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 WWF in Sumatra to reforest the Bukit Tigapuluh (Thirty Hills) landscape, uniting diverse stakeholders from the University administration to professors and students - our aim is to fundraise and then implement a plan for reforesting an area within the landscape.
THE CRISIS UNFOLDING
The islands of Sumatra and Borneo are cloaked in one of the world’s most majestic and lush forests, the biodiverse dipterocarp forest. Home to orangutans, elephants, tigers, the clouded leopard, and numerous other endemic species found nowhere else on earth. However, these islands are also ideal for another, more domestic lifeform - the oil palm. Swathes of jungle have been flattened to make way for gridded monocultures of oil palm - Sumatra, in fact, lost over 70% of its forest in the last 20 years, and forest continues to be cleared at an alarming rate on both islands. This is where we hope to intervene - the Sunda ecoregion is a treasure for all of humanity, and with deforestation driven by international demand, we want to help mitigate the damage done.
WHAT WE WANT TO DO
We aim to restore and transform degraded land into pristine forest for conservation and research
Our dream is to not only protect existing forest, but help restore deforested land to its former glory. This is essential for today's world - as the number of pristine, untouched wilderness areas continues to go down rapidly, the only 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.
We believe that our impact will be maximised if we work with existing conservation organisations in the regions - we would hope that we could expand the land under their tenure, and we would work in partnership on planning and implementing reforestation strategies on their land. After speaking to a number of local and international organisations in the region, we are extremely motivated to make a Princeton-driven conservation project a reality.
Beyond our involvement as a student organisation, we believe that Princeton’s academic and research strengths are key to the long-term success of the project. Beyond our immediate reforestation of the land, we would hope to grow long term knowledge of the region’s forests by offering the student body and professors. By promoting research into restoration ecology, agroforestry, and conservation work, we believe that we will grow the body of knowledge that can help restore forests throughout the region, reaching wide beyond our immediate work. We would also hope to work with the local Orang Rimba and Talang Mamak peoples, whose forest-based livelihood is threatened by encroachment, and would also be keen to work with other farming communities in the region to promote community-based initiatives. We envision a project that can show that conservation can be a sustainable source of income to communities, rather than a barrier to development.