Do you want to help save the Rufous-headed Chacalaca? (yes, there really is a bird by that name!) Great Green Macaw? Golden-headed Quetzal? White-necked Jacobin? and Mantled Howler Monkey? as well as iconic animals such as jaguar, puma, peccary, sloths and thousands of other endemic species of animals and plants? And all while supporting local communities with sustainable employment and clean drinking water? Well, that is what you do when you attend any of our Energy, Environmental or Sustainability courses as we offset all our course emissions, including your travel and other activities using the Carbon Balanced Programme of the World Land Trust (WLT).
Among their patrons is one Sir David Attenborough, and in his opinion, “The money that is given to the World Land Trust, in my estimation, has more effect on the wild world than almost anything I can think of.” For more of his thoughts click here
Although in the modern world we are unaware of the natural origin of everything we need to live, this does not mean we are any less dependent on a healthy natural environment. To quote David again, “Without the natural world, mankind is doomed. We are dependent on the natural world for the very air we breathe and every particle of food we eat.” Among many other things, we can also add carbon regulation to his list. Intact habitats such as forests represent significant carbon stores sometimes equivalent to hundreds of tonnes per hectare, both in the trees and vegetation above ground and in the roots and organic matter below in
Unfortunately, less reputable carbon offsetting schemes risk trashing the natural environment by infringing traditional rights, clear felling native vegetation and replanting with fast-growing monocultures of eucalyptus and pine to earn ‘carbon credits’ on world markets. A much better way involves conserving and replanting native tree species to support native animals and plants and to keep the people on the land to protect the forest while earning a sustainable living through agro-forestry, as eco-tourist guides, environmental educators, foresters, tree nursery workers and wildlife rangers.
This is what the WLT does and, furthermore, it carries this out in the world’s biodiversity ‘hotspots’ – locations which support the highest numbers of endemic species (species found only in those areas). Your carbon offsetting will be carried out in the Andean foothills of western Ecuador, helping maintain linkages between the Podocarpus and El Condor National Parks which are threatened by agricultural expansion. Both parks are extremely important for their mega-rich biodiversity and rare and restricted species. These dry forests of the Tumbesian region represent one of the richest and most threatened biotic sites on earth with
only 1% of the original forest area remaining in Ecuador. At present the funds are concentrated on Maycu, a sandstone massif (or ‘tepui’) unique in this region – a special place within a special place.
In spite of this catastrophic loss of habitat, outstanding and unique wildlife can still be found in the remaining forest patches. However, surrounded by a patchwork of farmland these small woods are too small to support the key larger species – larger birds, monkeys and predators – in the long-term. WLT works with local partners to purchase and link forest patches by re-planting cleared areas with native tree and shrub species. WLT’s reforestation and Carbon
Balanced programmes are focused here and on three sites in the Tumbesian Dry Forest region, namely the Cerro Blanco, Jorupe and Laipuna reserves, all owned and run by partner Ecuadorian charities (Fundación Pro-Bosque, Fundación Jocotoco and Nature and Culture International). These harbor dozens of bird species globally threatened with extinction along with thousands of other animal and plant species, many of which are yet to be discovered by science.