Why You Should Care About Wildlife Conservation

Tribute To World Wildlife Day

Without action to protect biodiversity at a time of disappearing habitats and increased poaching, Black Rhinos, Sumatran Tigers, Western Lowland Gorillas and thousands of other animals are on the verge of extinction.

endangered species conservation and forest conservation

The loss of iconic species is a tragedy with broad and deep impact. Animal, plant and marine biodiversity keeps ecosystems functional. Healthy ecosystems allow us to survive, get enough food to eat and make a living. When species disappear or fall in number, ecosystems and people—especially the world’s poorest—suffer.

Biodiversity is critical to ending poverty and promoting shared prosperity

Biodiversity is especially important to the poor—75% of whom live in rural areas and depend on nature for their food and livelihoods. The World Bank Group is committed to protecting biodiversity around the world. A leading financier of biodiversity conservation, the Bank has over US$ 1 billion actively invested in protecting nature and wildlife. The Bank is also the largest provider of development assistance to fight environment and natural resources crime, with US$ 300 million invested in forestry, fisheries and wildlife law enforcement.

Just how important is biodiversity to those who live in extreme poverty?

Take the case of Sierra Leone, where overfishing and pollution dramatically lowered the volume and diversity of fish stocks.  The Bank worked with communities to bring the marine ecosystem back to life by improving surveillance and prosecution of illegal fishing, and providing training on sustainable fishing practices. Nutrition and livelihoods have improved for local villagers as a result.  “Without the fish, it would be very, very bad,” says Addie, a young woman from Freetown, Sierra Leone. “For most, fish is the only protein available. Without the fish, we would get thin and weak—we would die.”

palm oil plantation deforestation

The World Bank works with governments and partners around the world to protect oceans, forests, mountains, pasturelands and other ecosystems that are important for people’s livelihoods. Bank support has helped protect 480,000 hectares of coastal zone in Guinea-Bissau for its resident marine life and an emerging tourism industry. By giving residents in Brazil’s Acre State resources to manage their forest resources sustainably, the Bank helped push deforestation rates down by 70% and raise real GDP by over 44%

The Bank engages communities in biodiversity conservation through incentives for nurturing the environment. In Kenya, a World Bank-supported project around Nairobi National Park paid 338 households to remove fences from their fields and allow wildlife to use an additional 22,000 hectares of adjacent land. Wildlife populations increased and families used income from this arrangement for school and medical fees, as well as livestock. The Bank also helped introduce participatory forest and pasture management in 251 communes covering 307,665 hectares in Albania. This led to sustainable management of community resources, reforestation of 1,634 hectares, and an 8% increase in incomes for participating communities.

deforestation and climate change

Investments in biodiversity can create jobs and raise incomes. The Bank’s US$ 5.5 million investment in South Africa’s Greater Addo Elephant National Park spurred millions in private sector investment, and created 614 jobs for people living in the surrounding areas. A project that supported conservation and sustainable management of forests and rural areas in Honduras increased community incomes by over 300% and created over 8,000 jobs.

Everything is connected. World Bank-supported reforestation in the hills of Rio, Brazil has been good for wildlife and people. “I’ve seen so many canaries, bluebirds, toucans and monkeys lately,” said community leader Nilza Roza. Healthy wildlife populations signal that the water table, which provides reliable water for the city, is working. Reforestation has also made communities safer from landslides, restored trees that absorb carbon dioxide and earned revenue-generating carbon credits for the city.

When we protect animals and plants, we also protect the ecosystems that underlie our economies and well-being.

Source: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2014/03/03/why-you-should-care-about-wildlife

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Forest Conservation Good For Business

Sustainable Palm Oil Ignores Biodiversity

Editor’s Note: The term sustainable palm oil is misleading consumers as it relates to biodiversity and endangered species. I am looking for a clear and concise statement that tells me that companies that purchase such products aren’t promoting wildlife extinction through deforestation. The sole barometer at this point should be orangutans, tigers and elephants on Sumatra, for example. How can sustainable palm oil come from a plantation that sits on land that once was pristine jungle habitat for endangered species? Convince me that there are no loopholes and schemes at work to prevent this from happening.

Secondly, let’s assume that I’m wrong and let’s give credit where credit is due. Unilever has announced that it is sourcing all palm oil from sustainable sources ahead of schedule. They are obviously paying attention to the issue of illegal deforestation and that’s a start. They are big enough and influential enough to be a leader that can promote change. The key is that this change happen before the jungles, orangutans, tigers and elephants are extinct. A sustainability champion can’t take its eye off of the web of life. 

