Gepost door SnapperX op 17-05-2019
Indonesian rainforests harvest some of the most unique animals on Earth, but they have become deforestation hotspots. In a single generation, logging and agribusiness have cut Indonesia’s original forests in half and have reduced what is left to fragments. At this rate many of Indonesia’s species could be extinct in the wild within 20 to 30 years, and there will be increased floods, fires and droughts as well as social conflicts and increased poverty amongst the locals who depend on their forests.
Snapperx is actively involved in restoration projects, reforesting an area of 180 hectares of rainforest on the islands of Sulawesi and Borneo in Indonesia.
THE POWER OF THE BALSA TREE
Our main target is to restore the authentic rainforest and ecoregion along the coast of Temboan beach. In this area, deforestation has caused a lot of forest fires, which in turn have led to roughly 120 hectares of burned down forest being overgrown with thick, long grass. These grasslands catch fire again every year, expanding the grassland area as more trees on the edges die.
In order to restore the rainforest without using pesticides, we plant balsa trees. Thanks to their size and ability to grow fast, they naturally eliminate the grasslands.
Once the grass is gone these non-native trees have to be removed to make space for native trees, making for the perfect sustainable material to manufacture surfboards out of.
REFORESTATION DONE RIGHT
At Snapperx we believe that balsa trees can effectively restore the natural ecosystem and biodiversity of the original rainforests, but only when planted in polyculture and with the help of the local communities. Let us explain.
When surfer and Snapperx founder Tom first visited a balsa farm in Indonesia, he noticed something strange: the replanted forest was completely silent. No birds chirping, insects hissing, or branches breaking – there was no sign of life. “The problem with such areas is that an entire forest is replaced by only one species of tree,” Tom explains. “Such a monoculture forest is a serious letdown for wildlife. Due to the lack of diversity, animals have a hard time surviving. What should be a native forest, in fact becomes a green desert.”
The trees that we use to manufacture our surfboards are planted in polyculture projects, mixed with other native plants and trees such as sugar palm, mango and fig trees.
The biodiverse food forests that are growing at the moment are suitable for animals to be released from captivity, and offer the local population highly productive crops from the very start. Sugar palm really is the key to success here. They make for a business that increases farmers’ income enormously. This in turn motivates them to stop illegal logging, abandon jobs in polluting industries such as coal mines and highly destructive oil palm plantations, and protect the forests that feed them.