FALL SUPPLEMENT 2013
Saving Real Acres in Real Places
RAINFOREST BULLETIN A NOTE FROM THE CEO The Amazon Basin holds two-thirds of the world’s fresh water, produces 20% of the planet’s oxygen, and contains nearly half the earth’s tropical rainforests, which store at least 90 billion tons of carbon. The well-being of our planet has much to do with the health of the Amazon, and the impact of losing such a resource is almost unimaginable. Yet each year, satellite images confirm this as a real possiblity. As things stand, conservation losses in the Amazon can be massive – but so can victories. Enormous multi-million-acre forests remain intact and healthy. We have a small window – less than a decade – to protect these landscapesized ecosystems before losing them forever. Seizing this opportunity, we have embarked on our most ambitious project ever: we will protect 5.9 million acres – an area larger than two Yellowstone National Parks – in the Peruvian Amazon. The effects of doing so are far reaching. This will consolidate a 10 million-acre wildlife corridor and halt a proposed highway project sparing millions of acres from loggers. This is truly a monumental undertaking, and I hope you will join us to make it a reality. Sincerely,
Dr. Paul Salaman - CEO, Rainforest Trust
IN THIS ISSUE fall supplement 2013 Amazon Project ........................................... 1 Las Tangaras Expands .................................. 1 Rainforest Trust Project Appeals ................... 2 Photo Highlight .......................................... 2 Species Spotlight......................................... 3 Reserve Expansion at Serra Bonita .............. 3 Success of CEDIA ...................................... 3 In the Field: Nicholas Locke ....................... 3 Colombian Conservation .......................... 4 Mapping Grant Awarded ............................ 4 1.800.456.4930 | info@RainforestTrust.org www.RainforestTrust.org
© Diego Pérez
Rainforest Trust Embarks on 5.9 Million-Acre-Amazon Project The remote Sierra del Divisor Mountain Range, located in the heart of the Amazon, includes a biological community rich in rare, endemic, and threatened wildlife. Both the species it contains – discovered and undiscovered – and its strategic location in the center of a 10-million-acre wildlife corridor make it one of the Amazon’s highest conservation priorities. Despite its biological riches, the Sierra del Divisor faces threats from oil and mining development, pipeline construction, and illegal logging. Unchecked, these threats could destroy the area within a few years. Roads also pose a serious challenge. In 2003, the Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America (IIRSA) proposed construction of a highway between the Peruvian city of Pucallpa and its Brazilian counterpart, Cruzeiro do Sul, which would run within the proposed national park boundaries. If built, the road would open millions of acres to logging.
If built, the road would have devastating impact on the region’s natural integrity. In the Brazilian Amazon, for example, almost 90% of deforestation takes place within 60 miles of government-built roads. To permanently protect the Sierra del Divisor and the diverse areas that surround it, Rainforest Trust is working with Peruvian partner, CEDIA, on its most ambitious conservation effort to date. The project will create two nationally protected areas - Sierra del Divisor National Park and White Sands National Reserve - along with a buffer zone of indigenous-owned community territories. These designated areas will surround and protect the Iskonawa Territorial Reserve from outside intrusions. Numbering only 300-400, the Iskonawas, or “fierce people” as they are known by neighboring tribes, live in voluntary isolation, dependent upon the forest for their continued survival. (continued on page 2)
Las Tangaras Expands
Working with its Colombian partner, ProAves, Rainforest Trust secured the purchase of two properties totaling 3,117 acres that will be added to the Las Tangaras Reserve. The Las Tangaras Reserve protects a key portion of Colombia’s Chocó Rainforest. Although this rainforest has received scant study, preliminary findings indicate that it holds some of the highest concentrations of endemic species in the world. Despite its impressive biodiversity, the Chocó Rainforest is quickly disappearing.
Logging, gold-mining, and cattle production have all destroyed large areas of the forest. The purchase of these properties will significantly expand the reserve and provide improved protection for the many threatened and endemic species found within its borders. The reserve now totals 7,977 acres. ■
RAINFOREST TRUST MISSION: to purchase threatened rainforests and protect endangered wildlife through community engagement and local partnerships.
FALL SUPPLEMENT 2013
Rainforest Trust Project Appeals around the World Habitat for Elephants and Apes: Protecting Palawan’s Wildlife: Borneo Philippines
Sanctuary for Rare Amphibians: Madagascar
As vast oil palm plantations in Borneo expand, the rainforest habitat upon which the island’s pygmy elephants and orangutans depend is being destroyed at an alarming rate. As a result, populations of these species have plummeted in recent years. Only 1,500 pygmy elephants now remain in Borneo.
