In 2022 we partnered with Orangutan Foundation to fund forest restoration in an orangutan conservation area in Indonesian Borneo. 

Funding would cover the construction of a new nursery at Vigilant Howe, the sourcing, nurturing and planting out of 12,000 wild seedlings,  as well as providing for post-planting maintenance to maximise the new trees' survival.

The funds were transferred to our project partner, Orangutan Foundation,  just over a year ago now, and we have been following progress closely ever since! 

Here are a few images showing the different stages of the project between April and December 2023, when 12,000 saplings were planted out.

Nursery Construction - April 2023

A new tree nursery facility was built at Vigilant Howe Post. Maintenance of the nursery area and essential equipment including hand tractors and boreholes,  was conducted regularly. Cleaning the nursery to prevent the growth of weeds was an essential part of this maintenance ensuring development of seedlings was not hindered.

Preparing for Planting - April 2023

Fertile soil from outside the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve was used to prepare planting beds. A mix of 10x15cm polybags and eco-bags were arranged in the beds. Each bed held approximately 1500 units.

Beds using eco-bags received special treatment, being lined first with tarpaulin to help get the maximum life out of each bag.


Eco-bags are woven from a natural material - Nypah (palm leaves) - and last approximately 3-4 months, before they start to break down. The saplings are then effectively 'potted on' (rebagged). 

The use of eco-bags helps to reduce use of plastic (polybags), and supports the local community through collaboration, particularly with Sungai Pasir village.

Collection of Wild Seedlings

Seedlings were sourced from natural forest areas around the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Three local species were chosen - each shows fire resistance characteristics and will provide a source of food for animals, especially orangutans.

Seedlings were collected by hand.  Individual seedlings needed to fulfil strict criteria: 

  • free from pests and diseases;
  • at least 30 cm tall;
  • have at least four leaves;
  • have a single stem.

After collection, leaves and roots were trimmed and the seedlings were soaked in water before being transplanted to the growing medium. The seedlings were grouped by species to make it easier to monitor their progress.

Nurturing Seedlings - April to November

Weeding, re-potting, watering and general maintenance of the nursery beds were all  important tasks throughout the seedlings' time in the nursery.

The seedlings needed hardening off in November, being exposed to more intense sunlight to prepare them for being planted out in December.

Rolling back the sun shades so the plants can acclimatise to the intense sunlight and drier conditions.

Seedlings that passed the acclimatisation process were then selected according to the following criteria: at least two pairs of new leaves, the base of the stem was hard, and the plants were fresh and healthy.

Planting Out - December

December is the rainy season in Kalimantan and the perfect time to plant out the seedlings and give them the best start. 

12,000 seedlings were planted out with the remaining 2,000 smaller seedlings kept at the nursery to be used as 'back up' plants to replace any dead/diseased trees.

Routine maintenance checks will take place throughout the coming months and we look forward to bringing you further updates! 

Images: Orangutan Foundation

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