Skip to main content

Regrow Borneo


Regrow Borneo is an ethical, transparent, and research-led reforestation and carbon mitigation project. It is the first UK-university based project of its kind, led by researchers from Cardiff University’s Sustainable Places Research Institute, the Danau Girang Field Centre and KOPEL Bhd in Borneo.

At a time when action on the climate crisis is more urgent than ever, Regrow Borneo delivers a model of sustainable and ethical reforestation that goes beyond simple carbon sequestration, planting trees in a way that will also improve lives and livelihoods in local communities, and increase biodiversity and ecosystem resilience in the Lower Kinabatangan, Sabah, Malaysia.

The expansion of palm oil plantations in the Lower Kinabatangan has led to a loss of three quarters of rainforest since the early 1970s.

We partner with local communities who grow seedlings from seed harvested in the forest, paying them a living wage for their work, and providing a sustainable alternative source of income to oil palm agriculture.

We are committed to developing an evidence-base for the effectiveness of our approach. Our interest goes beyond carbon mitigation to generate a holistic understanding of the benefits (and possible disadvantages) of reforestation projects. Our team includes specialists in ecology, soil erosion, governance, and the social sciences, allowing us to understand how restoration affects the health of the forest and the people who live within and near the forest.

Regrow Borneo Pilot Year Impact Report

Find out more about the work that Regrow Borneo has been able to progress during its pilot year, to September 2020.

Our objectives

The project aims to:

  • balance carbon emissions
  • support conservation of local ecologies and improve biodiversity
  • improve scientific understanding of the environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts of tropical reforestation
  • sustain local livelihoods
  • provide opportunities for institutions and individuals to mitigate their own unavoidable carbon emissions through support for tree-planting.

How you can help

It costs just £2 to grow, plant and maintain a tree for three years.

  • While coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to dominate our everyday lives the need to address the climate emergency is as urgent as ever.
  • If you are undertaking essential travel you can donate recommended amounts based on distance flown or you can donate whatever you can afford.
  • To get an idea of how much we suggest you donate based on your flight, please refer to our recommended donation map.

Donate today

What your donation supports

Every penny we receive will be invested in local community tree planting initiatives. Your donations will regrow the rainforest, and you will help save orangutans and other endangered species.

Income donated will be managed by the Danau Girang Field Centre. Community organisations, such as The Batu Puteh Community Ecotourism Co-operative (KOPEL) , will be responsible for planting and maintaining trees on appropriate sites.

Reforestation will be conducted at a rate that reflects donation levels, so we will monitor the number of trees planted and report back to our donors.

You will be able to follow the pathway of your donation as we track the growth of your planted trees. We will provide you with updates on the amount of carbon taken out of the atmosphere, as well as other social, environmental and economic impacts.

Promoting social and environmental sustainability

We will develop a basis for ensuring social sustainability, including fair payment for work undertaken by local communities and adherence to ethical standards in employment and working conditions.

We will also make sure that tree planting regimes conform to best practice for ecologically and sustainable tropical reforestation. Tree planters will not exposed to harmful conditions, including the use of harmful chemicals, and we will ensure gender equality.

Guiding principles

  • Evidence-based: We will conduct research to measure the impact of planting trees on carbon sequestration, biodiversity, ecosystem and community health. This will ensure the University works at the cutting edge of sustainability science and will involve an interdisciplinary research network to investigate carbon sequestration and benefits to wildlife, ecological systems and local communities.
  • Fly less: We will align with fly-less objectives, as the project will be based on the principle of only compensating for what cannot be avoided or reduced.
  • Ethical: Our primary goal is to correctly assess the costs of balancing air travel-related carbon. Many commercial offsetting programmes claim to offset carbon at unrealistically low rates. Our work would also be in collaboration with Borneo-based community organisations and we would ensure that these groups be given fair and transparent recompense for their work.
  • Transparent: We will provide an open audit of all donations, and every person who donates will be able to follow the path of their donation. We will also measure and publish the social, environmental and economic impact of our donations. We will be honest in all communication, transactions and operations.

Collaborate with us

Do you work for a university? Partner with us on the first UK-based university initiative of this kind.

Are you planning a conference or event? Collaborate with us to encourage donations when delegates book a flight. This will not only regrow Borneo but also help to make the conference carbon neutral.

Are you a business owner? Consider giving a one-off donation to balance all of your business mileage or encourage your employees to make a donation when travelling.

Taking a flight? Make an individual donation to balance your carbon and regrow the rainforest.

We are open to discussing all opportunities for collaboration.

Contact us

If you have any questions – or if you want to be involved in the project or partner with us – please contact:

Regrow Borneo