The World Land Trust is now supporting three projects in the Atlantic forest of Brazil – one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world – working with REGUA in Brazil to protect and restore habitat; with Guyra Paraguay on reforestation projects; and developing a new project in the Misiones region of Argentina, where one-fifth of the remaining Atlantic forest can be found.
Another new project is creating a reserve in the Dry Chaco of Paraguay, around a lagoon which is an important watering hole for wildlife. Ecotourism facilities are being planned for two of our reserves – at the Sid Templer Reserve in Paraguay and the Estancia La Esperanza in Patagonia – in both cases to help provide a sustainable income for the reserves.
We continue to work with the Wildlife Trust of India to create elephant corridors and it is anticipated that work on the Siju-Rewak corridor can be completed during 2007, while we continue raising funds for the acquisition of a second corridor in Kerala. WLT is providing significant funding to help recreate forest habitats using restoration ecology in Ecuador, Brazil, Paraguay, India and the Philippines – including two mangrove restoration projects funded by of our Reef & Mangrove Appeal.
2006 was a busy year for the World Land Trust – supporting ongoing project and developing a number of exciting new initiatives.
We continue to support our Brazilian partners, REGUA, to protect an area of Atlantic forest and have recently been successful in securing funding from the Netherlands Committee for IUCN (the World Conservation Union) to buy an area of land adjacent to the Reserve. This was a very strategic purchase as the site had planning permission for housing development and the forests would have been lost had we not been able to step in. The reintroduction of red-billed curassows will continue at REGUA this year, with the possibility of reintroductions of other species in the future, including tapir.
Paraguay & Argentina
WLT is working with Guyra Paraguay where we are funding reforestation in the San Rafael Reserve in southeast Paraguay – one of the most important remaining tracts of Atlantic forest. We are developing a new project in the Misiones region of Argentina, where one-fifth of all the remaining Atlantic forest can be found. Significant funding has already been received to purchase land in the buffer zone of the Yabotí Biosphere Reserve, linking three other reserves (including one in Brazil) to create a continuous protected area totalling 148,000 acres (60,000 ha) in size.
Another exciting new project is in the Dry Chaco of Paraguay. This arid habitat is threatened by fire, overgrazing and encroachment for agricultural land, so WLT are working with Guyra Paraguay initially to purchase an area of 20,000 acres (8,000 ha) – which is particularly important as it is centred around a lagoon, which acts as a permanent watering hole for wildlife.
During 2006, funding was provided to expand the Chaco-Pantanal reserve to nearly 25,000 acres (10,000 ha). A small lodge is now being developed, along with additional infrastructure, which will not only allow Guyra Paraguay to access and manage the site but also benefit the local community. The development of an ecotourism facility is also being assessed as a potential option to provide a sustainable income for the Estancia La Esperanza in Patagonia.
WLT continues to work with Ecuadorian partner, Fundación Jocotoco, and we have recently developed a partnership with a second NGO in Ecuador, called Fundación Pro-Bosque. Fundación Pro-Bosque manages the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest, which consists of 16,600 acres (6,700 hectares) of dry tropical forest on the outskirts of Guayaquil. This is one of the last remaining Ecuadorian dry forests which are considered to be in critical danger of extinction. The reserve has an immense biodiversity, with 219 species of birds, eight of which are globally endangered, including the Great Green Macaw, which is the symbol of the reserve.
During 2007, WLT will be providing significant funding to both organisations’ reforestation programmes – helping to recreate forest habitat in areas that have been previously converted to pasture.
Our relationship with the Wildlife Trust of India continues to be very dynamic. We have part-funded the purchase of land in Kerala to create an elephant corridor connecting Forest Reserves, while the Siju-Rewak corridor in Meghalaya is now nearing completion. WLT will continue to raise funds to acquire the remaining area of corridor in Kerala during 2007.
With funding rasied by our Reef & Mangrove Appeal, we are working with WTI to buy an area of coastal mangrove in Kerala, where a tree nursery will be developed to help restore mangrove to other parts of the coastline which have previously been cleared. In 2006, we have funded a project with the Philippines Reef & Rainforest Conservation Foundation to plant mangroves on Negros Island – one of the larger islands close to Danjugan Island, which WLT helped raise funds to purchase during the 1990s.
Closer to home, WLT continues to manage our Kites Hill Nature Reserve in Gloucestershire to benefit local biodiversity. During 2007, we plan to create a pond on the site, which will not only support aquatic wildlife but also increase the interest of our nature trail. Kites Hill acts as an example of how WLT works on all its projects – in close partnership with local organisations to create protected areas for threatened wildlife – and in 2007, we have much more planned with all of our projects to help us achieve this goal.