Successful reforestation in Borneo

Seedlings on a transporter, ready to be distributed to smallholders.
Distribution of seedlings to smallholder farmers.

Funded by the IKI, a partnership between the Fairventures organisation and a family-run business from Baden-Württemberg has led to a scaling-up of afforestation activities.

Training of smallholders in the forest
Farmer Field Schools provide hands-on lessons on planting and caring for trees.

Between 2016 and 2020, Fairventures Worldwide implemented the IKI project “Rehabilitation of degraded areas with native tree species in Kalimantan (Indonesia)” on Borneo. Part of the project involved developing a scalable method for the restoration of degraded formerly forested areas with fast-growing native trees and catch crops.

Keeping an eye on the value chain

This approach is unusual, because the reforestation model has been explicitly conceived of from the perspective of the value chains involved: the tree species planted are in demand for the production of plywood, for example, which creates incentives both for harvesting and for subsequent replanting.

The model has also impressed German power tool manufacturer ANDREAS STIHL AG & Co. KG. Based in Waiblingen, Baden-Württemberg, this German family-run business supports the scaling-up of the Fairventures reforestation model as part of the company’s climate strategy.

Wolfgang Baum, Director of Fairventures Worldwide, has welcomed the chance to join forces: “Communities and the climate both profit equally from our partnership with STIHL. We have been able to expand our planting activities, and provide support to more smallholders in Indonesia and Uganda.”

Reforestation for climate change mitigation as a source of income for local communities

On Borneo, in Indonesia and in Uganda, areas will be afforested exclusively for STIHL over the next three years. As result of this afforestation project, around 120,000 t of CO₂ will be captured from the atmosphere. Between January and June 2023, the project will work with roughly a hundred smallholders on Borneo to plant around 60,000 saplings over an area of at least 75 ha. The saplings to be planted are currently being grown in local nurseries there.

In the background a tree trunk; in the front a hand holding a smartphone.
Monitoring and documentation of the growth of each individual tree with the TREEO app.

Apart from working with smallholders on the afforestation of smaller areas, large-scale afforestation in Indonesia is also improving the climate impact of the overall project. To this end, Fairventures Social Forestry has teamed up with local communities and applied a commercial model to afforest larger, contiguous areas that will be managed with agroforestry systems in the future. This work has also involved a scaling-up approach that originated in the IKI project.

Success monitoring with smartphones

The TREEO app is being used to measure the success of planting activities. This app makes it possible to register the location of each individually planted tree.

Growth can also be tracked and the CO₂ calculated that has been sequestered in tree biomass.

An on-site visit from southern Germany

Representatives from STIHL recently paid a visit to Borneo to check project progress, visiting a number of afforestation sites and also talking to smallholders involved in the planting activities.

“We were able to see how the Fairventures agroforestry approach works in practice. And I am also convinced that the tree planting work isn’t merely capturing CO₂ but can also work with and for local people to create a sustainable basis of existence,” states Philipp Kreil, Rainforest Project Coordinator at STIHL.

With its support for afforestation projects, STIHL is making a contribution to climate action that offsets the as-yet unavoidable emissions caused by the company.

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