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

Mitigating climate change and forest fragmentation by restoring degraded riverine and swamp forest within the Lower Kinabatangan Floodplain.



This PhD project draws on the longstanding collaboration between Cardiff University and the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) to support research into the role of active restoration of tropical forests for the improvement of people and the environment. Regrow Borneo is a tropical reforestation project that offers a more holistic approach than simply growing forest to store carbon.

The project seeks to understand how community-based tropical forest restoration can address the following outcomes: sequester carbon, improve biodiversity and support conservation of local ecologies, sustain local livelihoods and culture, improve scientific understanding of the environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts of tropical reforestation, and provide opportunities for institutions and individuals to mitigate their own unavoidable carbon emissions through support for tree planting.

The study will monitor biodiversity and ecosystem function components to investigate the impact of forest restoration. Biodiversity aspect that will include the biodiversity monitoring of 5 taxa; small mammals, medium-large mammals, anurans, dung beetles and avian whereas the ecosystem function aspect focuses on carbon sequestration.

Norsalleh and Syazana, members of the local cooperative KOPEL, our project partners from the neighbouring village of Batu Puteh.

Data collection methods involve:

  1. Live trapping of small mammals
  2. Nocturnal line transect sampling of amphibians
  3. Camera trapping for medium to large mammals
  4. Pitfall trapping for dung beetles
  5. Mist-netting for avian
  6. Habitat assessment
  7. Botanical plots establishment
  8. Drone image acquisition
  9. 3D model reconstruction
  10. Biomass of trees
  11. Litterfall rates
  12. Deadfall biomass
  13. Belowground root biomass
  14. Soil carbon and isotope ratios

The objectives of the project include:

  1. To determine the occupancy and probability of detecting multi-taxa animals at different stages of restoration in the Lower Kinabatangan.
  2. To determine the animal assemblages in the same restoration sites with different restoration techniques (active and passive restoration strategies) in the Lower Kinabatangan.
  3. To measure and monitor forest structure in the restoration sites in the Lower Kinabatangan.
  4. To measure and monitor the total carbon sequestered within forests at different stages of restoration.
photo caption + credit ©xx/Danau Girang Field Centre
Featured image (top): Setting out saplings at one of the Regrow Borneo restoration sites.

Support Regrow Borneo

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 how you can help!

Aria Lee has allocated 50% of her pledges to Regrow Borneo, and you can support her and her children’s book, JOJO, to back this project.

RegrowTime provides updates and insights into the Regrow Borneo initiative, from challenges such as the impact of flooding on replanted saplings to the vital contributions of our dedicated teams and the local community in restoring the Kinabatangan region. Watch this series to learn about the impressive efforts made to replant over 2000 saplings in the Kaboi Lake restoration site, take a closer look at the replanting process, and much more!