Gula Gula Food Forest Program, West Sumatra – Plan Vivo

May 10, 2022

This project recruits smallholders to plant trees for reforestation in West Sumatra. Trees and plants for foods are planted in an agroforestry model to sequest and store carbon in trees and in the ground. The project will at the same time give the smallholders possibilities for incomes from selling products such as coffee and etheric oils.


Gula Gula started as a pilot project in 2009 and was based on scientific research on agroforestry as a means for carbon sequestration and at the same time benefiting the local community.


As for Indonesia in general, the area around the Singkarak lake on Western Sumatra has been heavily degraded. Deforestation and older agriculture methods have left the community-owned landscape more or less cleared of trees. With time it has mostly become grasslands and bushes.


 This project aims to restore the degraded landscape by introducing the ’Assisted Natural Regeneration’ method (ANR) A mix of tree species will be planted together with a range of  species to grow foods and crops. The sales of carbon certificates as well as income from food and forest products has created a positive development for jobs and for the community as a whole.


Today the project has over 500 affiliated smallholder families and over half a million trees have been planted on an area of ca 500 hectares. Thanks to a cost effective method the project has successfully reforested degrade areas. By working with nature rather than against it, the project has created a ’food forest’ with biodiversity and good productivity in just five years.


 The method of reforestation is cost effective and based on simplicity so that also families with very limited resources can take part in the project. With simple tools and training in good forest management as well as local refinement of what the food forest yields, such as coffee, clove and wood products, a stable platform for positive development in the area has been created.


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