Every year, the Wild Green Memes for Ecological Fiends community divides up into gangs based on their favorite group of organisms, then the gangs compete by making memes and donating to conservation causes. The gang that raises the most money wins!
This year’s fundraiser will take place in three stages. Stage One will raise the money needed to give Ashton Biological Preserve a low-interest loan to convert their facility to solar power. Stage Two will raise the operating funds needed by the Alliance for a Sustainable Amazon (ASA) to continue their work this year. Stage Three is the stretch goal round--if we can reach it, the ASA will be able to implement a promising pilot program in addition to their current projects.
Ashton Biological Preserve is a land and tortoise conservation organization in central Florida. Read about their work on our Partners Page!
A large portion of Ashton Biological Preserve's yearly budget goes to power bills, and this expense could be dramatically reduced if they had the cash on hand to install solar panels at their facility.
The goal of Stage 1 in this year’s fundraiser is to provide Ashton with a low-interest loan to cover the cost of installing these panels. They will pay Wild Green Future back at the same rate they were paying the power company before, except that now, when they’ve paid back the cost of the panels, they’ll have free electricity for the next few decades.
Many organizations are limited in what they can do by a lack of capital, and it doesn't take much in the grand scheme of things to tremendously boost their potential. Microloans like these, where repayments are flexible and the only interest is the cost of inflation, fix this problem. As Ashton's payments come in, Wild Green Future can loan that money out to other organizations, and thus multiply the impact of a given amount of money many times over.
The Alliance for Sustainable Amazon is a nonprofit working to conserve the Peruvian Amazon. Their projects are based in the Madre de Dios region, which is home to vast tracts of primary rainforest that contain more species of plants and animals than almost anywhere else on Earth. Read about their work on our Partners Page!
The ASA’s conservation projects are vital in this highly biodiverse, rapidly changing region of high conservation value, but much of the organization’s ability to operate is threatened due to a COVID-related budget shortfall. The goal of Stage 2 is to close this gap.
This year’s stretch goal is to fund a new ASA program to ensure the health of the rainforest in Madre de Dios by improving the sustainability of the Brazil nut harvest.
Most of the world’s supply of Brazil nuts comes from this region, and because Brazil nut trees are dependent on intact primary rainforest, they are not farmable.
The Peruvian government has allotted large tracts of the forest for Brazil nut production, protecting an area of approximately 1 million hectares (2.4 million acres), and connecting several expansive national parks and reserves. These tracts typically range in size from 500 to 2,000 hectares and are privately managed by families who have lived in the region for generations.
The Brazil nut harvest provides a win-win for both people and nature. Profitability in this industry hinges on the health of the rainforest. Assuring the harvest’s long- term productivity and viability preserves the health of the rainforest itself.
Donations for the rest of the battle will help Wild Green Future to continue its conservation mission. Depending on how much is raised, we hope to provide microloans and grants, and to begin potential new initiatives we have planned for 2021.
Map of the Brazil Nut Corridor in southeastern Peru (credit ASA)
The ASA is planning to tackle the most important factor threatening the long-term sustainability of the Brazil nut harvest: lack of replacement tree planting.
Overharvest of Brazil nuts without replacement tree planting has led to a gradual decline as the large trees die of natural causes and aren’t replaced by younger ones. As revenue from gathering Brazil nuts decreases, many local families are forced to supplement their income with logging and other destructive practices. This damages the forest structure and reduces the pollination and growth of new Brazil nut trees.
If families can sustainably harvest Brazil nuts, they won’t have to turn to environmentally destructive practices such as logging and cattle ranching. As a result, these forests will continue to shelter a myriad of plant and animal species, allow for massive amounts of carbon storage, connect other protected areas in the region via corridors, and provide a livelihood for the people who call them home.
Depending on the funding amount raised, the ASA will work with a number of families in the community of Monterrey, the village nearest their research station in Madre de Dios. They have ongoing projects with at least four families, and their work will include two main activities:
The ASA will establish a nursery to produce tree seedlings for distribution among the Brazil nut harvesters they work with. Species will include Brazil nut and several timber species that have been severely depleted in the area. During the first year of the project, they will produce one thousand trees, with an emphasis on Brazil nuts trees.
The ASA will also hold a series of training sessions designed to build harvesters’ capacity to carry out the work of reforestation on their own. Training topics will include germination techniques for Brazil nuts, which, due to their complex biology, are difficult to propagate.
The ASA will also hold in-depth workshops in which harvesters will be trained to use GPS to gather spatial data necessary for planning reforestation efforts. Training will also cover techniques to maximize survivorship of planted seedlings, a common barrier to effective reforestation in the region. For example, the ASA's research has shown that Brazil nuts colonize open areas within the forest. This training will focus on helping harvesters to identify spots with high potential for tree planting along the trails they normally use to collect nuts. All training workshops will be led by a contracted forestry professional to ensure the employment of current best practices. They will start the program with five families.