Community Conservation

Lake Mills, WI, United States

Community Conservation

Lake Mills, WI, United States
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Samoa, Fiji, Niue, and Vanuatu account for about 25 percent of the land area and 28 percent of the threatened plant and animal species of the south-western edge of the Polynesia-Micronesia Biodiversity Hotspot. In recent years, FAO has been helping protect ecosystems here through the Forestry and Protected Area Management (FPAM) project, which operates under the Global Environment Facility Pacific Alliance for Sustainability (GEF-PAS). The FPAM project is designed to strengthen biodiversity conservation, reduce forest and land degradation, and enhance the sustainable livelihoods of local communities. As part of the project, three Community Conservation Areas were established in 2016 on the Samoan island of Savai’i aiming to protect unique highland cloud forests. Already, the investment is paying off for the environment and local farmers on Savai’i. FAO is working with the Government of Samoa in supporting three Community Conservation Areas across eight villages on the island of Savai’i. The conservation areas aim to preserve biodiversity and maintain the ecosystem services of intact forest protected areas, mainly in the highlands. These highland forests – often referred to as cloud forests – are 600 metres or more above sea level. Under the slogan “Healthy ecosystems, Healthy food, Healthy people”, FAO and its partners have set up demonstration farms to show famers how to increase productivity, promote sustainable agriculture in lowland forest ecosystems, and improve people’s diets, health and incomes. The demonstration farms in the villages of Taga, Gataivai and Matautu use tunnel houses and a variety of different types of farm equipment and organic agricultural techniques. FAO is working in cooperation with the Samoa Farmers Association and Women in Business Development Incorporated in training farmers in sustainable land management techniques. So far, more than 120 farmers have participated in training. Activities have included the application of agroforestry systems, compost preparation, green manure and crop rotation, organic pest management, contour planting and other measures to avoid soil erosion. Women’s committee takes charge In Taga, the demonstration farm is managed by the village women’s committee. Fruit and vegetable varieties on the farm include Chinese cabbage, eggplant, chilies, okra, lettuce, water spinach, papaya, water melon, green pepper, tomatoes and bananas. In addition, root crops such as taro varieties and yams have been distributed to the community, while fruit trees such as Tahitian lime and rambutan have also been planted. The women’s group actively works on the demonstration farm, benefitting directly from the newly-learned techniques. Many of the participants apply the same knowledge on their own farms by using seedlings from the demonstration farm to produce a large variety of fruits and vegetables. New methods and alternative crops that benefit families Local Taga farmer Notoa Sione used to trek routinely to the highlands to plant taro. “Planting taro this way is time consuming and very hard work,” he says. He now has a farm made of several large plots close to the family home where he grows a variety of green vegetables, tomatoes, eggplant, chillies and cabbage, in addition to taro. He also supplies to vendors in the area. Sione notes that, compared to taro, Chinese cabbage grows fast and has a high yield, resulting in higher income for him and his family. Grateful for the project and the knowledge and techniques he has learned, he has now established his own nurseries to grow seedlings for transplanting to his farm. Lemalu Sami Lemalu, FAO’s FPAM Samoa Project Coordinator, explains that farmers plant taro in the highlands by clear-cutting the virgin forests, which grow on fertile soils. This farming method destroys both the forests and their capacity to retain and filter water. With the protective forest cover removed, soil erosion and flash floods disrupt the local water supply and lead to sedimentation of the protective reefs and negative impacts on fisheries. The FPAM project has instead shown farmers ways of producing a variety of vegetables and fruits closer to home in the lowlands. These new ways not only contribute to farmers’ health and nutrition but also generate additional income. Importantly, they do so without destroying the highland forests that are vital for the island’s ecological balance. Seeing positive growth and results Since the start of the project in January 2016, farmers on Savai’i have already produced crops with an estimated value of US$115 000. Though the farmers consume much of the produce themselves, they have still managed to sell crops worth an impressive US$67 000. Ultimately, they are both able to grow nutritious food in a sustainable manner and make a profit. Establishing conservation areas in the Pacific The FAO/GEF FPAM Project covers Samoa, Fiji, Niue, and Vanuatu. Its global environmental objective is to strengthen biodiversity conservation and reduce forest land degradation in these countries.

