Regrow Borneo: Research-led Reforestation, Conservation, and Carbon Sequestration

Project Description

Principal Investigators: Benoit Goossens, T.C. Hales

Project Manager: Amaziasizamoria Jumail

Over 75% of the Kinabatangan floodplain has been converted into non-forest uses, largely dominated by industrial palm oil plantations. Despite extensive forest fragmentation and degradation, this area supports a staggeringly high amount of biodiversity. It is the final significant biodiversity stronghold in the highly developed eastern lowlands and serves as the one fragile link between the eastern coastal mangroves and the larger forest blocks in central Sabah.

Launched in 2019 by the Sustainable Places Research Institute of Cardiff University and Danau Girang Field Centre, the original collaboration offered Cardiff University’s staff and students a scheme that balanced their carbon emissions if they had to take a flight. Initially all funds were raised via a crowd-funding platform. Currently, Regrow Borneo has become a UK-based charity and continues to accept donations from anyone interested in supporting the project. We will use your donation to replant trees lost to deforestation. Regrow Borneo offers an opportunity to aid work at the forefront of sustainability science.

Regrow Borneo aims to mitigate climate change and forest fragmentation by restoring degraded riverine and swamp forest within the Lower Kinabatangan Floodplain. Our approach is not simply to sequester carbon and enhance ecosystem resilience. We partner with local communities who grow seedlings from native tree species, paying them a living wage for their work, and providing a sustainable alternative source of income to oil palm agriculture. Our work model also supports the growing environmental tourism in the area, currently impacted by COVID19. Our intention is to produce a model that may be scaled up and replicated

We have identified 7,500 hectares of forest that we can restore within land that has the highest levels of protection by the Sabah Forestry Department and Sabah Wildlife Department. We are also working with oil palm companies to identify areas for further protection that would support their goals of becoming RSPO certified. The project builds on a successful restoration undertaken through a collaboration between Danau Girang Field Centre and a local community group, Koperasi Pelancongan Mukim Batu Puteh Berhad (KOPEL).

KOPEL will be responsible for growing seedlings, planting the trees, and maintaining each tree for three years and Danau Girang Field Centre will work with KOPEL:

(1) To measure the total carbon sequestered within forests (including below the ground) at different stages of restoration. These measurements are to be of highest international standard (denoted as Tier 3 by the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change).

(2) To understand how the amount of carbon sequestered in forests changes through time due to environmental and human interventions.

(3) To measure changes in biodiversity of plants and animals associated with reforestation.

(4) To investigate the impact of the restoration projects on communities in relation to enhancement of local livelihoods and the provision of ecosystem services.

Read our first-year report ( Regrow Borneo Annual Report. 2021. Regrow Borneo Trustees (0 downloads) )  to know more about what we’ve achieved so far. More information on the sites can be found through the RESTOR platform.

By supporting Regrow Borneo you will help take carbon out of the atmosphere and support the diverse habitat by re-growing the rainforest.

Find out more about how to donate towards Regrow Borneo and to follow the pathway of your donation.

Another way of supporting this project is by helping Aria Lee kickstart her fiction picture book for children called JOJO. Aria has committed 50% of the pledges obtained to Regrow Borneo. Help her and us by supporting her book!

Stay tuned and check out our YouTube channel for ‘Regrow News’, bringing you updates of this project.