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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
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
Orangutan spotted this morning!
Orangutan spotted this morning!

We have been fortunate to work with several experts in forest regeneration, who spend time with the restoration team in Sumatra, helping them develop and try out new techniques to make the project even more successful. One such expert is Paul Daley from Australia, who is spending 12 months in Besitang, supporting the tree nursery and planting work, and documenting the impact that the project is having for wildlife.

We were delighted when, this morning, Paul sent us a photo from the field - of a young male orangutan in the trees right next to the restoration cabin! This was a wonderful moment for the whole team. They have seen wild orangutans and their nests in the area before, regularly hear their booming long calls in the adjacent forest, and one of the camera traps even captured an image of a big male cheekpadder walking on the ground a few weeks ago - but this curious young male was an exciting close encounter!

It's sightings like this that make all the hard work worthwhile - to know that the trees we are planting are genuinely creating vital habitat for orangutans and other wildlife. And as we always say, it's the support of the local community that make this project such a success, as they are so deeply committed to ensuring that this corner of the park is safe from destruction.

Thank you for your gift to this project - forest and wildlife are returning to a once-barren landscape, and it's wonderful.

For an exclusive opportunity to visit the restoration team, spending two days at the replanting site leanring about this project, you can join a special trip to Sumatra in September, also including jungle trekking and the chance to see orangutans in the wild. See http://orangutans-sos.org/visit_sumatra for more details.

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
$91,851 raised of $150,000 goal
 
1,487 donations
$58,149 to go
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