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Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia

by Sumatran Orangutan Society
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Credit Paul HIlton
Credit Paul HIlton

Bring back the forest

An Indonesian oil palm plantation is up for sale and we have a golden opportunity to buy this land and restoring the lush forest that once stood there.

This will provide shelter for orangutans and other endangered animals, and create a vital asset for local communities. By donating, you will help return this land to the forest and wildlife to whom it once belonged.

Our plan is simple. Working with our Indonesian partners — an organisation called Yayasan Orangutan Sumatera Lestari (YOSL) — we will buy and restore this 890 acre site to its former natural glory. Removing the oil palms and replanting the forest will encourage orangutans and other wildlife to return, extending their habitat from the neighbouring national park.

Forest restoration projects involve local communities from the start.

We know this works, because YOSL have an excellent track record, working closely with local communities to bring forests back to life. They already manage several other restoration sites in the region as you know, and so far have planted over 1.6 million trees. Orangutans, elephants and sun bears are returning to these areas — your donation will help create a new home for these threatened species.

This is an amazing opportunity, but we only have a few weeks to seal the deal. We need to raise the first installment by 9 September 2018 to secure the land, otherwise the land could continue to be a plantation, devoid of wildlife.

Thank you for all the support you give.

Rachel

credit Andrew Walmsley
credit Andrew Walmsley
credit Andrew Walmsley
credit Andrew Walmsley

Links:

Barking deer
Barking deer

One of the most exciting things about forest restoration work is watching wild animals start to return to areas that were previously barren and silent. All our restoration sites are monitored by camera traps as well as by people, so we get lovely images beaming in from across the world - monkeys running past the camera, pigs snuffling in the undergrowth and even elephants moving carefully past in the night.

We're really hopeful that this week's Global Giving Rewards bonus day will bring in even more funds for our Replanting Rainforest project, ensuring that animals continue to appear on our screens for years to come.

If you make a donation on July 18th, it will be match-funded, increasing your impact for the rainforests of Sumatra. We, and the animals, are truly grateful.

Marbled cat
Marbled cat
Pig-tailed macaque
Pig-tailed macaque
Sumatran elephant
Sumatran elephant
reforestation area
reforestation area

In the last few months we have been working on 4 restoration sites at Singkil, Halaban, Bukit Mas and Baharok.

Singkil Wildlife Reserve

The restoration site at Singkil is around 10km fromSinebuk Pusaka village, East Trumon sub-district. The first phase therefore was to build a cabin where the team can live. This was started in January.

We also have formed restoration team consist of four local people, who will live in the site and assist the team in every restoration activities in Singkil.

Our restoration manager provided in-site training to the team to build their capacity.

The topics include are

1) introduction to pioneer and climax plants,

2) knowledge about nursery and germination house,

3) how to make compost fertilizer and planting medium for germination house,

4) seedling production techniques,

5) technique how to transport seedlings and plant in line,

6) planting and maintenance techniques,

7) seedling monitoring and tree-growth monitoring.

The training aims to enrich local people’s knowledge and skill, as this helps to ensure the long-term project objectives are achieved.                                       

Nursery Construction

We started the nursery in February and we are planning to produce 30,000 seedlings in it. It was challenging to transport some of the necessary materials in to Singkil. We also bought new tools for the restoration team to support their activities in the nursery.

Seedling Productions

We started seedling production in March, the target is 30,000 seedlings to be planted in area of 150 Ha. By end of March there are already 10,000 put in polybags and local communities are actively involved in seedling productions.

Halaban

In Halaban, we have re-planted 150 seedlings to replace seedlings which were destroyed by boars and elephants. In addition, we have maintained a 5 Ha area.  

Bukit Mas

In the period of January to March, we have conducted tree maintenance in total area of 15 Ha. This means extensive weeding of some of the voracious grasses which otherwise steal the majority of the nutrition from the soil. We also planted 2 Ha of trees, (around 1,000 trees per hectare). This was a combination of fast-growing species and fruiting trees, which tend to grow more slowly, but help to attract wildlife to the newly replanted area.

