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Nusa Kambangan is a 250 square kilometre prison island off Indonesia’s southern coast. Although designated a wildlife sanctuary, illegal logging has stripped away much of the island’s tropical forest, damaged the eco-system and led to the loss of many wildlife species.
Concern for the island’s ecology and the plight of 300 illegal farmers and their families, about to be expelled from the island, led Fr Charlie Burrows and YSBS, the organisation he founded, to seek government approval for a reforestation program and the eventual restoration of the island’s indigenous wildlife.
Since the plan was approved in 2008, over 400,000 trees have been planted and a further 625,000 will be planted by the end of 2013. The farmers plant and tend the trees, growing rice between them and thus allowing the saplings escape upwards from the dense tropical undergrowth. When the trees reach a specific height the farmers move to another area and the restoration cycle begins again.They are also the eyes and ears of the forest and best placed to stop illegal logging.
It is now becoming clear to the authorities that these formerly illegal farmers are essential to the success of the project, so they no longer have to live with the fear of expulsion from Nusa Kambangan. And the project is good for Earth’s biosphere — each tree takes in one tonne of CO2 in five years and produces enough oxygen daily for three people.
During Tree Week, March 4th - 11th, 2012, the Dublin-based Oblate JPIC group is launching a Tree Gift Card in support of the project and to mark the important part trees play in maintaining a healthy biosphere. Tree Cards are ideal gifts at Baptism, First Communion or Confirmation, and make thoughtful birthday cards. We suggest a donation of €5 per card, all of which will go directly to support the project.
Tree Cards will be available from March 11th at the churches in Inchicore and from the Mission Office, Tyrconnell Road. You may also order Tree Cards by contacting us through the 'Contact Us' button (Homepage, top right), Mission Development Office web site, www.oblatemission.ie.
This short video, Thanks for The Gift of Our Earth, is an informal introduction to the 'paradise' that is Nusa Kambangan Island, and to the Island's farm families. Thanks to the imagination, energy and advocacy skills of Fr Charlie Burrows and YSBS, these formerly illegal poor farmers are making an ambitious reforestation project possible.
We apologise in advance for the sound quality on some of the video.