Turning Tree Seedlings into Medicine, Borneo

Yayasan Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI)’s mission is to improve both environmental and human health around Gunung Palung National Park, a 100,000 + hectare protected area of Borneo’s forests,  home to 5-10% of the world’s orangutans. Tying together healthcare and conservation initiatives to break the dangerous cycle of poverty, poor health and environmental destruction, ASRI engages with local communities to provide high quality, low-cost healthcare in exchange for a commitment to protect natural resources.
School children planting trees
School children planting trees

The Project

Gunung National Park’s significant populations of threatened species such as orangutans, Malayan sunbears and mouse-deer, are threatened by illegal logging, land clearance and uncontrolled fires that often launch a vicious cycle of annual burning.  It is critical to break this cycle and research shows that orangutan densities can recover if the forest is allowed to recover over a few years. Since 2007, ASRI has operated a health clinic that offers discounted health care to communities in exchange for commitments to reduce or eliminate illegal logging, complemented by targeted conservation initiatives.  This involves offering clinic patients the option to pay for up to 70% of medical bills with specific varieties of native tree seedlings which are then used to restore degraded areas of the park. This project will:
- establish an arboretum and educational trail around the healthcare centre, providing education for local school children (12 educational trips) and health benefits for recovering patients (approx. 2000).
- rehabilitate an additional 15 hectare area of forest through a mixture of natural regeneration and planting where there are low levels of regrowth.  Approximately 22,500 trees to be liberated through natural regeneration and an additional 25,000 seedlings will be planted to achieve optimal tree cover density
- train volunteers and local communities in fire fighting and fire patrols to ensure no fires reach the newly reforested area 
- help create ‘savings accounts’ with seedlings and establish a seed nursery in the hospital grounds

School in the Forest!
School in the Forest!
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If you are an individual who loves the great outdoors and would like to support our projects, please click the donate button below. During 2017, all money donated will fund tree planting in Nepal as part of our 2 Million Tree Project.
We are hugely grateful for the support of the European Outdoor Conservation Association, without whose support we could never have realised such an ambitious project.
Hugo Tagholm, Surfers Against Sewage