Cultivation of oil palm provides food, biofuels, and livelihood opportunities throughout much of the tropical world. However, significant areas of oil palm cultivation have been undertaken on lands cleared of high diversity tropical forests. In some cases, these plantations have been illegally established on areas that were reserved for conservation values. Restoring these areas is both socially and ecologically complex. Cleared areas which are not tended become dominated by vines and brush, as well as fire prone pioneer tree species. This condition tends to become self maintaining, with natural succession to climax forest conditions indefinitely delayed by competition and repeated fires.
Working with local government officials and an international NGO, Brinkman Earth Systems developed a preliminary restoration plan for an approximately 10,000 hectare area of forest reserve that had been invaded by illegal oil palm plantations. The goal was to re-establish successional processes leading to climax forest conditions, while providing employment to replace oil palm revenues. Greenhouse gas offset credits were expected to provide an ongoing revenue stream to maintain the project.