Protecting Sumatra′s species | Global Ideas | DW | 05.06.2012
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Global Ideas

Protecting Sumatra's species

Indonesia is home to one of the world's largest rainforest regions. But deforestation and wildfires have decimated large swaths. Efforts are underway to restore the green cover and biodiversity on the island of Sumatra.

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Project goal: Reforestation of Sumatra's tropical rainforest
Project Size: 100,000 hectares of rainforest land in Jambi and South Sumatra provinces
Project volume : around 7 million euros ($8.71 million) by Germany's federal environment ministry

In recent years, logging, wildfires and poaching have eroded Sumatra’s invaluable rainforests. Until five years ago, one tree after another was cut to provide wood for the booming timber industry. Now, the "Harapan Rainforest" team on the Indonesian island of Sumatra is fighting to save the rainforest, and they’re setting a global example along the way.

With its 90 million hectares, Indonesia is one of the largest rainforest regions of the world. But two-thirds of that land has been designated for commercial and industrial production, and the consequences are staggering: Indonesia has become the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind only the US and China.

Now, a landmark piece of legislation in Indonesia, called the "Ecosystem Restoration Decree," aims to bring the country’s rainforests back to life. The first project will attempt to save up to 15 million tons of CO2 within the next 30 years – and the "Harapan Rainforest" team is lending a helping hand.

They want to return the rainforest to its original state, before deforestation ever began. Focusing on a plot of rainforest land about 100,000 hectares large, workers are planting seedlings and cultivating trees as well as monitoring the rich diversity of species. But they know that it will take cooperation with the indigenous population as well as protecting against illegal logging to make a lasting difference.

A film by Carmen Meyer

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