Paris Sembiring

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2012
Bank Pohon


This profile was prepared when Paris Sembiring was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Paris saw a disconnect between attempts to reforest vast expanses of degraded lands in Indonesia and a lack of incentives and know-how among communities in and around those lands to sustain such efforts. After initial campaigns to plant seedlings, the majority of seedlings would wither and die in the hands of families who either did not know how to care for them or had no reason to in the face of pressure to meet their immediate subsistence needs. Paris saw an untapped opportunity for the community to gain economic returns by participating in reforestation efforts while driving greater efficacy in tree survival.

Through Paris’ Tree Bank model, he engages farmers, young people, students, teachers, and scavengers to establish environmental groups to produce high-quality seedlings in a self-sufficient mechanism. Paris involves waste pickers to select quality seeds among waste from juice vendors to supply nearly 400 groups across 10 provinces throughout Sumatra Island. He engages groups of students from kindergarten to university to develop nurseries and serve as proponents of reforestation and other environmental work in their communities. To date, Paris has mobilized more than 16,000 environmental promoters in a movement that is self-sustaining and economically viable to increase forest coverage in degraded tropical forest land. Paris is currently working to spread the model to other islands beyond Sumatra.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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