In September 2019, Werner & Mertz owner Reinhard Schneider received the German Environmental Award from the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU). He donated his prize money of 250,000 EUR to BOS Deutschland for the reforestation of the Mawas reserve, one of Indonesia’s largest peatlands. Mawas is covered with a peat layer up to 15 meters deep where C02 and other greenhouse gases from the past 8000 years are stored. Mawas also is home to 2600 orangutans living in the wild and 48 other critically endangered species (including a recently discovered frog).
In the 1990s as part of a gigantic government-planned construction project, 4,000 kilometers of canals were dug to drain the swamp and clear the forest. The project was abandoned in 1998 and four years later the land was burned. What remains is a fire-threatened 70,000-square hectar area which continuously emits greenhouse gases.
BOS is working to stabilise the Mawas damaged eco system to prevent further forest fires. The plan calls for establishing the most valuable type of forest for the climate – a wooded peatbog – on the degraded wasteland. It should create a natural habitat for many endangered species, including orangutans, frogs and several types of plants. Among other things, the donation goes towards restoring 80 hectars of rainforest and planting 100,000 trees.