What would we do without forests that provide us with clean air, water, fuel, fiber, and inspiration?
About Photo: Sustainable economic development efforts like bamboo harvesting preserve Yunnan’s diverse natural resources and supply communities with income.
Forests help sustain all life on Earth. Whether you live in a bustling metropolis like Hong Kong or the remote Australian Outback, forests give you:
People like you have already helped us plant 23 million trees around the globe, including 10 million in China.
CLICK HERE to make a difference: A monthly donation of HK$500 could help plant 500 trees, providing habitat for Yunnan Golden Monkeys and other wildlife.
Trees for Health
For people in Hong Kong, preservation of the world’s forests is especially important to our quality of life. According to a 2012 study by Hong Kong University, the Civic Exchange and ADM Capital Foundation, one-quarter of people in Hong Kong have considered moving elsewhere because of the air pollution — and it’s no wonder why. The Hedley Environmental Index says that air pollution in Hong Kong was responsible for 3,000 premature deaths last year, as well as 7 million visits to doctors’ offices. But nearly half of Earth’s original forest cover is gone. Each year, an area nearly the size of Nepal is deforested — this is due, in part, to illegal logging, but also to agriculture, development, invasive pests, and diseases.
Besides the devastating impacts deforestation causes to human communities (dirtier air and water, less shade, increased likelihood of floods), it also destroys the habitat of 80% of the world’s terrestrial plants and animals.
Deforestation also contributes 20-25% of all carbon pollution causing global climate change.
Clearly, protecting and restoring the world’s forests is important to local communities, but also to us here in Hong Kong suffering from bad air quality.
Conservancy in Action: Catalyzing Forest Conservation in China
For all the threats to the world’s forests, there are as many ways to help protect and restore them.
With the support of our Conservation Champions, the Nature Conservancy helps protect and restore forests for the good of nature and people across China, planting 10 million trees and restoring forests in wilderness areas as well as places like Songshan National Nature Reserve near Beijing.
The Conservancy has been working with the government and communities in Yunnan since 1998 to protect forests for local communities and endangered species like the Yunnan Golden Monkey.
Our work has:
- Helped install more than 10,000 alternative energy units, such as biogas furnaces and solar power panels, in homes and schools in order to reduce deforestation for logging; making the air we all breathe cleaner and reducing emissions that cause climate change.
- Enabled the creation of Pudacuo National Park — the first national park in China;
- Led to a plan for the Conservancy to work with the State Forestry Administration to establish five community-based refuges to protect golden monkeys;
- Improved the management of Lashi Lake Nature Reserve and Meili Snow Mountain National Park; and
- Conducted geology, geography, vegetation and wildlife surveys in the Shangri-La Gorge to establish baseline information for the design and management of a new protected area.
Tengchong County, Yunnan Province
Most residents in Tengchong earn a subsistence living from hardscrabble agricultural operations, including chopping down firewood to sell. But now, a Conservancy project launched in Tengchong pays 277 households to protect forests. Says local resident Li Minghu, “This is the first time I’ve received payment for maintaining a standing forest instead of selling wood.”
The forests restored and protected through the Conservancy’s project in Tengchong will sequester more than 130 million kilos of carbon over the next 25 years, as well as produce oxygen and provide a home for gibbons, takin, and the Myanmar snub-nosed monkey — a newly discovered species.
Laojun Mountain National Park
Laojun Mountain National Park is home to 171 species of endangered birds and mammals on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) list. It’s also home to highly endangered Yunnang golden monkeys, of which only 2,000 remain in the wild.
The Conservancy wants to ensure the success of this important protected area, so we work with communities around the park to establish forest patrol teams and community associations.
Liangshan Region, Sichuan Province
Decades of deforestation have taken a toll on the Liangshan region, where logging for firewood — as well as livestock overgrazing and the overharvesting of medicinal herbs — have left only clumps of tree stumps where forests used to stand. Local people and wildlife have few natural resources left. To fix the problem, The Nature Conservancy, Novartis, the Chinese government, and communities in Liangshan have teamed up to restore 3,900 hectares of the lush forests that used to define this region.
Besides restoring forests, the project is benefitting local communities by creating tree-planting and forest patrol jobs and will remove about 40,000 metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere. Giant pandas, white-lipped deer, and Sichuan partridges will also benefit by having more connected habitat where they can thrive
Become a Conservation Champion: save our forests, and plant trees. All it takes is your commitment to a better world, our boots on the ground, and a meaningful donation. Make a difference.