Replanting the forest

Ridwan was someone I met when I first visited Sungai Tohor in May, 2017. He and his community are engaged in reforestation

As background, I had joined a Singapore based group PM.Haze which organised a trip across the Straits of Malacca to the peatlands of Riau, in Sumatra. 

As a child I had played on the margins of a small peatland swamp at Coogee, later I had walked through a peatland forest in East Kalimantan, then taken a helicopter flight over peatlands in Riau Province. This was an opportunity to have a more close-up view of peatlands and participate in the daming of drainage canals cut through the peat by a company planning to clear the area and plant exotic species.

The location

Ridwan is from Sungai Tohor, part of Riau Provice in Sumatra, Indonesia.

Effects of burning peatland in Sumatra

The oil palm and wood pulp industries, in Sumatra, have caused immense destruction to the peatlands.

Back in the El Nino year of 2015, when I was living in Singapore we were subjected to clouds of toxic smoke from the clearing of degraded forest on lands being taken up by the Palm Oil and Wood Plup industries.

I had to wear an N95 mask every time I went outside, and in out apartment we ran an air filter 24/7. The people along the Malacca Straits in Sumatra were not so privileged. Mortality rates amongst infants and the elderly spiked.

Restoring the forest in Sungai Tohor

Ridwan and his community collect seeds from remnant forest, germinate them, and grow them in nursery plots.

We can help Ridwan and his community in the reforestation project by sponsoring tree plantings. It has been difficult but not impossible for him to mobilise funds for this, but there has certainly been some progress.

The community has been asking people to sponsor tree plantings. Covering all overheads the cost of each tree is about Rp 100,000 or AUD9.47, which at today’s exchange is about USD6.41.

The easiest way to send money to Ridwan is via PayPal. Given the costs involved he thinks sponsoring three threes is the most cost effective way of sending money.

PayPal Details

Here are Ridwan’s PayPal details. I’ve taken these from a trial we did. I sent him what was Rp100000 and it converted to USD6.43, on the day.

All sponsored trees are labeled

So far it has mainly been Indonesian sponsors but we would like to broaden interest and support.


Check the exchange rates here.

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