Conservation & Communities
Africa loses more than 10 million acres of forest every year -- twice the world’s deforestation rate. Global demand for forest and extractive industry products is growing, with competition for Africa’s natural resources at an all-time high. Meanwhile population growth in Africa is faster than anywhere else, with accompanying poverty, and basic needs unmet. To be effective, forest and species conservation must address the deeply rooted human problems associated with poverty. As Jane says, “How can we even try to save the chimpanzees and forests if the people are so obviously struggling to survive?”
JGI’s community-centered conservation approach provides local communities the tools needed to manage their natural resources for long-term economic gain and environmental prosperity. With increased local capacity, responsibility, and participation in the sustainable management of natural resources, communities are much better positioned to effectively preserve the natural environment and wildlife of their area.
We do not "parachute in" with defined solutions. Rather, we support communities as they identify priority development and conservation goals. As a result, our projects set is eclectic – reflecting the diversity of communities in Africa and the myriad problems they face.
Here’s an idea of what our activities look like on the ground:
- We educate farmers on sustainable farming methods such as rotating crops for soil fertility and re-cropping rather than clearing forest to make new fields
- We promote the use of fuel-efficient stoves that reduce the need for fuel wood by two-thirds and are made from local materials – saving time, money and trees
- We organize micro-credit programs that allow villagers – especially women – to obtain capital for small business ventures by pooling their own money seeded by JGI funds. The payback rate is impressive – over 85 percent.
- We work with villages to improve health through training and infrastructure development, including spring protection, shallow and bore wells, and ventilated improved pit latrines
- We place a special emphasis on girls’ education, providing scholarships that have help girls in Tanzania complete secondary school and beyond.
These sample projects are part of JGI’s conservation and community programming, which falls into four broad areas: