With our partners, we're protecting nearly 240,000 hectares of tropical forest in seven countries across the world.
Wildlife in Indonesia
Harapan Rainforest is so rich in wildlife that it can be described as one of the world's 'biodiversity hotspots'. Animals found in the forest include tigers, Asian elephants, otters, porcupines, bears and turtles. And 300 different species of birds breed there - including hornbills, eagles, storks, parrots, kingfishers and rare pheasants. The Rafflesia flower - the world's biggest - blooms on the forest floor and a huge variety of insects can be found, too.
What problems does Indonesia have?
More than 95 per cent of Sumatra's lowland forests have been destroyed since 1900. Some rainforest trees are valuable and used for timber and plywood. Once they've been removed, logging companies clear the remaining trees and the land can be used for other purposes. Logged areas are prone to fires and flooding. And the crops planted afterwards are of little value for wildlife.
Illegal encroachment has been a problem in Harapan since the project began. However, over the last year the problem has become much worse, with recent immigrants from far afield illegally logging areas of the forest for timber and planting oil palm.
Whilst the encroachment isn't large enough to damage the integrity of the forest, we need to take urgent action. If we don't take action to remove encroachers and restore the damage they've caused, the project will be in breach of its licence, putting the future of Harapan, and the indigenous people and wildlife that call it home, in danger.
We're working with the Indonesian government to combat the problem and over the coming months we'll be identifying and working with any genuinely poor farmers and taking legal action against large-scale speculators, who will have to leave the site.
Saving the forests of Indonesia
Thanks to the work with our partner organisation, Burung Indonesia, the Indonesian government changed the law. That meant we now have the rights to manage the forest without having to do any logging. Over the next 100 years, we will reverse the damage that has been done, giving the people and wildlife that live there a secure future.
'Gibbons are the most amazing alarm clock. They start singing at 5 am in Harapan Rainforest. A family of them live right by the camp. They're a constant reminder of why we are here.'
-Dieter Hoffmann, RSPB Head of International Country Programmes
Wildlife in Kenya
The South Nandi Forest is home to more than 110 species of birds, nearly 50 of which are only found in forests, including the endangered Turner's eremomela. It's also home to some amazing animals, including the elusive leopard and the giant forest hog - the largest pig in the world! South Nandi Forest is one of only three areas of native forest left in the River Yala catchment. These areas are major providers of water for local people.
What problems does Kenya have?
The main threats to this important forest are trees being cut down to make room for farming, overgrazing by livestock, charcoal production and wood being sold as timber or fuel to help boost the income of local people. The forest is surrounded by 59 villages where villagers live on less than 55p per day. The villagers mainly depend on farming to make a living, but they often need to find some other way of boosting income to take care of themselves and their families.
Saving the forests of Kenya
With support from the Department for International Development, we've been helping NatureKenya to work with local communities and the Kenya Forest Service to help protect the forest. We've been helping build capacity at the local level for managing the forest, showing the local communities alternative ways of boosting their income which don't harm the forest, and setting up sites where people can learn about alternative fuel sources.
'The other villagers can see the benefit of the nursery. We’re given respect by other groups in the village and we’re asked to share our experiences by the local leaders.'
- Margaret M. Kisibo, Kenya
Wildlife in Monserrat
Montserrat is home to some plants, animals and birds that are unique to the island. The Montserrat oriole is found no where else in the world and there are thought to be fewer than 500 pairs left on the island.
The Montserrat anole and Montserrat galliwasp (both lizards) are also only found on the island. The mountain chicken is one of the largest frogs in the world and the Centre Hills is home to the largest remaining group of them in the wild.
What problems does Monserrat have?
Since 1997, the Soufrière Hills volcano has erupted repeatedly, wiping out most of the forest on the south side of the island. The Centre Hills are now the only bits of upland forest left standing, making this a small, but incredibly important area.
Unfortunately, the area is over run with animals that have been introduced by people, including rats, pigs and goats. These animals eat many of the plants and animals that are usually found there. Keeping the Centre Hills safe and controlling these introduced animals is imperative to the survival of some of the island's wildlife.
Hurricanes and droughts are also a threat.