The island of Palawan contains one of the oldest, largest, and most diverse rainforests in Southeast Asia. With so many rare and endemic species - including the Palawan bear cat - dependent on its survival, the protection of Palawan’s rainforest is a conservation priority of global importance.
After nearly 90 million years of isolated evolution, 90% of Madagascar’s plant and animal species are found nowhere else in the world. In the last 50 years, however, 40% of Madagascar’s forests have disappeared. With only 10% of the island’s original forest intact, wildlife populations have significantly declined.
To ensure the survival of these species, we have teamed up with HUTAN, our Malaysian partner, to buy more than a dozen properties along the Kinabatangan River, creating a wildlife corridor between the Keruak Forest Reserve and the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. The corridor will be crucial for orangutans and pygmy elephants as it will allow them to move safely between these protected areas.
Until recently, the island’s small human population exerted limited pressure on its natural systems, but a series of threats, which include logging and urbanization, now pose serious challenges. To prevent the destruction of Palawan’s forests and safeguard its numerous endemics, Rainforest Trust is working with its partner in the Philippines, the Centre for Sustainability, to create the 80,000acre Cleopatra’s Needle Forest Reserve.
Madagascar’s Akaratra Massif is home to three critically endangered species - two frogs and a gecko - that survive in remnants of the cloud forests that once covered the region. To protect the last populations of these species and prevent their extinction, Rainforest Trust is collaborating with its local partner in Madagascar, Vondrona Ivon’ny Fampandrosoana, to establish a 20,558-acre reserve.
Rainforest Trust Begins 5.9-Million-Acre Amazon Project (continued from page 1)
Although the area has yet to be thoroughly studied, a rapid biological inventory conducted in 2005 found dozens of potentially new species; researchers expect that future surveys will result in the discovery of more. Historically inaccessible, the Sierra del Divisor remains a refuge for plant and animal species threatened elsewhere in the Amazon. It is home to a remarkably high number of primate species containing 16 of the 33 species found in the Amazon Basin – more than any other area in Peru, including Manú National Park. In total, this project will protect 5.9 million acres of Amazon Rainforest, an area nearly 8 times the size of Yosemite National Park. ■ To learn more, visit www.rainforesttrust.org/ projects/tropical-rainforest/peru/ Watch Dr. Paul Salaman, Rainforest Trust CEO, discuss this new project: www.youtube.com/RainforestTrust
© Thomas Müller © Thomas Müller
Sloths, which spend most of their lives slowly navigating forest canopies, are not typically associated with water. They are, however, quite comfortable getting wet. Sloths move three times faster in water – about 25-feet per minute - than they do on land. Thomas Müller, a Peruvian photographer working in the Sierra del Divisor last year, spotted this sloth as it crossed one of the many rivers originating in the remote Amazonian mountain range. Visit www.RainforestTrust.org to learn more about the Sierra Del Divisor.
FALL SUPPLEMENT 2013
RAINFOREST BULLETIN 3
OUR PARTNERS IN THE FIELD
Bornean Orangutan Pongo pygmaeus
Q & A with Nicholas Locke
PRESENT STATUS: Endangered; fewer than 41,000 individuals remain. HABITAT: Tropical forests of Borneo and Sumatra. DIET: Primarily fruit and leaves, occasionally insects or bark. THREATS: Habitat fragmentation and loss pose principal threats; hunting and the illegal pet trade also threaten orangutan populations. CURRENT PROTECTION: Borneo and Sumatra have designated orangutans as protected species; however, the majority of orangutans live outside protected areas. INTERESTING FACT: Orangutans are the world’s largest tree-climbing mammal and can recognize over 200 different food plants.
