Category Archives: Tree Planting

Yayorin’s mobile conservation bus

We recently received a comment on our from Dwi Triyanto asking about Yayorin’s mobile bus. Eddy Santoso, from Yayorin, has sent this short update. You can find out more about Yayorin’s inspiring work on their Facebook page.


Eddy Santoso of Yayorin

‘Yayorin’s Mobile Bus has been busy ferrying various organisations including the Indonesian Forestry Department’s fire-fighting agency (Manggala Agni), Agency for Conservation of Natural Resources (BKSDA Kalteng SKW II) and students from the Conservation Club of 3 high schools in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.  The groups all assisted with reforestation in Tanjung Keluang Natural Tourism Park, where hawksbill turtles and green turtles lay their eggs.

Yayorin’s mobile bus on a school visit. Photo by Yayorin

In April and May of this year the bus transported the public to plant trees as part of Earth Day and also took students from a local school to the forests of Tanjung Puting National Park. Last month, the bus transported 180 student from Pangkalan Bun to Yayorin’s Sustainable Integrated Agriculture Learning Centre at the village of Sungai Sintuk for a 3 day field trip. The bus is out and about spreading Yayorin’s message ‘People need the forests, forests need orangutans‘.”

If you are interested in sponsoring Yayorin’s mobile bus then please contact us for further information or visit their Facebook page.

Thank you for your continued interest and support,

Orangutan Foundation

Orangutan Awareness in Borneo – ‘planting trees for the future’

Togu Simorangkir, director of Yayorin (Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia), our local partners, sent through some photo’s of their Orangutan Awareness Week activities. 

Yayorin’s theme for Orangutan Awareness Week 2009 is ‘Planting trees for the future’. They are targeting villages surrounding areas of orangutan habitat.

 Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia -school campaign

School Presentation – photo © Yayorin

Their school campaign involves presentations, mobile library, film show, quiz and games.

 Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia - school campaign

 Quiz and games – photo © Yayorin

Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia - Mobile library

Mobile library – photo © Yayorin

At the community level they have organised an exhibition, puppet show and film show. 

 Yayasan Oangutan Indonesia - Village campaign

Film showphoto © Yayorin

 Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia - Puppet show

 Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia - puppet show

Puppet show – photo © Yayorin

On Sunday 15 November, Yayorin we will be planting trees in Tanjung Putri village and in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve buffer zone. In total about 1500 trees will be planted by students and communities. 

 Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia - tree seedlings

Seedlings to be planted – photo © Yayorin

Yayorin will also be promoting “cheap in your own land” – a campaign to change the slash and burn agriculture method to sustainable permanent agriculture. 

 Yayorin OAW 2009 badge

Yayorin’s Orangutan Awareness Week 2009 badge ‘planting trees for the future’, which they produce and give away for free.

We’ll post about what we’ve been up to in the UK tomorrow, Orange for Orangutan Day – go on, go orange and support our work, it’s not too late!



Orangutan Foundation – UK office

Who patrols the logging concessions?

A quick answer to Sheryl’s question about David Hagan’s blog Vounteering in Belantikan – Morning Commute , “Are there police patrolling this logging concession? Is there no plan in place to replant trees to rebuild the forest?”.

Logging concessionaires have police on check points on access routes into their concessions, because illegal logging isn’t just a problem for the National Parks, it occurs in many forms. The police, however, only monitor local people who try to extract trees – they are on the side of the concessionaire. It is the Forestry Department who monitor the activities of the concessionaires. The operator in Belantikan seems reasonably respectful of the law. In other areas the ‘legal’ loggers are less responsible.

Personally, I think our partners Yayorin (, a local Indonesian NGO, deserve big credit for the behaviour of the concessionaire in Belantikan. By simply being there, they are helping to keep everyone on the straight and narrow. As for replanting, there is a reforestation program but one hopes the forest there will recover on its own. The soils are more fertile than those we have in the lowlands and there should still be a crop of regenerating young trees left behind.

Here, there and everywhere!

