Ancient Hindu Magic And Sustainable Tree Farming


On June 14-15, 2008, the BTF Team traveled to visit Nusa Island (NI), an island about 25 minutes by speedboat from Bali (we took the local ferry boat, about 2 hours, quite an experience).

NI is about 200,000 hectares in size, and very roughly I would say that 5 to 10% of the land has been planted with teak by the local farmers, mostly in the last 10 years or so. The soil is high in lime content, which produces a very high quality teak, although growth rates appear a bit on the slow side. The locals prepare the soil for planting, all by hand, and plant the seedlings in the rainy season. They use no additional irrigation, although water would be available both by wells (150/200meters deep), and by water reservoirs to catch the rain fall in the rainy season, for release in the dry season. So, it is quite possible that growth rates could be increased quite dramatically simply by improving forestry practices.

Although nearby islands are being very fast developed, given their proximity and ease of access from Bali, NI is still completely undeveloped. The reason being that it has very few nice beaches accessible by road, since most of the cost is cliffs, which drop 50/150 meters straight down into the Indian Ocean. At the bottom of these cliffs there are spectacular white sand beaches.

The population of approx. 50,000 is ethnically Hindu Balinese, and the life is still extremely rural traditional, although there is cellular coverage on most of the island.

We drove around practically the entire island in one day, which was greatly exhausting given that it was six of us on a little local pick up truck, and quite scary as well, if you see the roads …

We went there introduced by our Balinese architect, who is the grandson of one of he last kings of Bali, and is now on our team. We had meetings there with the most important village headmen, who both own personally and have the control of very large tracts of unfarmed land, which appears quite ideal for an environmentally positive forestry project because no clearings would be required (this is a must for any BTF projects). The local headmen and landowners are all very interested in getting involved with BTF, and they would be happy to be in charge of managing for us the workers teams, of which there is in abundance.

One additional twist: NI is considered by the Balinese as the most powerful center for magical rituals, both black and white magic, and there are two large Hindu festivals every year, both at night during full moon, which are absolutely local events, to which foreign tourists do not have access on a regular basis.

The plan is to establish an initial test site (10-100 HA), and then proceed with a full on project in the range of 1,000 to 5,000 Hectares, with possible expansion areas, to double the size of the initial project. We would lease the land for 30+30 years terms.

Tentative BTF NI Project timing would be as follows: negotiation of land contracts/options, setting up corporate structures/forestry licenses and management teams, and other preparatory items: August/September 2008; preparation of initial test site: September/December, 2008; planting of initial test site: January/February 2009; evaluation of initial test site: July 2009; preparation of 1-5,000 HA site: August/December 2009; planting of 1-5,000 HA site: January/March 2010.

In conjunction with the forestry, we would develop a high end eco tourist operation, with eco lodges, horse back tours of the island, scuba diving, and other activities. We have some of the top eco tourism experts in SE Asia on board with the BTF Team, and they are already working with BTF for the preparation of an eco tourism plan for Indo Forestry.
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