Climate change and biodiversity loss are both consequences of human economic activities. In order to effectively address these issues, an integrated approach is necessary.
Biodiversity is essential to the many services that ecosystems provide to humans, such as food production, CO2 storage, soil stability, water purification and even medicine. We all rely on these ecosystem services, and the weakening of ecosystems due to biodiversity loss also weakens these services.
For example, deforestation contributes to climate change, which in turn leads to extreme weather events and other consequences.
Loss of plant and animal species, along with the absence of natural predators, can result in certain species growing out of control, leading to issues such as the spread of mosquitoes that cause malaria and dengue fever. With global warming, these mosquitoes are spreading to new regions, leading to the spread of disease.
In the Gula Gula Forest Projects, species diversity and nature-inclusive solutions—not monoculture—are at the center. Through ANR, we follow natural processes of forest regeneration to protect native trees. Farmers plant mostly native fruit trees and timber species. This species biodiversity creates an increasingly favorable habitat for native flora and fauna. More and more plants and animals are returning to our woodland farming systems. Even the Sumatran tiger occasionally visits our sites.
CO2Operate recognizes that rural poverty is both a consequence and cause of climate change and biodiversity loss. To combat these issues, we focus on restoring degraded land through natural methods which have the most immediate impact. By prioritizing the culture and needs of local communities, jobs and incomes grow, reducing poverty.
Equally or perhaps more importantly, ecosystem restoration creates critical habitats for plants and animals, which increases biodiversity.
As a result, CO2Operate's approach both captures CO2 and restores biodiversity, with CO2Operate continually monitoring the three main impacts.
To measure is to know
Measuring both above-ground and below-ground biodiversity is essential to understanding the full picture of ecosystem restoration. Soil life is a crucial component in the functioning of ecosystems as it influences carbon and nutrient cycling, suppresses pests and diseases, and directs plant growth and nutrient supply. To measure changes in underground biodiversity and the soil, Gula Gula Forest Projects collaborates with Brawijaya University in Malang. This will provide insights into the extent of soil structure and fertility improvement. Starting in 2023, we will also measure above-ground biodiversity to better understand how our restoration activities relate to biodiversity progress.