I hope the orangutans appreciate it! In the past two weeks, I have gone from Pangkalan Bun to Jakarta and back, Sukamara and back, and finally to Sebangau National Park and back; the last journey involving a cramped 10 hour overnight bus ride. In all that time, while I have seen their nests, I did not once lay eyes on a wild orangutan 🙁

This is an extraordinary amount of travelling, particularly so late in the year which is usually our quiet time. The meetings in Jakarta concerned the potential for protecting forests through the carbon markets, a process know as “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” or REDD. REDD as a conservation tool is in its infancy though many groups are exploring how it could be applied in Indonesia.

Sukamara Meeting

Multi-stakeholder meeting with communities surrounding the Lamandau Reserve.

We went to Sukamara for a “Multi-stakeholders Meeting” when we bring together representatives from all the communities surrounding the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve as well as the local Government. The two-day meeting was a great success, helping us set our plans and targets for next year. Truly, we are receiving an incredible amount of support from the local Government.

The trip to Sebangau was arguably the most interesting, not least because I had never been there before. Sebangau was only designated a National Park in 2004 and yet is home to arguably the largest population of orangutans in any national park. Estimates consistently show a population of over 6,000 orangutans. Our reforestation team and I travelled there to see the land rehabilitation research being undertaken by the Centre for International Co-operation in Management of Tropical Peatlands (CIMTROP).

Research team

Research into peat swamp rehabilitation.

Cimtrop Camp

CIMTROP’s is a pure research project, experimenting with different techniques, habitat types and tree-species to find what works best in degraded swamps. Our work is rather more applied – we want to cover a much larger area than the research project does but there is no sense in reinventing the wheel, or worse, repeating mistakes already made, so it was a valuable visit.

Tower Structure

Interestingly, at the edge of the CIMTROP study area a team of Japanese scientists have erected an environmental monitoring tower which is some 40m high. I have always wanted to have an observation tower in Lamandau. Having climbed to the top you had to conclude the view was great.

Tower Climb

The climb. Not one for the faint-hearted!

View from Tower

The view

Isam at the top of the tower

Isam -Orangutan Foundation Land Manager at the top of the tower

Reforestation Team

Orangutan Foundation’s Reforestation Team looking a little tense on top of the tower!

Sunset from Tower


Isam, our Land Manager who had never been anywhere near as high in his whole life, was finally persuaded to let go of the hand rail. Once on the ground though he did agree the climb was an adventure worth having.

Thank you Patrik W, Lucia C, Mia B and Wanda H for your recent donations. We really appreciate your support. We are now only $205 short from reaching our $5,000 target – please help us reach this by the end of November.

Thank you,


Sustainable Agriculture Can Help Protect Orangutan Habitat.

Other than Kampung Konservasi’s simple facilities such as the library, theatre, etc., we also use most of the area as sustainable agriculture demonstration plots. We grow and successfully harvest tomatoes, chilies, cabbages, string beans…all organic! We also keep fish and cows. We believe that if sustainable agriculture is done correctly, it can actually improve the degraded environment, protect native species, as well as eliminating current destructive agricultural practices, such as slash-and-burn.

Agricultural Demonstration Plot

Agricultural Demonstration Plot

Sustainable Agriculture Plots at Kampung Konservasi

Natural Fly Trap

Natural Fruit Fly Trap

Almost half of Kampung Konservasi’s ground used to be peat swamp; a few areas of this swamp were even as deep as grown man’s chest. Many local people believed that nothing can be done in peat swamp areas, and we already proved that we can farm fish very successfully there, using very simple materials to make the ponds such as bamboos and sand bags. We also bought a couple of cows because they are the best compost producers, and we can also sell them at the end when they grow bigger.

Below Organic Compost – the secret to our success!

Organic compost

Aquaponic Demonstration Plot

Aquaponic Plots – Fish pond around the island where vegetables are growing.

