Due to the on-going threat of clear-cutting, cloud forests are already extremely rare, currently making up just 2.5 per cent of our planet’s tropical forests. Cloud forests are home to thousands of species of plants, unique species of amphibians, reptiles, and birds, and 28 threatened animal species, including the spectacled bear, bush dog, giant armadillo, and the critically endangered harlequin frog.
CREATING A CONSERVATION/WILDLIFE CORRIDOR & SUSTAINABLE LIVING
With this project, ARC is creating a conservation/wildlife corridor and promoting sustainable living in the valley between the two mountain ranges of the Cordillera Escalera Regional Park. A main focus of this project is to protect the region’s jaguars which are under threat from habitat loss and conflicts with humans.
This valley is home to approximately 170 families – the majority of which are currently earning their living as cattle ranchers. Many of the cattle ranchers are older and their children are frequently more interested in working and living in town. This is an opportunity for us. It means more land is available for ARC to purchase. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.
ARC has already acquired 78 hectares (194 acres) of land and we are fundraising to purchase more. But the work doesn’t end with the land purchases. In fact, that’s when some of the REAL work begins. Within our newly acquired land, we are reforesting areas previously cleared for cattle grazing. We are also working with local families to help them change to alternative livelihoods such as forest guardian, agroforestry, and beekeeping for honey production.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Since it all begins with land purchases, your support is needed so we can acquire more land. Our dream is to turn the entire valley – which covers 8,650 acres – into a conservation corridor to unite the fragmented habitat of the native wildlife that call the valley home. Yes, it’s a big dream! But it all starts one acre at a time.
The cost to purchase one acre of land in the valley varies but is typically around CDN $750.
We also need your help with our reforestation efforts. Some of the land we acquire includes areas degraded by cattle pastures which need to be returned to their natural jungle state. Not surprisingly, this is a labour intensive project. As a first step, our reforestation team will install a nursery and irrigation system near an existing water source. This will provide shade and water for the seeds and seedlings collected from the primary forest on our land. At the same time, the team will plant leguminous species in order to choke out the grass and restore soil fertility. The next step will be to plant fast growing native tree species that like full sunlight. These trees will generate natural shade for the slower growing, shade-loving native tree seedlings. A vital element included in this project will be the planting of native species that have economic value to provide a sustainable income stream for the local community.
The cost to reforest one acre of cattle pasture is CDN $1,000.
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