Allendorf T.D.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Das R.,Natures Foster | Bose A.,Natures Foster | Ray B.,Natures Foster | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology | Year: 2013

Conservation with a high level of community involvement is proving to be an effective way to conserve forests with benefits for livelihoods and biodiversity. However, peoples motivations to participate in conservation in developing countries are not well studied or understood. One example of a highly successful community conservation program is the Golden Langur Conservation Project (GLCP) in the Manas Biosphere Reserve. The project was initiated in 1998 to protect the endangered golden langur (Trachypithecus geei) and its forested habitat. By 2005, community forest protection forces had been created and were successfully protecting the forest. They have been effective in stopping illegal poachers and confiscating illegally taken timber and wildlife. The objectives of this study are to describe the community forest guards motivations to participate in the program, and their perceptions of the project. Results show that these community-based guardians are motivated to participate by multiple factors: conservation, social benefits, and economic opportunities. Conservation of forests and wildlife seem to play the primary role in motivating guards to participate in conserving the forest. However, economic benefits and social benefits also play important roles. © Taylor & Francis.

Horwich R.H.,Community Conservation | Islari R.,Green Forest Conservation | Bose A.,Natures Foster | Dey B.,Natures Foster | And 4 more authors.
ORYX | Year: 2010

The Golden Langur Conservation Project in Assam, India, was initiated to involve local NGOs and communities in protecting the Endangered golden langur Trachypithecus geei and its habitat on a regional basis within a complex political situation. Since langurs are leaf eaters they are dependent on forests. The Project area, once dominated by militant action and ethnic violence, is in a densely populated area and formerly suffered much illegal deforestation and accompanying reduction in the golden langur population. The Project began with two NGOs and evolved into the formation of a forum of five NGOs focusing on a large proportion of the golden langur range in Assam, and eventually included > 11 newly formed community-based organizations. Each NGO focused on nearby Reserve Forests and their resident langur populations and adjacent human communities. The community-conservation tools used included (1) initial local community awareness campaigns, (2) formation of local Forest Committees and Self Help Groups, (3) a major regional awareness campaign about the golden langur and its forested habitat in the Manas Biosphere Reserve, and (4) creation of a number of village-based Forest Protection Forces. The Golden Langur Conservation Project has resulted in an increase in the total Indian population of golden langurs, control of illegal logging and poaching in two isolated Reserve Forests by formation of a protection force of surrounding village groups, and curtailing illegal logging and increasing forest protection in the Reserve Forests of the Manas Biosphere Reserve by the formation of 10 tribal, government-sanctioned volunteer Forest Protection Forces. The Project created an atmosphere of community awareness of the golden langur and its forests and community interest within the region, with communities taking responsibility for protection of regional forests. Copyright © 2010 Fauna & Flora International.

Horwich R.H.,Community Conservation | Das R.,Natures Foster | Bose A.,Natures Foster
Primate Conservation | Year: 2013