Kampung Konservasi used to be a barren land it is now a thriving and lush place. We have encouraged the return of insect, bird, reptile and amphibian species. Through our agricultural practices soil and water quality has increased. In addition to growing vegetables we have also planted more than 100 tree species, ranging from fruit trees (mango, durian, rambutan, guava, papaya and pineapple) to Bornean endemic hardwood trees (ulin, gaharu, agates, and rattan, especially the local species). All plants have been labelled with signs showing the local, Indonesian, English and Latin names and information about the importance of the plant or its useful properties.



Nursery and seedlings

Kampung Konservasi Sign

Kampung Konservasi Entrance Sign

Everything is to demonstrate to the local people and farmers that sustainable agriculture is a very promising income-generating activity for them to do. We are proud to report that individuals and groups have already adopted our agriculture methods in their own gardens and areas.

Terima Kasih,

Sally (Yayorin)

Sowing the seeds…

My every sense says the forests on the northern border of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve are in trouble. Already split into thin fingers of forest, separated by degraded areas, it seems these forests are retreating not expanding. However, with the support of local communities, we have chosen this area as a reforestation site.

A few days ago I went there with Rene Dommain, the visiting German peat researcher, and we stayed at the very northern point of the Reserve, where we have a guard post, Post Prapat (see map).

Map Lamandau

Behind the post is one of the fingers of forest. Here there are tall trees, including those species found in deep forest, but they are only 20 metres away from sand. Clearly this is remnant primary forest and the thinner it gets, the more vulnerable it becomes.

Ariel view

Aerial view of Post Prapat with the remnant forest behind.

Rene helped to explain the process and no surprises here – the villain was fire. Whilst he described it as an “anthropogenic impact”, you and I can hear “man made”. The southern part of Borneo is a relatively “young” landscape. The base material is sand, deposited either from erosion of the high interior mountains or during the periods when the area was an ancestral seabed. Over thousands of years, grasses, shrubs, and then trees gradually covered the sand and forests grew.

Fires have had a major impact on this ecosystem. The first fires burning through the shallow humus layer, killing the trees’ roots. With the trees fallen the next fires to occur were even more destructive with subsequent fires encouraging scrub growth. Ultimately this left an exposed layer of sand with the original nutrient rich humus having been destroyed. Presently, these remaining forests are just waiting for the next dry year, the next fire.

The aim of the reforestation programme is not ambitious – even in our wildest dreams we cannot envisage the day when this will be thick forest. What we are trying to do is broaden the forested fingers, reduce the gaps and push the balance in favour of the trees not the scrub.

It is a tall order to regenerate this area, but you know us, we like a challenge!

We have established a tree nursery at Post Prapat. The people from the surrounding communities have been enthusiastic in finding wildings (seedlings harvested from wild seed-fall) to stock it. We will keep the trees in the nursery until their rooting systems are well established.



The whole process is hugely resource-intensive and the return may be as little as 50ha (1/2 km2 or 123 acres). But that is hardly the point. The real points are:

  • People learn about how fragile these ecosystems are.
  • We are demonstrating that protecting the existing forest is much more effective than trying to re-grow it
  • By protecting the fragile fringes, you prevent damage spreading to the core

In the case of Lamandau, the forest core is still rich in biodiversity. I led Rene on the 7 km walk southwards from Post Prapat to Camp Rasak. On the way, we saw a few birds and a snake. At Camp Rasak, I was hoping to catch of glimpse of Boni who we are told is seen most days and neither did we see Andi and Sawit, who seem to have gone off together (see post ‘More orangutans back in the wild‘). However we were fortunate to see Lady Di and her baby.

Lady Di and infant

Lady Di and infant 2

Lady Di and infant 3

Lady Di was released into Lamandau in Febuary 2006 and this is her first baby.

It is hard to believe our reforestation programme site is only 7 km away, but without this added protection, this forest and these orangutans would seem a lot more vulnerable.

– PS, Sheryl, you’ll be pleased to know once the eagle, snake and monkeys were out of the traps, I also set the fish free 🙂

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National Tree Planting Day – photos

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Stephen in the foreground wearing Orangutan Foundation staff polo shirt

A couple of photos from the National Tree Planting Day last week (see Stephen’s previous post ‘Tree Planting – A step in the right direction?‘)