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The Wallacea Trust

Business solutions for environmental challenges

The Wallacea Trust

In 1995 Operation Wallacea started running research expeditions, large scale biodiversity data is collected, data is published and conservation strategies are developed. It is not always possible for Operation Wallacea Ltd to lead and manage such change, in these cases data is shared with the Wallacea Trust and the next stage of conservation continues.

The Wallacea Trust has been supported by the World Bank, Global Environment Facility, Canadian Development Agency, Garfield Weston Foundation, Murray Foundation, DANIDA, Wakatobi Government, European Union and the UK Government Darwin Initiative and Premier Oil, in addition to private donations from Wallacea Alumni and friends.

To find out more about the Wallacea Trust projects please visit the website here, or click any of the projects on the right.

You can also click here to go directly to recent updates about our reforestation program.


Reforestation project

Reforestation through carbon credits


    In 2020 we faced, for the first time in our 25 year history, the reality of not being able to visit Buton Island in Indonesia, the home of Wallacea research and the start of our very exciting journey. Many within the local community who have worked with our staff and students faced a summer without employment and the areas we have studied were potentially at higher risk of exploitation. Operation Wallacea were able to fund 30,000 saplings to be nurtured and protected in nurseries in remote Sulawesi. Those samplings are now ready to be planted, in community areas, native species are planted as they would have originally grown, allowing the habitat to thrive and support a unique ecosystem.


    It will cost £7.70/$10 to support the community to plant 2 trees. You can support the community and also consider your own carbon costs, if you were to support the costs of trees to be planted on Buton, the average financial cost of offsetting a years worth of carbon emissions is around £77/$100, which would mean 20 trees would be planted thanks to you and you would know that those trees will grow and support biodiversity in one of the most special places in the world.


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How to contribute

Three step process

  • Step 1: Work out your carbon footprint

    To calculate your own carbon footprint check out the calculator the WWF have created:

    Click here to work out you carbon footprint

  • Step 2: Donate to the Wallacea Trust

    If you are willing to contribute to the tree planting in Sulawesi please donate to us here:

    Donate by clicking the button above

  • Step 3: Consider setting up a monthly donation

    If you can afford it please consider setting up a monthly donation. That said, any donation amount will make a difference to this project and the lives of those in this community, please fund as many trees as you can. £7.70/$10 will plant 2 trees, and would offset around 1 tonne of carbon over a 20 year period.

Reforestation Progress

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    (£) Amount raised

Reforestation Project Updates

Where your donations are going

See updates below, or visit our blog here for more information on projects.

Update: 2nd March 2021

On 19th February, the Labundo-Bundo Village team got off to a great start, headed up by Darwis, son of Pak Mantan, whom many Opwall volunteers will remember. Since early in the pandemic, this team has been collecting and tending to 10,000 native tree saplings in a nursery just outside the village. Their enthusiasm levels were high as they moved on to the planting phase, despite the challenging rainy season weather conditions. On average, the teams have been walking between 20km and 35km (12-22 miles) each day, through very thick mud, and often in the pouring rain to plant out the trees. The saplings are being planted within the Lambusango Reserve in an area that has suffered at the hands of illegal loggers. In many ways the torrential rain and high winds have been a blessing as it means the team can work during the day without too much hinderance, yet the newly planted saplings are receiving a good soaking at night. So although it is extremely muddy and hard going on the legs, at least the saplings are getting watered well!

To give you an idea of the logistics involved, the saplings need to be carried from the nursery, across a river and up to the road to be loaded onto a truck, stacked carefully and then driven to the edge of the forest reserve. The team takes care to select a diverse range of saplings for each load to ensure a good mixture of native saplings are planted out in any one area. After unloading, the trees are carried deep into the forest to be planted in the areas where illegal loggers have caused the most damage. The team works from  the early hours of the morning, returning to the village close to dusk each day. Most of the team members have worked as Opwall guides and are familiar with the survey transects radiating out of Lapago camp. They have been focusing their efforts on replanting in the damaged areas around these transects, methodically measuring out and roping off 100x100m quadrats and replanting in the degraded areas within each quadrat. So far, all is running smoothly aside from a few slips and falls on the often steep and slippery terrain. To date the team has planted out 1200 saplings across an area of approximately 8 hectares and are in high spirits.

Update: 25th March 2021

The Labundo Bundo village team are 5 weeks in, and have planted out an amazing 5280 trees to date. They are past the halfway mark in getting all of the trees from their nursery planted, which is an exciting milestone and has only been possible because of all the donations coming in to support this project. The team are still in high spirits and would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has donated and made this possible! They report that the rains are starting to ease, making the work a bit quicker for them now that there is not so much mud to contend with. It is still raining daily in the forest but the showers are shorter and the rain a little lighter. This change signals that we only have a couple of months left to get the rest of the trees planted out, to give them optimal conditions to become established before we go into the dry season. Checking back on the saplings planted a few weeks ago, we can report that the majority are growing very well and only a very few have had to replaced, which we find very encouraging.

Some of the planting stories include wildlife encounters with a large snake, and also the rarely seen dwarf buffalo which is endemic to Sulawesi and known as an Anoa in these parts. This had the team running away for fear of it being aggressive, when in reality they had nothing to worry about. The Anoa was more afraid of them, quickly disappearing back into the forest. Anoa are an illegal hunting target, so they have a reputation for being aggressive, as are most animals when injured and caught in a snare. The team also came across a snare set to catch an Anoa, signalling the presence of illegal hunters in the reserve, and they reported back that they cut the snare and removed the pieces to prevent it being reset. Fresh areas of illegal logging activity were also discovered and these areas have been targeted for part of this replanting effort.

It seems that the covid pandemic is pushing an increasing number of people to take the risk of entering the reserve to exploit the natural resources within. The Forest Rangers are grappling with this issue and have warmly welcomed this planting project as it is helping to deter others from entering the area illegally, and of course to replenish the forest in the clearings where felling has taken place in the past. The Rangers claim to have noticed a reduction in illegal entry into the reserve area since the planting team have been active, so this is a very encouraging side effect of the project. One of the rangers accompanied the group in the planting effort for a day, while they showed him the new area of illegal logging discovered. A few days later a team of rangers, local police, and other government officials entered the forest and destroyed with chainsaws the 290 felled hardwood tree trunks that were awaiting extraction from the forest. The illegal loggers had paused in their activities, presumably due to the presence of the planting team so nobody was held accountable. This detect and destroy approach is hoped to deter future illegal loggers from investing the significant effort in felling trees in the reserve, for fear that their hard work will be in vain. The rangers invited the planting team to participate in this destroy activity, however the team decided to decline the offer. Their fear was that by participating they would create tension with surrounding villages where the illegal loggers are thought to have come from.

On a lighter note, many small businesses run by women in the village are feeling the benefits of the project, as there is a roaring trade in packed lunches. Team members noticed one lunchtime that La Edi has been drinking from a very old looking water bottle. He claims it is an old coca cola bottle that he has been reusing to carry his drinking water in for the last 10 years or more! Talk about taking the reduce, reuse, recycle principle to heart!

Opwall Podcast - Update on the Reforestation Project

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