After the herbarium we travelled to meet Palm Oil Farmer, Wilson, who runs Sabaki Farm, where our partner scientist, Tengku, is carrying out her trials in reintroducing Dendrobium anosmum.
Tengku has planted rescued dendrobiums on several of Wilson’s Oil Palms and is monitoring them for growth, flowering, seed set and seedling establishment.
This beautiful orchid which was once common has become very rare because of the loss of lowland forest to agriculture and Palm oil in particular. This is the same habitat loss that is responsible for the loss of Orangutangs and Sun Bears, and caused the need for the sanctuary we saw earlier. For biodiversity to thrive it is really important that ways be found find space for it in places such as Wilson’s farm
The plants are doing really well and several were in flower. Wilson also showed us his sustainable methods including his heard of Buffalo, that maintain the area around the palms, avoiding chemical use, provide fertiliser, and transport for taking harvested palm fruit for processing.
Lets hope that this is just the start of something significant in the palm oil areas.