Halaban restoration site of OIC-SOS
From the ground, OIC-SOS is dedicated to the conservation of Sumatran orangutans and their forest homes. Thus, habitat restoration programme is one the flagship project that OIC conduct to the present. As OIC-SOS believes that to conserve the orangutan in the sustainable way is to protect their homes in the same time. To date, OIC-SOS has succeeded to plant about more than one million and a half trees on more than a thousand hectares area. Halaban restoration site is one of the prior of Restoration project that conducted by OIC-SOS and considered to be the most susscessful one. Initiated in 2007, Halaban restoration site has a long journey. The land was previously illegal encroached by two companies namely PT Rapala and PT Putri Hijau. The land was reclamined by the GLNP authorities and all of the oil plam trees chopped down leaving the degradated soil and dominated by exotic grass ‘alang-alang’ after. The goal of this restoration programme is to increase the forest habitat for the wildlife and ecosystem, provide the alternative income, encourage the local people participation in conservation activities and also to increase as well as to share the knowledge about ecosystem restoration.
This programme was begun in 2007 and the first year was dedicated to socialize the program and engaged the support from the local community. By initiating the KETAPEL, as the local community organization to help OIC-SOS to support the programme. Unfortunately not all of the local people embraced the programme at once. However, by involving the local people as well as conducting the awareness, more and more of the local people understand about the programme and how the project will not only bring the benefit for the nature but also to them as well. They were also invited to take parts directly by collecting the seedlings by wildings and preparing the soil inside polybags and got paid for assisting the team. Not for men only, the women, especially the housewives, could get involved and received a direct benefit through the additional income. Not to mention that some of local people also recruited to work with OIC-SOS as the official team of the restoration. Through these efforts, OIC-SOS has gained the trust from the local people on daily basis.
Starting the restoration programme through the planting activity in 2008, the OIC-SOS restoration team also found many challenges that came form the issues of the damage condition of the soils because of the palm oil before. The soil was very damage and the condition of the open area, many seedlings couldn’t survive. With the strong determination and willingness to learn, one of the team was sent to Australia and learned about the best practice for forest restoration and management. By adopting the method s, the result amazes the team that the trees that were planted grow succeedly day by day. To the present, after 9 years of the programme, the site has been growing very well as the secondary forest. Witnessing the hard works are paid with such a great result, nothing can satisfy us more as the wildlife started to come back to this are. Setting up the camera trap, it was found that there are more than about 20 wildlife species that recorded arround the restoration site including Sumatran orangutan, Sumatran elephant, sun bear, leopard cat, Sambar deer, various birds and primates, and many others that live in freedom here in the site. It is such a gift for the hardworks and the form of our dream came true.