Finally, we issue a challenge to Unilever and its suppliers. We have an urban forestry model that can truly be a sustainable palm oil model. It can accomplish many objectives around the world. Let’s talk. 

palm oil plantation deforestation

Business is the solution to environmental progress, not its enemy, said the head of one of the world’s largest corporations. Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, accepted the 2013 Commitment to Development “Ideas in Action” Award from the Center for Global Development last night. Unilever was recognized for its work in reducing deforestation through its sustainable sourcing of palm oil and pulp and paper products.

“First and foremost I am a businessman; I cannot deny that,” said Polman. Like most corporate leaders, he excels in tracking progress and measuring success, important tools for both building a successful company and rooting out the cause of environmental degradation. “Otherwise, you don’t move things forward, and I think that’s one of the things that businesses are good about,” he added.

Owner of such brands as Ben & Jerry’s, Dove and Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Unilever has successfully sourced 100 percent of its palm oil from certified sustainable sources (which means what?), three years ahead of schedule, according to the company’s 2012 annual report. Unilever alone purchases about 3 percent of the total global palm oil output. It has set a goal to trace 100 percent of its palm oil back to the plantation on which it was grown by 2020.

endangered species conservation and forest conservation

Polman has exhibited leadership on the issue not just through Unilever, but through his work in the Consumer Goods Forum and the Tropical Forest Alliance, industry groups whose members have committed to sustainable sourcing of materials. Capitalism, said Polman, has been “an enormous positive force in this world.”

But the financial crash of 2008 also showed the limitations of capitalism to help society. Enormous debt, aggravated by overconsumption, had left a large part of the world’s population behind and disregarded the “natural capital,” or the value of ecosystems.

The company pulls in about $67 billion in revenue annually. It is this size and scale that have allowed the company to influence deforestation policy.

“You take Unilever: We have 2 billion consumers using us every day; we are in seven out of 10 households globally,” he said. “If you have that scale and reach, it’s an enormous possibility to transform markets.”

Palm oil can be found in a variety of foods, personal care products like soap, and biodiesel. The rapid expansion of palm oil, driven by rising global demand for food and fuel, has been linked to widespread deforestation in Southeast Asia, the source of about 85 percent of palm oil. About 10 percent of global carbon emissions is linked to deforestation. The death of orangutans, tigers and elephants has been caused by the industry.

palm oil kills orangutans

In the last two decades, the area of palm oil plantations has expanded nearly eight times in Indonesia alone, according to a recent Agriculture Department Foreign Agricultural Service report. Growers have been accused of clearing native forests, removing habitat of endangered species and violating the rights of forest dwellers.

Unilever was also a player in palm oil trader Wilmar’s recent agreement to adopt a no-deforestation policy, which prohibits its suppliers from establishing plantations on lands with large amounts of carbon — like peat soils — or lands with a high conservation value (ClimateWire, Dec. 8, 2013). Wilmar controls about 45 percent of the palm oil market.

“The Wilmar commitment sets a new global standard for industry and creates new constituencies in forest countries among the private sector for improved land-use policies and improved law enforcement,” said Frances Seymour, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and an expert in forest policy. “Mr. Polman’s actions give us hope that market transformation can be achieved and that we can stop tropical deforestation.”

Polman organized a global outreach program with businesses that, together, make up 10 percent of global gross domestic product.

deforestation and climate change

“Among CEOs, Polman is seen as the go-to guy for sustainability leadership,” said Glenn Hurowitz, a palm oil campaigner and executive director of sustainability consultant group Catapult. He “knows how to use Unilever’s purchasing power, leverage and influence to help transform the entire supply chains of some of the world’s most environmentally intensive commodities.”

Language is key in generating a response. Polman has made a habit of placing the word “illegal” in front of deforestation.

“The reason it’s illegal is that everything we do now cannot be reversed, and by calling it illegal, by the way, I get far more people to agree with me,” he said. “There’s something still in our humanity, in our values, that we don’t like to do things illegally. We should have called the whole thing ‘illegal climate change,’ and we would have solved it.”

Polman is anxious for other large palm oil traders to make similar commitments to Wilmar.

“If we can get Sime Darby or Sinar Mas or Cargill or one or two others to join, you’re at 70 percent; that’s a tipping point,” he said, naming some of the largest traders after Wilmar. “Again, if we don’t do it, our business is at stake.”

Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/stopping-deforestation-makes-business-sense-says-unilever-ceo/

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com