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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
An orangutan feeding in the canopy
An orangutan feeding in the canopy

It has been a great month for the new orangutan research team in Sumatra. 

Based at our flagship forest restoration site in the Gunung Leuser National Park, the team have been tasked with following orangutans in the new and secondary forest, and collecting data on their behaviour and feeding habits, to compare with orangutans living in primary forest areas.

After following a mother orangutan with her infant for two days, the team met three more orangutans, just 1km from the restoration cabin. These orangutans were found to be having what the researchers referred to as 'a food party' in a particular fruiting tree, a Marak Bangkong tree (Endospermum diadenum). 

Orangutans are usually solitary animals, not living or travelling in groups like the African great apes, but when a particularly favoured tree is fruiting, it is possible to see several orangutans, and other animals too, all eating together.

The team followed the mother (named Pebi) and her 7 month old baby (named Panizo) for ten days in total, before then starting to following and observe a young male orangutan, named Baneng and thoughts to be 3 years old.

The research team has taken some great photos of the orangutans in the restored forest - this is the best evidence possible that forest restoration really does provide viable habitat for orangutans, and we're delighted to be able to share these images of wild orangutans feeding in the trees that you helped us to plant - thank you so much for all your support, and please help us plant even more trees!

A mother orangutan & her infant
A mother orangutan & her infant
Three orangutans feeding from the same tree
Three orangutans feeding from the same tree
Seedlings in the nursery
Seedlings in the nursery

There's a lot of work involved in planting a rainforest. Once the tree seedlings are planted, the team in Sumatra then set to work making sure they have the best possible chance of survival. This isn't always easy in harsh tropical conditions - when land has been deforested, the soil may be dry and cracked, and flood quickly when it rains.

One of the ways they help the new seedlings to thrive is through a process of 'maintenance'. This involves weeding, cutting back any foliage that may be overshadowing the newly planted trees which need lots of sunlight, and adding compost and mulch.

The restoration crew have also been busy with enrichment planting. This involves planting indigenous rainforest tree seedlings on tracts of land that are naturally regenerating, and increasing the species diversity on areas of replanted land, for example by adding in slow-growing 'climax' tree species. They have conducted enrichment on more than 60 hectares in the last couple of months.

The team also conducts research and collects data to support the restoration process. They record the presence of young leaves, flowers and fruit on the trees throughout the year, and compare the primary forest with the trees in the restoration site, so that they can predict fruiting seasons and the best time of year to plant certain species. 

As you can see, planting a tree is just the start, and we are rather fond of the saying "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."

With your support, we are bringing life back to devastated landscapes. Would you like to join us on an expedition to Sumatra to see the forests that your donations are helping to restore? See below for more information.

Growing a forest
Growing a forest
Orangutans need trees!
Orangutans need trees!

Links:

Al Jazeera's Earthrise series has been to Sumatra to explore the threats to orangutans and their forests, and the frontline projects that offer hope for the survival of the species - including our forest restoration work with our partner organisation, the Orangutan Information Centre (OIC). You can also see conservation technology in action as our conservation drones take to the skies to monitor deforestation in the Leuser Ecosystem. This short film really brings the project to life - please have a watch and share it far and wide - we need more awareness of the power of positive conservation action!

The film features Panut Hadisiswoyo, the head of the OIC, and David Dellatore, SOS Programme Manager.

Links:

Bagong poses for the camera!
Bagong poses for the camera!

One of the best ways to see the real impact of our project to plant trees for orangutans and other wildlife is to use camera traps to see animals returning to the restoration site. These nifty bits of kit are set up in the new forest and in the nearby primary forest, and take a snap every time an animal walks in front of them. 

We always love checking the cameras to see who's been roaming past, and we got a treat recently when one camera captured a photo of a very special orangutan.

Bagong - a 30 year old flanged male orangutan - looks like he's posing for our camera trap. Two years ago our rescue team relocated him from farmland, where he was threatened with being shot for crop raiding, He now looks to be enjoying life in the Gunung Leuser National Park! Bagong is a bit of a local celebrity, as his longcall can be heard booming through the forest for miles around!

Bagong, and all orangutans, need trees! Please consider setting up a regular monthly gift to support this project, and help us restore more critical forest for orangutans and the many other species they share their habitat with.

Orangutan caught on camera
Orangutan caught on camera

The Leuser Ecosystem is threatened with development under a regional plan which could wipe out millions of acres of prime rainforest. This is the only place on earth where critically endangered orangutans live alongside rhinos, elephants and tigers. SOS and its partner the Orangutan Information Centre are now part of a consortium which aims to prevent the devastation.

The regional plan would enable mining, road building and oil palm plantations to deforest the ecosystem on a massive scale.   The Consortium has two main aims: to stop, with legal challenges if necessary, the plan going ahead; to establish ways of protecting key areas.  These include setting up patrols to enforce protection and stop poaching, and promoting a spatial plan of its own which has protection of the ecosystem and its rare biodiversity at its heart. Your donations are helping all this go ahead.

There is also the practical work on the ground which is making such a big difference. Your donations have helped us see rare species return to our restoration site. Excitingly these camera trap images, taken in June, show the potential of forest restoration for attracting back orangutans and elephants. We now have eight organic tree nurseries established, providing jobs and training for the local community, and have planted well over a million trees. On July 16 it’s Bonus Day on Global Giving so your donations are worth 40% with match funding.  Please support us by donating through the website between 9am and 11.59pm EDT. Your help will make a really big difference. Thank you.

Elephant parade
Elephant parade
 

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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
$92,992 raised of $150,000 goal
 
1,522 donations
$57,008 to go
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