Between 2015-2019, Darma and NFC planted over 7,000 trees in partnership with 23 local farmers who live in the buffer zone area. In 2019, NFC received a grant from the Sumatran Orangutan Society to plant 5,000 more trees, with more than 4,000 trees planted to date.
Tree planting is fundamental to NFC’s vision to help local farmers (who are typically barely above the poverty line) generate an alternative source of income than palm oil. Palm oil plantations necessitate destroying the natural forest, burning the area, and planting non-indigenous palm oil trees, which by their nature, prevent any other natural trees and plants from growing. Thus, transforming a rich ecosystem full of life to a monoculture plantation where nothing else can grow.
Recently, local interest is growing in this alternative model. More and more farmers in the buffer zone have approached NFC to ask for assistance in switching to this “greener” path. Darma and the NFC team supply the seedlings and plant the fruit trees, including profitable ones that produce the superfood Mangosteen. The farmer reaps the harvest, which generates food for their families and the excess is sold at the local market. The income helps keep the farmers solvent (many of which have ailing rubber trees no longer producing income) and alleviates pressures to sell their land to the palm oil companies encroaching on the park.
The cost breakdown works out to $0.53 USD per tree for planting, $0.85 USD per tree for maintenance (including regular monitoring for 6 months and replacing any trees that do not take), which sums out to $1.38 USD overall per tree.
A detailed record of all tree planting activities is currently updated on the chart below. We are working with NFC to help digitize this process.