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Sow a seed – rainforest restoration research

One third of the world's tropical rainforests have been lost. Half of what remains is degraded. This project was launched in 1998 to show whether it is possible to rehabilitate severely degraded tropical rainforests to bring back biodiversity and value to people, both locally and globally. The ongoing project is now both a valuable natural resource and a unique source of knowledge for preventing further degradation and supporting sustainable forest restoration worldwide.

 Portrait of Linne Murang pruning tree seedlings.

The goal: bring back the entire ecosystem

18.500 hectares of rainforest are recovering in northeast Borneo.
The area was ravaged during the 1980s and 1990s by fires and intense logging. The future seemed clear; planting of oil palms. But local people, financiers, and researchers wanted otherwise. The result: one of the world's largest rainforest restoration projects with the goal of bringing back the entire ecosystem.

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The research

We assess the potential of native rainforest restoration and management to deliver multiple benefits.

Two people measure a plant in a rainforest.

Key lessons for future restoration

More than 25 years of rainforest restoration experience and research distilled into five key lessons. Please use them!

Leaves in backlight.

Join us!

We welcome researchers, students and funders who wish to improve rainforest restoration with us.

Portrait of two malaysian master's students.

"A unique opportunity for research"

Unlike most other operational restoration and research projects, this one is primarily aimed at restoring biodiversity using only native species. Listen to Ulrik Ilsted, SLU researcher and project leader.

"Important project for the people of Sabah"

In its 25 years of operation, the project has provided daily income and skills to more than 700 people, and aimed to raise the bar for workers' conditions. Listen to Yayasan Sabah Project Manager David Alloysious.

Published: 16 May 2024 - Page editor: susanna.bergstrom@slu.se