The ProjectGunung National Park’s significant populations of threatened species such as orangutans, Malayan sunbears and mouse-deer, are threatened by illegal logging, land clearance and uncontrolled fires that often launch a vicious cycle of annual burning. It is critical to break this cycle and research shows that orangutan densities can recover if the forest is allowed to recover over a few years. Since 2007, ASRI has operated a health clinic that offers discounted health care to communities in exchange for commitments to reduce or eliminate illegal logging, complemented by targeted conservation initiatives. This involves offering clinic patients the option to pay for up to 70% of medical bills with specific varieties of native tree seedlings which are then used to restore degraded areas of the park. This project will:
- establish an arboretum and educational trail around the healthcare centre, providing education for local school children (12 educational trips) and health benefits for recovering patients (approx. 2000).
- rehabilitate an additional 15 hectare area of forest through a mixture of natural regeneration and planting where there are low levels of regrowth. Approximately 22,500 trees to be liberated through natural regeneration and an additional 25,000 seedlings will be planted to achieve optimal tree cover density
- train volunteers and local communities in fire fighting and fire patrols to ensure no fires reach the newly reforested area
- help create ‘savings accounts’ with seedlings and establish a seed nursery in the hospital grounds