Since 1998, we have been working with our partners to restore degraded rainforest, using scientific methods to evaluate different approaches and build knowledge about how best to restore degraded rainforest for different types of objectives. We want our knowledge to be used. Here are some of the key lessons we have learned so far.
The Sow-A-Seed project in Sabah, Borneo, was launched in 1998 to rehabilitate 18,500 hectares of tropical rainforest degraded by logging and later by fire during the 1982-1983 El Niño. Sabah Foundation and IKEA built the project from the ground, including basic infrastructure, roads, nurseries, and housing for employees and family, and last but not least, developing knowledge.
In the project, three restoration techniques were used depending on the level of degradation:
- Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) - a mix of active planting and passive restoration, removing barriers and threats to growth - and enrichment planting (gap-clusters and lines) together with ANR in more disturbed forests;
- In the least disturbed areas a one-time ANR treatment consisting of climber cutting (locally known as “liberation”);
- In the moderately to highly disturbed areas climber cutting, weeding and selective girdling of pioneer Macaranga trees was repeated several times during ten years. In the moderately disturbed areas, enrichment planting was also done when fewer than four dipterocarp species were present in a 100 m2 area. Highly disturbed areas dominated by weeds was generally assumed to need enrichment by line planting.