Bahorok

In January, we started tree planting in area of 8 Ha, followed by maintenance and tree arrangement to create density in the area. The site also produced 5000 seedlings. This is to restore forest in a peatland site, so the first stage is to clear the area of rubber trees, grass and shrubs to give the trees a chance. We planted a mixture of fast-growing pioneer species and fruiting species which are popular with wildlife, such as Durian.

Each of these sites is at a different stage in their reforestation. At Halaban, where the forest already attracts animals, such as elephants, orangutans and sun-bears, the work is mainly weeding and replanting where gaps appear, as well as monitoring progress. In new sites, such as Singkil, you will see the initial stages of setting up a new reforestation project are much more intensive.

Thank you for your support in making this possible. 

Carrying kit to distant Singkil site
Carrying kit to distant Singkil site
local community planting seedlings in Singkil
local community planting seedlings in Singkil
tree maintenance at Halaban
tree maintenance at Halaban
Training new team in the field Singkil
Training new team in the field Singkil
Finished cabin for staff and volunteers to sleep
Finished cabin for staff and volunteers to sleep

Links:

Aerial shot of reforestation at Halaban
Aerial shot of reforestation at Halaban

The restoration team at OIC are currently working on restoring six different areas of forest. This gives you an idea of the scale of the work on reforestation in Sumatra at the moment. Although there are still forest encroachments, the speed of forest destruction seems to be finally slowing and a will emerging from government authorities not just to be seen to be doing the right thing, but actually doing it. Slow progress, but progress nontheless.

1. Halaban

In 2017, 7700 new seedlings were grown in the nursery, consisting of 29 species of plants. Here the team are mainly focused on tree maintenance in the 15 Hectares of forest. In the cover photo, you can see the imapct of reforestation, the re-greenng. You can also see the older pristine forest at the top of the picture. 

The camera traps at Halaban have picked up an interesting array of species in the last 3 months, including the critically endangered Sumatran tiger (only 600 left in the wild) and elephant. This is fantastic news as it means they see the replanted forest as a viable habitat.

2. Bukit Mas

Bukit Mas is a 50 hectare site which used to be an oil palm plantation. In 2017, 45 hectares were restored, with a total of 5,000 seedlings planted consisting of 20 different species. Most recent efforts have focused on maintaining existing saplings, through extensive mulching and grass removal.

For those of you with an interest in tree species and creating a viable rainforest from scratch, I have attached a list of all the seedling species listed. It gives you an idea of how diverse a natural rainforest is and how the team work to replicate that biodiversity. The team uses a combination of fast-growing trees, which create a canopy under which slower-growing fruiting trees can flourish. 

Sadly in November 2017, heavy rain led to flooding, which affected the Bukit Mas restoration site and destroyed 3000 trees.  The lost trees have been replaced by 2000 seedlings, although obviously these will take a while to grow.

3. Cinta Raja III

The team first started planting in June 2017 at this site and quickly planted 16,500 seedlings from 22 different species, covering 15 hectares. The second phase of planting took place in November 2017 and the new growth now consists of over 33,000 seedlings covering a total of 30 hectares. 

There are 6 camera traps installed in Cinta Raja III restoration site. Obviously as the planting here is only around 6 months old, it is less likely that some of the larger species would be using the site already, but the proliferation of smaller species is a good sign and will help to fertilise the soil.

4. Bahorok

Bahorok was an area of forest, which was frequently being targeted by illegal loggers and poachers until the Gunung Leuser National Park authority took it back in October 2017. Forest restoration started in December 2017.  We need to plant 10,000 seedlings to reforest the 8 hectare site. By the end of December, we had already planted over 7,000 of these. 

In order to avoid a long journey into the forest and back out again at a time critical for the trees’ growth, we are building a cabin, which should be ready by February.  It will consist of one bedroom and one bathroom, to facilitate the staff lives in Bahorok. The local community have been building the new cabin. 

5. Sineubeuk – Kranji , Bakongan

This is a new restoration area and as such, we built two cabins to house staff and volunteers in November 2017, one at Sineubeuk Kranji village, and the other at Bukit Gading village.  This means the locals can now focus on building the nursery and producing seedlings to transplant into the forest. 

