Working from the Ground Up
Each environment presents unique challenges and opportunities.
One 50 ha plot in North Central Kalimantan has been documented to have
1,175 species of trees.
By comparison, all of North America (2.4 Billion ha) has only about 1000 species of trees
Level Growth works with multiple stakeholders at the individual farms and villages level to:
- Assess, delineate and map all current and potential HCV/conservation areas within and bordering the farms.
- Implement a standardized monitoring and data collection program, such as SMART, which supports continuous protection of conservation areas, and tracking of key wildlife species.
- Partner with national and international universities, NGOs, and other organizations and individuals to provide technical expertise and training, and credible third-party quality assurance.
- Promote a ‘landscape approach’ to the conservation of rare and endangered species by working with neighboring concession holders and communities to create forest/wildlife corridors and conservation areas, with built-in long-term sustainable support.
- Integrate conservation programs within the farm management structure, utilizing, existing infrastructure and personnel, and build in continuous results-driven adaptive management at the farm and corporate levels.
- Promote new agro-conservation-based revenue sources.
Level Growth partners with villages and communities, NGOs, farm industries, and Government representatives to enhance understanding and protection of natural resources that have direct impact on the daily lives of families. Objectives are to make workers proud of their natural heritage, understand the threats to wildlife and ecosystems (including the impacts of farm activity), learn how better farm management practices can help conserve wildlife, and motivate employees to become wildlife guardians.
Education is required to help understand endangered vs Non-endangered species, that can be hunted, collected and kept under the conditions required for certification. Families are encouraged to release any endangered species in captivity. This should be done gradually and as part of the education program so as to not set people against the entire sustainability program.
LG supports farms in protecting local flora and fauna without limiting production. Identifying and conserving areas with less optimal yields within its property and utilizing adjacent lands will serve as refuges for resident and migratory wildlife, particularly species that are threatened or endangered. This process will improve the societal view of the farm's activity.
→. An example taken from the island of Sulawesi where LG assisted the farm in protecting endangered species including Anoa, Barbarusa, Maleo, and Primates (Orangutans and Tarsiers). Anoa and Babirusa are endangered due to lack of habitat and poaching for food. Maleo is threatened by poaching for eggs. Orangutans are threatened when they threaten gardens that provide food for remote villages. Tarsiers are threatened by loss of habitat and poaching.
For conservation to be effective, LG created an integrated system where the communities realize the benefits of the protection of wildlife. Education alone is simply not a long-term effective strategy for conservation in remote regions. Policing, regulations, and legislation alone are also not effective strategies.
Collaboration between local communities, industry, government, NGOs, is orchestrated by the Level Growth team to construct a system where every group benefits. Ecosystem improvements are measurable.
Level Growth works with local communities, NGOs, industry, and National Park Service to develop protected routes for migration for species like the Maleo, a bird that walks from living areas to nesting regions near the coastline in volcanic heated soil. They are extremely vulnerable to poaching and death by human conflict. A system was established to reward the local community for protection (financially) that is greater than the advantage of poaching for eggs. Habitat for the Anoa and Babirusa have ironically greater protection on private land farms used for clove than in local non controlled environments.
Endangered Species Management Plan →
Level Growth guidance provides ecosystem Conservation. Natural ecosystems are essential and integral components of agricultural and rural lands. LG provides innovative ways to conserve natural resources, preserve HCV (High Conservation Value) ecosystems and critical wildlife habitats, protect wildlife, and enhance carbon capture and long-term operational and ecosystem resiliency.
← the island of Sulawesi looking south-east.
Clove trees are planted within the landscape with care to preserve surrounding ecosystems. This non monoculture design provides protected habitat for local endangered species within the farm boundaries. The farm presence here actually serves to protect species from poachers who have "unfettered" access to public lands as well as parks, due to the lack of resources for oversight. Implementation improved overall farm productivity.
Level Growth worked with farm owners to establish corridors between farms where orangutans could move, by securing land areas, and planting foliage that the animals "enjoy", and providing relatively "protected" areas for movement. Orangutans require large areas for stability and breeding. They are traditionally seen as a nusence to farms because they enjoy eating young planted palm trees, and often encroach on local villagers gardens, ALL as a result of encroachment on their natural habitat.
The most common reason for failure of this approach is that local villagers can do illegal logging in the planted areas, destroying the corridor. The areas by nature tend to be extremely remote, and nearly impossible to monitor to prevent logging and destruction.
←Creation of Orangutan Migration Corridor
Soil Management and Conservation: Many areas of SE Asia are critically valuable due to peat. Some regions have peat soil that is 10 meters or more deep. These areas are usually covered with soil, mineral soil, or water. When exposed to air, there is significant increase in green house gas release. Peat lands are more susceptible to fire and when burning begins are difficult to extinguish. Identification of peat areas, and management of water levels is critical for environmental stability. Many regions now have imposed government moratoriums restricting planting, and require extensive monitoring to limit illegal logging, and land use by industry and or villagers.
Riverside Village. Surface water (peat stained) Bathroom Facilities upstream from village drinking supply