Rainforest Trust Donation: Helping save 6235 Acres to Help Create the Red Panda Community Forest Posted on 25 Sep 11:30 , 0 comments

At EnviroBuild we Donate 10% of our profit to Rainforest Trust to help save rapidly disappearing forests as well as offset the carbon footprint of our production process. By only using recycled materials to fabricate our products and supporting a charity that protects our rainforests we hope to be an as ethical supplier of building materials as possible. Rainforest Trust is a non-profit charity that helps to preserve the world’s remaining rainforests by partnering with local and community organisations in vulnerable areas around the world. They buy large expanses of forested land and then manage it in a sustainable manner that benefits not only the local wildlife but the people who live there too.

The Project

We decided to support a project by the name of: Creating the Red Panda Community Forest. Thanks to EnviroBuild's customers we were able to donate enough to provide funds for 6,235 Acres of rainforest and after match funding this was more than 12,000 acres of previously endangered rainforest in the mountains of Eastern Nepal that we were able to save!

The Area

Sandwiched between India and China, Nepal is the home of the Himalayas, Mount Everest and the ancient city of Kathmandu. The Himalayan mountain range has been recognised as a biodiversity hotspot due to its rich diversity of forested ecosystems that scale the slopes. Rich grasslands ascend into Tropical rainforest which gives way to temperate forest and eventually alpine meadows.

NEPAL LANDSCAPE. PHOTO BY ::LENZ/FLICKR

The area of land that the trust has purchased is a vital region for the population of the red panda which is quickly succumbing to the threats of over exploitation. Large swathes of Himalayan forest are being torn down to make way for agriculture leaving behind fragmented and degraded forest. The Rainforest Trust has bought up a pivotal area of the intact and diverse forest creating a safeguard not just for the Red Panda but also the other wildlife in the area. With the help of the Red Panda Network they will form a 430,050 acre protected area that will also create an alternative income source for local communities and will connect 3 other existing protected areas through wildlife corridors.

Challenges

Like much of the region the proposed site of the community forest reserve is under growing pressure from deforestation for timber, mining and land clearing for cattle grazing. Once the reserve is established they will be able to protect the local ecosystem from these damaging threats.

COLLECTING FUELWOOD. PHOTO BY BIKAS RAUNIAR/DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Biodiversity

The Red Panda is definitely the most charismatic member of the Racoon family and is the focus of this Rainforest Trust project. With its iconic russet and cream fur and expressive face it is easy to see why this species has been a fan favourite among zoo goers. However if action isn’t take soon the Red Panda will soon only exist in zoos as it is being hunted to near extinction for its desirable fur.

RED PANDA. PHOTO BY MATHIAS APPEL

The Red Panda is not the only species that will benefit from the new reserve. The Pangolin which has recently been in the newspapers due to the booming black market trade of pangolin scales. The scales are used to create traditional medicines across Asia. It will also be a home to the Himalayan Brown Bear, unfortunately the bear too is suffering from an all too familiar story as researchers have seen the numbers rapidly declining. The biggest threat to the Brown Bear is habitat loss and poaching for the giant mammal’s fur, claws and various body parts. As logging, mining and farming replace the bears natural habitat the bear has less and less space in which to live and it is believed that it now only occupies only 2% of its original range!

The Himalayas is such a special region that there are countless species that are only found in the famous mountain range. The Himalayan Wolf, Himalayan Blue sheep and the Himalayan Tahr are all found within the planned protective area and will benefit greatly from the protection against habitat loss and poaching.

Communities

It is important that the local communities are not only part of the reserve’s plan but integral to it. These local communities already do so much to try and protect the land, many of the cultural beliefs of these communities hold wildlife in high regard. Not only that but tribal women are often natural resource managers. They will prove to be instrumental in the implementation of the reserve and its success in protecting the local biodiversity.

NEPALESE CHILDREN. PHOTO BY ERIC MONTFORT

Solutions

The proposed park will cover a total of 430,050 acres connecting 3 existing protected area  including Nepal’s Kanchenjunga Conservation Area as well as India’s Singhalila National Park and Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary. This will form a giant protected forest that will cover various elevations and types of forest ecosystems. Within this newly formed area the local communities will carry out conservation activities, locals will also be trained to operate as forests guards who will regularly patrol and monitor the area. The patrols will help to stop poaching and will provide an alternative income source to communities who rely on the forest for their livelihood are no longer forced to exploit the forest.

PARK GUARDS IN THE FIELD. PHOTO BY AXEL GEBAUER.

What can You do to Help

  • Buy products that use recycled wood to reduce the need for logging
  • Make a donation at the Rainforest Trust website