Trans­forming Palm Oil Plan­ta­tions into Rainforests

The 50 most maje­stic tropical trees in the world can be found in Sabah, the Malay­sian part of Borneo. The tallest of them stands at 100.8 meters – that’s as high as two Olympic-sized swim­ming pools stacked on top of each other. This primary forest is one of the largest carbon dioxide (CO2) stores in the tropics and is ther­e­fore indis­pensable for our climate. However, in recent years, the rain­fo­rests of Sabah have been exten­si­vely defo­rested to make way for oil palm plantations.

Palm oil ends up in our biodiesel, choco­late bars, and frozen pizzas. These plan­ta­tions are destroying the habitat of animals by frag­men­ting protected areas and rest­ric­ting the move­ment of wild animals such as Bornean elephants, oran­gutans, and probo­scis monkeys. Conse­quently, these plan­ta­tions pose a threat to the biodi­ver­sity of one of the most critical biodi­ver­sity hotspots on Earth.

Your Dona­tion Helps Restore and Protect the Rain­fo­rest from Further Destruction!

Your dona­tion enables the refo­re­sta­tion of a wild­life corridor between the conser­va­tion areas of Tabin (123,000 hectares) and Lower Kina­ba­tangan (80,000 hectares). Linking these two forested islands through an 800-meter-wide corridor trans­forms former oil palm plan­ta­tions into a diverse wild­life sanc­tuary. This initia­tive miti­gates the habitat frag­men­ta­tion caused by defo­re­sta­tion and monocultures.

The wild­life corridor signi­fi­cantly enhances the survival pros­pects of endan­gered species such as Bornean elephants, oran­gutans, and banteng cattle. It serves as a model project for the successful trans­for­ma­tion of plan­ta­tions into rainforests.

With your support, we will trans­form palm oil plan­ta­tions into flou­ris­hing rainforests!

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Frequently asked questions

Can one trans­form a palm oil plan­ta­tion into a rainforest?

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Yes. Our on-site partner, the ‘Rhino Forest Fund e.V.’ (RFF), has been accu­mu­la­ting exper­tise in Sabah for years and has been highly successful in trans­forming former palm oil plan­ta­tions into rain­fo­rests. You can learn more about our current project here.

How long does it take to convert a palm oil plan­ta­tion into a rainforest?

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On average, it takes five to eight years. Initi­ally, seed­lings are planted. The old oil palm trees are left in place tempo­r­a­rily, as they provide natural protec­tion for the young seed­lings. Only after three to five years are the oil palm trees removed. At this point, the new trees are strong enough to with­stand wind and weather independently.

What is the impact of my donation?

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Your dona­tion for this project enables the purchase and rena­tu­ra­tion of former palm oil plan­ta­tions. Subse­quently, appli­ca­tions are submitted to the local autho­ri­ties to change the status of these areas into conser­va­tion reserves. Ulti­m­ately, the process culmi­nates in refo­re­sta­tion, conver­ting these areas into primary forests. In short, the crea­tion of a wild­life corridor.

What is a wild­life corridor?

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A wild­life corridor connects two conser­va­tion areas, enab­ling wild animals to move freely between them. The planned corridor will create appro­xi­m­ately 200,000 hectares of conti­guous and protected rain­fo­rest in Sabah, Malaysia.

What are the disad­van­tages of estab­li­shing palm oil plan­ta­tions in tropical rainforests?

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In Southeast Asia, defo­re­sta­tion prima­rily impacts ecolo­gi­cally valuable lowland rain­fo­rests, which are often replaced by oil palm plan­ta­tions and other mono­cul­tures. This inten­sive agri­cul­tural use not only destroys the habi­tats of nume­rous animal and plant species but also results in long-term damage to the soil and the climate.

Sonja Wende

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Dona­tions are a matter of trust

Trans­pa­rent use of funds is a matter of course for us. In September 2013, we joined the a non profit initia­tive of Trans­pa­rency Inter­na­tional Germany and signed its decla­ra­tion of commitment.