Hutan is committed to the restoration of some of the world’s most severely degraded, yet biodiverse, ecosystems.
Established in 1998, Hutan employs 50 staff, the majority from local villages. In addition to forest regeneration and protection, Hutan conducts orangutan research which informs its anti-poaching, education and awareness-raising efforts and helps local communities to develop sustainable livelihoods, thereby reducing pressures on forests.
Forest degradation and fragmentation present major threats to the long-term survival of biodiversity in the Kinabatangan floodplain, a part of Borneo that has already lost 80 per cent of its natural forest to palm oil plantations. The forests that remain are home to many unique plants and animals, but they are highly fragmented, making them vulnerable to further degradation and isolating wildlife populations, leaving them at risk of imminent extinction.
Since 2003, Hutan’s reforestation unit – made up of women from local villages – has been rehabilitating crucial wildlife habitat and forest corridorsin the Lower Kinabatangan River Basin. Forest corridors connect isolated patches of forests and aim to provide shelter, food and dispersal paths for orangutans and many other animal species, as well as restore carbon stocks and ecosystem functions. Restoration projects around the world vary greatly in terms of their success: to date Hutan’s meticulous care for seedlings means that 90 per cent of those planted reach maturity.
Children taking part in reforestation, Sabah, Borneo. Photo: HUTAN/Jamil Sinyo
In 2011, Hutan began to reforest a new area of grassland formerly illegally occupied by the ‘Malbumi’ palm oil estate and its accompanying infrastructure. Tall grasses and bushes covered the site and prevented natural seedling regrowth. When we met Hutan, it had just completed Phase 1 of planting the Malbumi plot and needed support for the second – and final – phase of the work.
Phase 2 of the project – planting 3,200 native tree species across 4Ha and caring for these seedlings for three years – is being supported by a grant from Aurum Fund Management through our regeneration portfolio.