At the end of May, Participants from 15 countries came together to exchange knowledge, cultivate collaboration and tackle a big challenge for conservation: how to move away from unsustainable funding cycles towards long-term solutions to protect natural habitats.
The online accelerator conference was a weeklong event with a diverse portfolio. BirdLife Partners came to seek ideas for long-term sustainable income that would support local communities while preserving the forests around which they live. Solutions range from the production of bird-friendly yerba mate tea in Paraguay and Argentina, to obtaining carbon credits, and local entrepreneurship. Therefore, the Accelerator Online conference was also diverse. We have covered a wide range of topics, such as how to form meaningful partnerships with companies or how to manage the risks involved in entering into financing agreements. We explored these complex, perhaps arid, topics through games, conversations, interactive knowledge downloads, and role-playing.
This year, BirdLife’s Forest Landscape Sustainability Accelerator is expanding. We are proud to announce five new BirdLife partners from Nepal, Malaysia, the Philippines, Colombia and Mexico who will join the Accelerator 2021 cohort. Each seeks a more sustainable future for forests by accelerating the mechanisms that restore landscapes, conserve nature and support a thriving green economy. Here’s a look at three of our new Accelerator partners. Welcome to the accelerator effect!
Asociación Calidris, Colombia – protecting forests to fight climate change
Colombia has the greatest diversity of birds in the world, but the Paraguas-Munchique forest corridor in the western Andes is highly threatened. This expanse of verdant mountains is a refuge for 741 incredible bird species. To protect this habitat, the Asociación Calidris is developing a REDD + certified carbon project. This mechanism generates carbon credits, which can be sold to create a consistent income stream for the landscape. A feasibility study has shown the potential to protect 52,000 hectares of forest against deforestation, generating around 2.8 million tonnes of CO2 reductions. By working alongside local people, the next step is to develop an equitable governance structure to ensure that the benefits of carbon sales are distributed fairly among communities, with conservation at the heart of the action.
Bird Conservation Nepal – growing herbs instead of cutting down forests
Across the Mai Valley and Kangchenjunga Mountain in eastern Nepal, you will find wild rhododendrons and orchids, among thousands of species of medicinal and aromatic plants that are completely unique to Nepal (and the world). Bird Conservation Nepal is developing a model that commercializes the riches of this landscape without exploiting it. Faced with poaching, forest fires and illegal harvesting of plants, they pioneered a model of community forest management. Communities now cultivate and harvest herbs and spices in a sustainable way, while running a tourism business. Their ambition is to extend this successful model to three districts, ensuring a better future for people and forests.
Malaysian Nature Society – welcoming tourists to a hornbill hotspot
The Malaysian Nature Society wants the Belum Temengor Forest in western Malaysia to become the “Hornbill Center of the World”. The ten species of Malaysian hornbill live in this forest, one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, which has vast benefits for indigenous and rural communities who depend on the ecosystem services provided by the forest. Sadly, the harvest of rare agarwood and timber plantations has devastated the landscape over the years, and the Malaysian Nature Society is working on an alternative.
Using a forest certification program, they promoted sustainable timber production, ending endemic logging and influencing policies vital to keeping trees standing. Ecotourism is an important way for local people to continue to conserve forests, so once it is safe to do so we encourage you to visit the ‘Hornbill Center of the World’ and see if you can spot. the ten of these mighty birds …
the Forest landscape sustainability accelerator is a Billions of trees initiative led by the BirdLife Forests program, supported by the Hempel Foundation and Google.org