6. Singkil

Restoration project in Singkil started in November 2017. It was initiated by cutting down 70 hectares of oil palm trees. This was a joint project with The Nature Conservancy Agency in Aceh, Police department, WCS, Leuser Conservation Forum (FKL), and Agro Sinergi Utama (ASN) Plantation Company.  This type of joint initiative is important for OIC as it means sharing resources and learning from groups with the same aims, This area of peat forest not only has incredible biodiversity, the trees help to keep the peat wet and in place and stop soil erosion. Amongst other things, when these areas are logged, the peat dries out and burns and can lead to the awful haze which people in South-East Asia know so well. The methods involved in peat re-wetting is a new area of learning for the OIC staff team and we look forward to carrying the expertise developed to other similar projects in the future.

Following the cutting down of the 1,748 palm oil trees in December 2017, there were several meetings with local community leaders, who decided they wanted to be involved in the project and offered to help with the construction of the restoration cabin.

where is halaban and where are camera traps?
where is halaban and where are camera traps?
Species caught on camera halaban
Species caught on camera halaban
Tree species at Bukit Mas
Tree species at Bukit Mas
Where is Cinta Raja and where are camera traps?
Where is Cinta Raja and where are camera traps?
Halaban Regrowth
Halaban Regrowth

Links:

Nursery Construction
Nursery Construction

Five restoration sites on the go!

Sumatran Orangutans are Critically Endangered according to the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), and this is mainly due to the disappearance of their habitat. Thousands of hectares of forest have already been converted to other land uses in the Gunung Leuser National Park and its adjacent protected areas. That’s why the work of our field teams is so important to save the Red Ape!

During the last 3 months, we intervened in five restoration sites, at different stages of restoration. In Bukit Mas and Halaban, our oldest projects still active, the activities focused on the maintenance of secondary forest over 25 hectares. Maintenance consists of pruning tall trees and keeping the planting lines clear of grass, to avoid young trees dying. We also replanted 600 trees belonging to four fast-growing species over 1.5 hectare, with the help of local students and visitors.

In Halaban, 11 camera traps have been placed in strategic areas to observe wildlife. And we have been happy to see Sumatran elephants roaming freely in our site! Unfortunately almost all our cameras are now out of order due to humidity and moisture accumulated during the last months of usage. If you want to keep seeing how orangutans and other animals are benefitting from our restoration work, consider a donation for this project!

In Cinta Raja, an area located inside the Gunung Leuser National Park formerly encroached by oil palm farmers, 30,000 trees have been planted or are in nursery. This is already a huge effort to restore the 70 hectares devastated of lush rainforest destroyed by greed and illegal activities. 

Finally, two other sites will be operating in the next 3 months. In Bakongan, our teams proceeded to map the 50 hectare area and involve the local community in the restoration work. After training, local farmers will be selected to conduct the reforestation along with our expert team.

In Singkil, one of the most important peatland areas of Sumatra, our team conducted mapping over the 150 hectares of the site. Peatlands are incredibly important for fighting climate change as well as being the area with densest orangutan population due to the fertility of the soil, which produces abundant fruit. Our field team is currently working with experts in peatland restoration from the United Stated to learn peat rewetting and hydrology techniques.

In both sites, we are designing the best work plans to implement a successful programme, alongside the local authorities. In November and January, we will build the main installations (team camp, nurseries) and in January 2018, seed collection will start. 

As Rio Ardie, our restoration project manager, says: “Working in these two new sites, Bakongan and Singkil, is a beautiful challenge and key to protecting orangutans. We are so proud of all our supporters around the world who donate so we can carry on our work”.

In the name of all the team, we thank you very much for caring about orangutans and their habitat.

If you are able to maker an additional gift on Giving Tuesday, November 28th, this will help us access match funding from other donors. Thank you.

nursery
nursery
seedlings
seedlings
maintenance
maintenance
Students volunteering
Students volunteering

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Sumatran Orangutan Society

Location: Abingdon, Oxon - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @orangutansSOS
Project Leader:

UK Director
Abingdon, Oxfordshire United Kingdom
$92,982 raised of $150,000 goal
 
1,521 donations
$57,018 to go
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