Joining our expeditions contributes directly to the study and protection of threatened biodiversity, brings significant financial benefits to small local communities that reduces reliance on natural resource exploitation, and works towards protecting valuable carbon stocks from deforestation. However, travelling to and from our expedition sites also involves significant carbon emissions from air travel. Climate change is a global crisis requiring urgent action by all, and we are therefore proud to announce that from 2020 we will be partnering with the Wallacea Trust (UK Charity 1078362) to offer carbon offsetting activities for all our participants.
A recent publication that made headlines around the world (Bastin et al 2019, Science) demonstrated the huge potential of tree planting in fighting climate change. They showed that of the 4.4 billion hectares worldwide suitable for trees to grow, 0.9 billion are currently without trees but are suitable for reforestation. Successfully reforesting the entire 0.9 billion hectares could store 205 gigatons of carbon – the majority of the current carbon burden of 305 gigatons.
The Wallacea Trust is funding a demonstration project covering 100ha on Buton Island, Indonesia, where farmers adjacent to a nature reserve will be given annual payments to reforest their unused land, maintain the growing forest and also prevent access over their land for illegal loggers and hunters entering the nature reserve. An online carbon emissions calculator will be used to estimate the total emissions from international flights used to join our expeditions, and a sum based on $10 per ton added to the invoices of each of our participants. Participants will have the option of opting out of this payment, but otherwise 100% of this money will be paid to the Wallacea Trust and used for the reforestation scheme in Indonesia with payments going directly to poor local farmers, meaning they wil have a substantial community benefit as well as supporting reforestation.
If this project can be shown to be successful over the initial 100 hectares, it will be scaled up locally within Indonesia and then launched at other Opwall sites around the world.