WHO WE ARE
We are a student-led conservation initiative from Princeton University, comprised in part of members from the Princeton Conservation Society. Our goal is to work with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Sumatra to reforest the 30 Hills (Bukit Tigapuluh) landscape. We hope to unite diverse stakeholders at our end, from University administration to professors and students and beyond, with those in Sumatra towards protecting this unique landscape.
THE CRISIS UNFOLDING
The island of Sumatra has some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. The majestic and lush forests of the island are home to orangutans, elephants, tigers, clouded leopards, and numerous other rare and endemic species found nowhere else on earth. However, these jungles are being rapidly destroyed for their natural resources. Sumatra has lost over 70% of its forest in the last 20 years, and land continues to be cleared at an alarming rate. The rainforest of this island is a treasure for all of humanity, and its loss presents a crisis for the climate, for biodiversity, and for people all over the world.
WHAT WE WANT TO DO
We aim to restore and transform degraded land into pristine forest for conservation and research
WHAT WE WANT TO PROTECT
Few places on earth can rival the biodiversity, the carbon storage value, or the irreplaceability of the 30 Hills landscape.
The only rainforest in the world that can match the Amazon in biodiversity and value to the climate is the rainforest of the Sunda Region of Southeast Asia. This region comprises peninsular Malaysia, and the islands of Borneo, Java, Bali, and Sumatra. In this region, the lowland forests of Sumatra, which typically lie less than 150 meters above sea level, are particularly diverse, but much of these forests have been cleared as they are easily accessible. The 30 Hills landscape maintains some of the last fragments of lowland rainforest on the island of Sumatra.
These forest remnants are extremely rich in wildlife, rich in wildlife food plants, and very vulnerable to logging and land conversion.We are currently developing innovative, science-based strategies to efficiently restore these areas.
Our plan is to not only protect existing forest, but help restore deforested and degraded lands. As the number of pristine, untouched wilderness areas continues to dwindle, the only long-term hope for habitat protection is habitat restoration. We want to undo the damage done over the last half-century - however, there are significant challenges involved. Fortunately, we have help.
In fall of 2018, we partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to further our common vision of restoring these landscapes to functional and self-sustaining ecosystems.
Our work is focused on the two major concessions the WWF, which has extensive experience in the region, stewards around 30 Hills. We hope to expand the protected land under their tenure, and together work on planning and implementing reforestation strategies on their land. We share a similar vision: we believe that effective, science-based ecosystem restoration can restore biodiversity and can provide economic opportunity and empowerment for local communities. After speaking to a number of local and international organizations in the region, we are extremely motivated to further develop this conservation project into the future.
We believe that Princeton’s and other institutions' academic and research strengths are key to the long-term success of the project. Beyond immediate reforestation of degraded land, we hope to grow long term knowledge of the region’s forests by offering the student body and professors the chance to conduct research in the area. By promoting research in restoration ecology, agroforestry, and conservation work, we believe that we can contribute to the body of knowledge that can help restore forests throughout the region, reaching far beyond our immediate work. We also hope to work with the local Orang Rimba and Talang Mamak peoples, whose forest-based livelihoods are threatened by encroachment, and with other farming communities in the region to promote community-based initiatives. We know that conservation can be a sustainable source of income to communities, rather than a barrier to development; the benefits of conservation must be shared and we aim to do just that.