Reserve Expansion at Serra Bonita Rainforest Trust has supported its Brazilian partner, Instituto Uiraçu, to purchase three properties that have expanded Brazil’s Serra Bonita Reserve by 682 acres. The new properties will enlarge the reserve’s total size to 6,182 acres, and will provide protection for six rare bird species, as well as the Northern brown howler monkey, a critically endangered primate known to inhabit only a handful of isolated areas. Located in the Serra Bonita Mountain Range, in the Brazilian state of Bahia, the reserve protects one of the last intact remnants of the Atlantic Rainforest. This rainforest, considered to be the second most endangered biome in the world (Madagascar is first), is also one of the most biodiverse. Much of the forest within the Serra Bonita Reserve remains in a pristine state, and its protection has allowed local wildlife to bounce back. A special thanks to Luanne Lemmer and Eric Veach for their generous support for this project. ■
The Success of CEDIA Since its founding over 30 years ago, CEDIA (Center for the Development of an Indigenous Amazon) has been protecting large areas of the Peruvian Amazon. For 19 years, Rainforest Trust has worked with CEDIA to create seven protected areas and indigenous reserves totaling over five million acres. CEDIA works in both courts and communities to ensure conservation success. Earlier this year, CEDIA achieved a monumental legal victory when it oversaw the annulment of a logging concession along the Tigre River in the Loreto Region. This historic decision invalidated a flawed logging contract by acknowledging the rights of local indigenous communities. The case set a new precedent in Peru, paving the way for future successes by conservationists and indigenous groups. Founded in 1982 by Lelis Rivera, CEDIA was one of the first Peruvian conservation organizations to work in the Amazon and pioneered conservation in this largely unprotected part of the country. During the course of his career, Rivera has amassed extensive knowledge of the region’s rivers, forests, and native communities. As Executive Director of CEDIA, he is regarded as one of Peru’s most accomplished conservationists. By maintaining a solid relationship with Peru’s government over the last 30 years, CEDIA has protected more than 15 million acres of Amazon rainforest through the creation of national parks, sanctuaries, indigenous reserves, and community land-titling. ■
Nicholas Locke is co-founder and project manager of Rainforest Trust’s Brazilian partner REGUA. Since 2007, Rainforest Trust has worked with REGUA to protect nearly 700 acres of the Atlantic Rainforest.
Q: How much of Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest remains? Very little. The history of Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest is a history of destruction and of habitat loss. Only about 7% of the original forest is still intact. Our studies have shown that the most important part of this rainforest is its lowlands. These biologically-rich areas, however, have been logged since the 16th century to make room for agriculture and housing. Q: How does REGUA expand its forests? We begin by locating seeds of rare Atlantic Rainforest trees, usually by looking in other forests. We’ve been working with about 80 different tree species, a mixture of pioneer and hardwood species. They grow quickly. What used to be pasture is now transforming into a young forest that is very species-rich. Trees only six years old are 20-30 feet in height. Q: How do you protect REGUA’s rainforests? Our rangers are instrumental in keeping REGUA free of poachers and loggers. To find rangers, we identified young guys that loved being in the forest. However, many of them loved hunting, too. I approached them and said, “How would you like to work for us on the basis that you’re walking in the forests, but you’re not allowed to carry your gun?” We gave them a month-long trial, and at the end of the month we found that they had bought into the idea;they were perfectly happy patrolling the forest. Our rangers feel like they are part of the project, and we have almost eliminated hunting from REGUA. Q:
Yes, we have a fantastic ecolodge. Everyone is invited to stay with us and walk the forest here. Come see what we’ve been able to do in the last five or six years. You’ll be amazed. ■
25 Horner Street Warrenton, VA 20186 www.RainforestTrust.org
FALL SUPPLEMENT 2013
MAPPING GRANT AWARDED
Luis Ángel Ramírez, a shopkeeper in the Colombian village of El Roble, has spent much of the last 13 years as the unofficial voice of conservation in a wilderness of ranchers and loggers quickly destroying the forest of Colombia’s Antioqueño Department. Ramírez, who grew up on his family’s ranch and still works part-time as a rancher, understands well the urge to expand cattle production. The impluse, however, failed to resonate with Ramírez who eventually played a central role in setting up a reserve to protect the region’s wildlife. Ramírez’s first conservation victory came as a young boy when, after many pleas, he successfully convinced his father to spare the family’s forested properties from the axe. After he and his brother inherited the family ranch, Ramírez realized his dream of protecting the forests permanently by converting his inheritance into a nature reserve. This reserve now forms an important part of a protected area sheltering a multitude of threatened Andean wildlife. The 5,100-acre Arriertito Antioqueño Nature Reserve, which has doubled in size due to Rainforest Trust support, protects habitat for the Arriertito Antioqueño, an endangered bird species endemic to the area. ■ Watch Luis Ramírez tell his story: www.youtube.com/RainforestTrust
Rainforest Trust Consistently Earns Charity Navigator’s Top Rating
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With development from the nearby city of Rio de Janeiro quickly expanding into the Guapiaçu Valley, Rainforest Trust awarded Brazilian partner, REGUA, a $10,000 grant to map and study lands surrounding its rainforest reserve. The twoyear grant will allow REGUA to determine vegetation cover and identify property lines throughout the entire 186-square-mile Guapiaçu Valley. Upon completion, REGUA will be in a position to effectively prioritize land purchases, thus improving its ability to create wildlife corridors and protect the Atlantic Rainforest’s vanishing biodiversity. REGUA has bought and saved nearly 20,000 acres, which cover approximately 25% of the Guapiaçu Valley. REGUA hopes to eventually protect 85% of the Guapiaçu Valley. ■
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