets every culture, community and country thrive. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Creating an equitable clean energy future
  2. Addressing non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions
  3. Decarbonising hard to abate sectors
Learn more about this Earthshot
The Earthshot Prize