Tall trees, luxuriant undergrowth, swaying vines – the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia are amongst the most diverse and unique ecosystems in the world, supporting an array of forest fauna rivaling the Amazon. Once, in fact less than 30 years ago, much of the Banteay Srei district, the home of the Song Saa Reserve, was covered in thick tropical jungle. Logging and land development have seen much of this forest disappear, with only a few pockets remaining on the reserve and a few nearby protected areas.
The Song Saa Foundation, in partnership with the Song Saa Reserve, is seeking to reverse the trend of forest loss in Cambodia by pioneering the largest rainforest restoration project in the lower Mekong. The project, which will unfold over the next twenty years, seeks to return 30 percent of the reserve to natural forest cover, with the target of planting 1 million trees over the next five years.
Considerable work has been devoted to the development of an effective strategy for the restoration of rainforest at the Song Saa Reserve. Key to this has been an appreciation that rainforest restoration is about more than just ‘planting trees’ and requires an understanding of a range of disciplines. This entails uniting biology, soil and social science, hydrology and biodiversity conservation in a strategy that ensures the greatest opportunities for restoration success.
Our staff also collect information on the survival and growth of the plants in our nurseries and planting zones, with this data being used to provide guidance on how we can adapt and improve the effectiveness of our work.