If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that we’re forever encouraging you to think about rainforests when you shop and to choose products with the Rainforest Alliance frog on them. Well, I’m pleased to say that we’re going one step further for rainforests and we’re now fully fledged members of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN).
What’s that got to do with Rainforest Alliance? Well, the SAN set the standard for sustainable agriculture and it’s their criteria that decides whether or not a product gets the coveted frog stamp. So what will we be doing? We’ll be a member of the SAN board and we’ll be working with the other members to evaluate the standard and make sure it’s the best that it can be, for people, wildlife and the wider environment as a whole.
To fit nicely alongside that, we’re also working with the Rainforest Alliance on a project around the Gola Rainforest National Park. This work will improve the livelihoods of the people living in the communities around the edge of the Gola Rainforest through growing and selling rainforest-friendly cocoa and avoiding deforestation..
We love it when new images from our camera traps come in – clandestine photos taken of the hidden world deep within our rainforest projects, revealing the wildlife that calls the forests home and that we rarely get the privilege to see. Amongst the hundreds of photos that come in, there’s one or two gems that completely blow us away.
One such photo was the amazing shot of the forest chimpanzees taken in the Gola Rainforest National Park which we shared with you last Christmas. In fact we loved the photo so much that we entered it into the BBC Wildlife Camera-trap photo of the year competition. It looks like the judges loved it too as we were awarded commended in the animal portraits category, which isn’t too shabby at all considering the competition!
All the winners, runners up and commended photos are now up on the BBC Wildlife website for you to see so if you’ve got a spare couple minutes, grab a cuppa and enjoy! We'd love to know which one's your favourite...
Harapan is the Indonesian word for hope. The fact that our flagship tropical forest project in Indonesia bears that name couldn’t be more appropriate this week as this amazing place is once again under threat. Despite opposition, there is a proposal to build a 50km road through the middle of Harapan Rainforest, effectively cutting this area in two and putting the already-threatened wildlife and the indigenous people who call this area home under even greater pressure.
Rest assured we’ve formally objected to this proposal and we’re working with our partners on the ground to do everything we can. We’re optimistic that the company concerned and Indonesian authorities will understand the consequences of allowing such a proposal to proceed. It’s not just the immediate threat to the critically endangered tigers, elephants, tapirs, clouded leopards, and pangolins from 850 coal trucks a day passing through the forest that’s the problem. We’re also concerned that this gash will inevitably allow easy access for illegal loggers and encroachers, as well as invasive plant species to put further pressure on this unique forest and its inhabitants.
Importantly, not only would driving a road through Harapan be like driving a dagger through its heart, but it would also put at risk the other projects that have followed in the footsteps of Harapan’s success. Harapan really does present “hope” for the restoration of millions of hectares of forest in Indonesia, and it’s vital that it continues to lead the way rather than being sacrificed for short-term gain.
We’re as shocked by the application as no doubt you are and we can’t understand why the road development proposal has even been considered, as already existing routes exist outside the boundaries of the forest. This really is make or break for forest conservation in Indonesia – we believe that any decision to permit the road would reflect badly on Indonesian commitments to restore degraded forest, where as rejection would confirm a commitment to the environment and a sustainable future. Now really is the time to hope that the right choice is made.
Photo by Clare Kendall (rspb-images.com)