The golden langur (Trachypithecus geei), which only became known to science in 1953, is endemic to western Assam, India, and southern Bhutan. The Indian population had been greatly depleted due to a fragmented range and the species was declining radically in 1997 with a pessimistic view for its future. The Golden Langur Conservation Project was begun in 1998 with the goal of protecting the golden langur within its entire Indian range. At the time of the project's initiation, the species was considered India's most endangered primate due to limited range and major deforestation (50%) as a result of a complex political situation from militants in the forest threatening the Assam Forest Department staff, and ethnic violence. The project worked with regional non-governmental organizations and government agencies using the following tools to effect conservation contagion: 1) community meetings; 2) involving villages in forest committees and "Self Help Groups" for economic development; 3) formal seminars; and 4) celebratory events for the creation of the Manas Biosphere Reserve. The project developed conservation contagion, resulting in villages creating their own conservation groups to participate in the project, eventually resulting in 18 community groups forming Forest Protection Forces collectively, under the Unified Forest Conservation Network, to protect almost the entirety of the Manas Biosphere Reserve as well as other reserve forests in Assam. This community protection resulted in an increase of the Indian population of golden langurs from c.1,500 in 1997 to c.5,600 langurs in 2007 to 2012. The project also resulted in the lifting of the "in danger" listing for the Manas Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The Indian population of golden langurs mainly resides in the Manas Biosphere along the Bhutan border and in a number of southern isolated reserve forests north of the Brahmaputra River. In adjacent Bhutan, the southern subspecies is contiguous with its Indian counterpart and with the northern subspecies, which has more gray on its arms and tail and inhabits higher altitudes. The Bhutan population is grossly estimated at over 6,600 langurs based on a population census of 60 km2, giving a total estimate for the species in Assam and Bhutan of over 12,000 individuals. The potential for community conservation in Bhutan is also discussed.

Shanee N.,Neotropical Primate Conservation | Shanee S.,Neotropical Primate Conservation | Horwich R.H.,Community Conservation
ORYX | Year: 2015

Amazonas and San Martin are two of the most densely populated regions in rural Peru and have some of the highest deforestation rates in the country. They are also home to many threatened and endemic species and are considered a high priority for conservation. Under Peruvian law individuals and community groups can create private conservation areas and conservation concessions, and we evaluated the successes and challenges experienced in the creation and management of such areas, using direct observation, questionnaires and key-informant interviews. Our results show that far from being a problem for conservation many rural communities are actively promoting or participating in conservation initiatives on a local scale with landscape-level impacts. These initiatives include land protection, hunting control and reduced deforestation, thus providing effective solutions to threats. The main obstacles we identified in relation to such campesino (peasant farmer) conservation initiatives were the lack of access to support from governmental and non-governmental institutions and to economic resources to fund the extensive bureaucratic processes of registering protected areas. Many campesino communities bypass these restrictions through informal conservation initiatives. Copyright © Fauna & Flora International 2014.

Biswas J.,Primate Research Center India | Borah D.K.,Primate Research Center India | Borah D.K.,Gauhati University | Das A.,Primate Research Center India | And 5 more authors.
American Journal of Primatology | Year: 2011

The purpose of this study was to determine the taxonomic status of an unidentified enigmatic macaque seen by scientists since the late 1990s in Arunachal Pradesh, India. We surveyed 49 troops of enigmatic macaques in four districts of Arunachal Pradesh. The population studied is from the macaque sinica-group as defined by the reproductive organs. The main species-separating trait in the sinica-group is tail length to head and body length ratio that decreases with latitude and elevation. We gathered data on morphology, pelage descriptions, tail to head and body ratios and tail to hind foot ratios from photos and live animals (43 individuals from 36 areas) within the range of and between the two subspecies of the Assamese macaque (Macaca assamensis). We compared the data to six western Assamese macaques and studies of Assamese macaques and related species. We found great variability in tail length, pelage color, facial skin color, and facial and hair patterns. The tail/head-body and tail/foot ratios, although varied, supported the hypothesis that these enigmatic forms were part of a population of Assamese macaques found in the gap between the two subspecies ranges and were not a new species as described earlier. Instead, we found evidence that darker pelage, larger body size, and shorter tails occur at higher elevations and latitudes similar to the general trend in the sinica-group's adaptations to colder climates. Thus, the population may be important for its variation, throwing light on the speciation process and how the northern species of Tibetan macaques evolved from an ancestor similar to the Assamese macaques as adaptations to a colder climate. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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