How we plant a rainforest
As we prepare the land for planting, we build tree nurseries and train the local people. We start by planting fast-growing ‘pioneer’ species, such as sungkai and marak, which provide shade for slower-growing trees from extreme heat, and fallen leaves providing richer soil in which to take root.
We plant hardwood and fruiting trees, including durian (orangutans’ favourite!), remove weeds and add organic compost, nurturing the young trees. Birds start to return to the area, speeding up the natural regeneration and increasing the diversity of the new forest by ‘planting’ seeds in their droppings.
By now, the pioneer species planted in year 1 are creating a forest canopy, shading out weeds and creating the right microclimate for a rainforest to grow. We add a mixture of additional tree species, to ensure that the new forest has good diversity – just like a natural rainforest.
Year 4 onwards
Pioneer trees may be 9-10 metres tall, and hardwood and fruiting trees around 5-6 metres tall, providing a safe nesting spot for orangutans. Wildlife is returning to the area, including orangutans and elephants, and the once-barren landscape is buzzing with life!