The local Besitang community planting trees
Guardians of the forest...
Since beginning our forest restoration work in Besitang in 2008, we have seen a wonderful reaction from the community. Hundreds of local people sprung into action to help us build organic tree nurseries and plant more than 400,000 trees at this site to date, 180,000 over the last year alone. This grassroots support is the key to the success of the programme, and indeed of all of our projects in Sumatra. By equipping the local people with the motivation and tools to take responsibility for this area of the national park, they have become true guardians of the forest. We are delighted to announce that encroachment into the Sei Betung region of the Gunung Leuser National Park, where our Besitang rainforest restoration site is based, has ceased completely – a major achievement, which we hope can be replicated in other areas which are still under threat.
...and Gardeners of the forest
As well as planting trees, the restoration team have been implementing an innovative new approach: using artificial perches to encourage birds into the restoration site to accelerate natural regeneration.
“Birds are excellent seed dispersers” says Ari, our Restoration Manager. “We are planting fast growing tree species that attract birds and other animals to forage in the restoration site, and these animals bring seeds from a wide variety of rainforest tree species. We got the idea when we saw a dead tree in the restoration site with many different types of plants growing naturally around it. We then observed that the dead tree was being used as a perch for various bird species. We began making artificial perches using dead tree branches.” There are now more than 30 within the rainforest restoration site in Besitang. We have already seen a variety of birds using the perches; species including Cerocok, Kipasan Mutiara, Perkutu Jawa, Kirik-kirik biru, Kacer, Striped Parrot and Woodpecker.”
Just two months after installing the perches, the restoration team spotted several different tree species growing naturally around them. “They have been brought here by the birds, which must have dispersed the seeds while perching,” says Ari. Plants recorded include Marak Gajah, Sirih-Sirih, Turi-Turi, Kandri, Luingan, Tapak Gajah, Daun Tempe Tempe, Halaban and Senggani. “Most of these are fast growing ‘pioneer’ species that will help shade out weeds,” explains Ari. “They commonly attract wildlife including birds and primates too, as they have fruits. And our team spotted an orangutan nest in Marak Gajah trees in the restoration site!”
Ari installs a bird perch
A Betet loreng makes use of a perch!