Stand For Trees projects conserve over 18,000 square miles (imagine 6 New York City’s) of the most spectacular forest land on the planet. They conserve tropical and grassland forests around the globe that regulate our climate, protect hundreds of thousands of species of wildlife from elephants and rhinos to leaf-cutting ants and microscopic organisms, and they are home to tens of thousands of indigenous and local communities.
It can be challenging to imagine the magnitude and beauty of what our projects do without seeing them first hand, so to tell the story of our projects, here is first-hand testimony from the incredible people on the ground taking action to save the world’s forests.
Together we will learn more about what motivates and inspires the people who develop and run these incredible projects and how they are making the world a better and more sustainable place.
This week I’ll be highlighting the work of the Alcott Group’s Brazilian Rosewood Amazon Conservation project. I had the pleasure of interviewing Ron Dewhurst, and this is what we discussed:
What are the top three things you want the world to know about your project?
Ron: “The Brazilian Rosewood Amazon Conservation project protects an abundance of threatened species of flora and fauna, including the Brazilian Rosewood and Acapu, as well as Giant Anteaters, the Little Spotted Cat and the Ka’apor Capuchin Monkey.
The Project is seeking to achieve its ambition of becoming an exemplar of how REDD+ can transform a project area and the socio-economic development of the people who live within it. In agreement with the landowner, it is working to provide legal land-use permits that will result in oficial land titles for those villages that actively participate in forest protection.Through a unified programme of actions, the Project aims to break the cycle of multiple generation poverty by improving livelihoods through efficient farming and land management, land tenure and a fund that will support locally driven sustainable initiatives.
In purely environmental terms, the Project will prevent net emissions of more than 20 Million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide equivalent (20MtCO2e) over the project’s 40-year lifetime, verified against the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and validated at the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Association (CCBA) Gold Level.
What about the project are you most proud of?
Ron: “We believe the Project must be taken as a whole and therefore the inter-connected social and environmental program is what we feel make this Project stand out. Employment in forest protection, education of agro-forestry techniques and investment all help the local communities and the biosphere however the land ownership issue is a key obstacle that prevents long-term social advancement and adds to multi-generational penury. By attempting to solve this problem by organizing land title for the families that actively manage the area, a greater legacy will be achieved.”
What were the key drivers of deforestation and how have you overcome this?
Ron: “The Project takes place in an area of high deforestation so the preservation of ecosystem functionality is of high importance. Forest clearance for cattle grazing is currently a much more lucrative option for landowners, while illegal tree felling and export drives the gangs of illegal deforesters. By generating jobs in bio-diversity monitoring and forest patrolling, the Project protects against illegal deforestation and resultant ecosystem fragmentation.”
How did you get into this field and what motivates you to do this work?
Ron: “I got into this field when I witnessed the devastation on the British Columbia forests by the Pine Beetle. This was due to a climate shift to warmer winters that caused the pest to propagate out of control. The damage was staggering and the once great pine forests I walked in as a child turned to a sea of red death. It caused me so much self-reflection that it became a quest to save the world’s remaining forests.”
Can you describe the community your project works with and how REDD+ has benefitted that community?
Ron: “The term “pioneer frontier”, is currently the scenario of the Project Area, where forested areas not always close to roads but easily accessible through large and secondary navigable rivers. In this pioneer frontier many land-use and land-cover change activities take place such as landless people (locally known as “riberinhos” or those who dwell along river shores) occupying land giving birth to small villages, squatters slashing and burning forested areas to claim ownership, illegal loggers opening roads for selective logging and cattle ranchers buying obscurely-titled lands. All of the aforementioned activities take place because forested land is either considered to be of free access or because there is a weak or nonexistent presence of the legal landowner as well as weak law enforcement and control. Such pioneer frontiers are the preliminary stage for the development of consolidated frontiers in the hands of cattle ranchers.
The project will bring safety and security to the area for all and the forests. It will provide the development of mutually beneficial social enterprises that is sustainable within the forests and their communities. It will also provide secure land tenure and a new sense of partnership with the land for generations to come.”
Is there anything else you want to share with us?
Ron: “The project to date has been created and funded by the working citizens of the world in a collective to stop deforestation. No large institution, bank or Government has been involved in its funding or management. It is a true people movement to mitigate climate change in our world.”
Learn More About This Project:
Pará, Brazil houses one of the most diverse and abundant ecosystems on the planet. The Brazilian Rosewood Project in the Pará’s Portel municipality works to protect this fragile ecosystem by stopping rampant deforestation of carbon-dense rainforest while allowing degraded forests an opportunity to regenerate.
By supporting this project you are investing back into the community — 130 families in total — to provide employment for forest protection, and legal land-use permits that keep illegal deforesters away while protecting threatened species and local livelihoods in the process. The project also supports local villages to strengthen their social structure, improve food security through agroforestry techniques, and encourages less fuelwood usage by implementing energy-efficient cookstoves, which produce additional reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
- Protects threatened tree species like Brazilian Rosewood, and endangered species of animals like giant anteaters and the Ka’apor capuchin monkey
- Provides secured land tenure to villages committed to conservation
- Improves local nutrition through food diversification and agroforestry practices
- Provides jobs in forest management, and education in forest preservation
- Creates opportunities for communities to develop local businesses
Support this project now!