March 18, 2011
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) was set up to reduce greenhouse gases, with biodiversity conservation as a “co-benefit”.
It is therefore encouraging to see this project in Kenya, the Kasigau Corridor REDD Project,
WWC’s first project at Rukinga, Kenya, has been operating since 2005 protecting local wildlife and forests. The aim of this project is to bring the benefits of direct carbon financing to surrounding communities, while simultaneously addressing alternative livelihoods. Human-wildlife conflict has been a problem in the past, as local agents are reliant on flora and fauna as a means for subsistence. The Rukinga project directly addresses such sources of conflict in a holistic, sustainable approach. An additional goal is to secure a contiguous wildlife migration corridor between Tsavo East and West National Parks.
The project is being carried out by Wildlife Works Carbon LLC.
Our first REDD project in Rukinga, Kenya builds on a successful decade long track record, of bringing much needed jobs to a community that was being forced to destroy their magnificent wilderness in order to survive. In the last ten years we have turned back time, and restored a huge piece of land to a healthy vibrant ecosystem, full of elephants, lions, and 50 other species of large mammal. At the same time, the community has received 18 new classrooms for their children, and the employees and their families have received full health care benefits in a community with incredibly high HIV incidence. Wildlife Works also founded an organic greenhouse to promote healthier farming practices, to provide local farmers with cash generating citrus trees and free agroforestry trees to use for building and fuel wood. Wildlife Works Carbon will provide the financial additionality to ensure long term sustainability of Wildlife Works efforts in Kenya and beyond.
What seems to be missing here is a clear description of the distribution mechanism to a local contracting party (village council, group ranch, or other organization) the revenue stream the local party can expect over the life of the project. And how was free, prior and informed consent obtained?
March 13, 2011
This video illustrates what Dan Brockington aptly called Fortress Conservation,
February 16, 2011
This sounds whacky, but we need more experiments in conservation,
Feb 16 (Reuters) – Stuart Bray, a City of London financier turned environmentalist, is using his fortune and skills to develop novel ways to fund conservation, starting with teaching tigers to hunt in the South African bush.
October 3, 2010
This could be an indication of an outbreak of common sense,
There’s a bold new idea on the front edge of conservation: Let’s treat people as well as we treat animals.
Creating Conservation Communities
October 17, 2007
I have moved from the shores of the Mediterranean to the banks of the Amstel River in Amsterdam. I am now in the land of windmills, canals, clogs, and parakeets.
Parakeets? There are flock of bright green Rose-ringed parakeets (Psittacula krameri) in Amsterdam. They are noisy birds, and the story goes that one owner got so fed up with his pet parakeets that he let them fly off. Since they came from the foothills of the Himalayas, they had no problem surviving and breeding in the Netherlands.
Will the parakeets compete for resources with the local bird populations? Probably not catastrophically. Owls and goshawks now feed on them, keeping their numbers down. But they are probably here to stay.
August 1, 2007
Probably not. Very good article in The New Yorker.
Most of our current knowledge comes from observing bonobos in captivity.
Captivity can have a striking impact on animal behavior. As Craig Stanford, a primatologist at the University of Southern California, recently put it, “Stuck together, bored out of their minds—what is there to do except eat and have sex?”
July 28, 2007
The BBC reports from Congo’s Virunga National Park,
Conservationists have expressed concern over the “senseless and tragic” killing of four mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The bodies of three females and one male were discovered by rangers earlier this week in the Virunga National Park.
Officials said the “executions” were not the work of poachers because they would have taken the bodies.[...]
Because poachers would have sold the bodies as food or trophies, conservationists think the apes were killed by a group that was trying to scare wardens out of the park.
Similar killings of mountain gorillas took place in Rwanda to get back at the late Dian Fossey, of Gorillas in the Mist fame. She was widely hated in the local community because of her outspoken racism and violence against local people. It makes one wonder if community relations in the Virunga National Park are as good as they should be. And do the benefits to the local population of Virunga National Park outweigh the opportunity costs of the park?
Update: National Geographic reports that “Virtually all the charcoal supplied to nearby Goma—worth an estimated U.S. $30 million a year—is made from wood harvested illegally inside Virunga National Park”.
July 2, 2007
BBC has the story about Pleistocene Park, the recreation of an Ice Age ecosystem complete with megafauna, including horses, reindeer, bison, musk oxen, elk, wolves, Siberian tigers and possibly mammoths.
Here is an article in Science from 2005,
In the mammoth ecosystem, the collective behavior of millions of competitive herbivores maintained the grasslands. In the winter, the animals ate the grasses that grew the previous summer. All the while they fueled plant productivity by fertilizing the soil with their manure, and they trampled down moss and shrubs, preventing these plants from gaining a foothold. It is my contention that the northern grasslands would have remained viable in the Holocene had the great herds of Pleistocene animals remained in place to maintain the landscape.
So restocking the land with herbivores may allow grasslands to expand and be maintained, and create a Serengeti in Siberia. It is an interesting experiment. We wish them the best of luck!
June 14, 2007
The Washington Post reports on the Hadza hunter-gatherers,
50,000 Years of Resilience May Not Save Tribe
Tanzania Safari Deal Lets Arab Royalty Use Lands
YAEDA VALLEY, Tanzania — One of the last remaining tribes of hunter-gatherers on the planet is on the verge of vanishing into the modern world.
The transition has been long underway, but members of the dwindling Hadzabe tribe, who now number fewer than 1,500, say it is being unduly hastened by a United Arab Emirates royal family, which plans to use the tribal hunting land as a personal safari playground.
The deal between the Tanzanian government and Tanzania UAE Safaris Ltd. leases nearly 2,500 square miles of this sprawling, yellow-green valley near the storied Serengeti Plain to members of the royal family, who chose it after a helicopter tour.
A Tanzanian official said that a nearby hunting area the family shared with relatives had become “too crowded” and that a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family “indicated that it was inconvenient” and requested his own parcel.
The official, Philip Marmo, called the Hadzabe “backwards” and said they would benefit from the school, roads and other projects the UAE company has offered as compensation…
The long-run threat to the Hadza is habitat loss. Tanzania has for many years had one of the fastest growing human populations in the world, and the Hadza have lost land from encroachment by farmers and the destruction of woodlands. Ironically, what caused the destruction of one forest was the demand for charcoal from the neighboring Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
The actions of the Abu Dhabi royal family may or may not threaten the Hadza’s livelihood, but obviously some Hadza believe it does. What the Hadza need are clear and well-defined property rights to their land, including rights to charge tourists and hunters.
Here are a few photos.
June 13, 2007
Carl Zimmer writes that the first aerial survey of southern Sudan in 25 years has revealed vast migrating herds, rivaling those of the Serengeti plains, that have managed to survive 25 years of civil war.