Saving the forests of Montserrat
Working with our partners, we've helped establish the Centre Hills as a National Park in order to ensure its protection and we continue to help the Government of Montserrat with looking after the park. We've also been helping with surveys to keep a close eye on the birds that call the forest home.
Wildlife in Sierra Leone
The forest is positively teeming with life. There are more than 500 species of butterfly, 45 species of mammal, including pygmy hippos, forest elephants and chimpanzees and more than 300 species of bird, including rufous fishing owls and white-necked picathartes.
What problems does Sierra Leone have?
The Gola Rainforest was established as a Forest Reserve for commercial use in the 1930s. But in the decades that followed it has suffered from unsustainable commercial logging, and was under threat from mining companies seeking to clear the forest for iron ore, and from shifting small-scale farming.
Saving the forests of Sierra Leone
Gola Rainforest became Sierra Leone's second National Park in December 2011. It's the country's most ambitious conservation programme and has been a terrific success.
As well as protecting the forest for the amazing wildlife that lives there, we're helping to support community development projects to rebuild schools and bridges, fix water supplies, build clinics and establish sustainable uses for the forest.
A cross-border Peace Park is being created together with neighbouring Liberia, where more good-quality forest lies. Though we've been working in Gola for a while, there's still much to do...
'A hundred years ago, the whole coast of West Africa, from Guinea to Togo, was covered by Upper Guinea forest, with trees so big it would take a dozen people to encircle them. Few of those beautiful big trees are left.'
- Jonathan Barnard, RSPB Head of Tropical Forests
Wildlife in Tanzania
Tanzania has more globally threatened birds than any other country in Africa. The Ulugurus themselves are brimming with a wide variety of wildlife, including some species of plants, animals and birds that are found no where else but there including the critically endangered Uluguru bush-shrike and Mrs Loveridge's sunbird, more than 135 types of plants, two shrews, six reptiles and five amphibians.
The Ulugurus also are the water catchment area for the Ruvu River, which is the main water supply for Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania's largest city.
What problems does Tanzania have?
The average income of the local communities is a quarter of the national average, so poverty levels are high. This means there's increasing demand on the forests, particularly for timber and firewood. In order to supplement low incomes, people are driven to use unsustainable farming practices on the steep slopes. This causes water quality and quantity to deteriorate and means that crops are less successful.
Saving the forests of Tanzania
In order to protect the Ulugurus in the long term, local people must be involved. With the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST), we're developing a long-term financing scheme so that both biodiversity and local communities benefit.
The proposed scheme will support local communities to develop alternative livelihoods and improve farming methods. This will help reduce the amount of pressure on the forest and protect water supplies.
'As well as helping the forest and the water supply, our work also helps farmers to make a living growing fruit and vegetables.'
- Habib Robert Masanja
Wildlife in Thailand
Tropical rainforests are the most wildlife rich of all forest types and the lowland forests of Thailand and Myanmar support more than 100 bird species making them one of the richest bird communities in the region.
As well as the charismatic Gurney's pitta, other threatened birds include hornbills, colourful kingfishers, barbets, bulbuls and babblers. The forests of Myanmar also support tigers, gibbons, bears, pangolin and a wide variety of reptiles and plants.
What problems does Thailand have?
Gurney's pitta is now only found in two places in the world. The population in southern Thailand is teetering on the edge of extinction and we need to work fast to ensure the population in Myanmar doesn't go the same way.
The forests are under huge threats and we're helping to protect the remaining forest from encroachment, commercial logging and clearance to make room for oil palm and rubber plantations.
Saving the forests of Thailand
Working with our BirdLife Partners in Thailand and Myanmar and local communities we’re helping restore the forests to their former glory. As well as undertaking research into Gurney's pitta and training local conservationists in reforestation techniques, we are running awareness programmes with local schools.
We need to help ensure today’s children appreciate and protect these tropical forests for Gurney's pitta and the large number of other species that depend on them.
'Local people plant seedlings to improve the environment around their community, whilst also restoring wildlife habitat.'
- Kuhn Anusit Konghor
Wildlife in Uganda
Echuya Forest is home to more than 140 types of bird, including 18 species which are only found in the Albertine Rift (an area that runs through this region of eastern Africa) and the endangered Grauer's swamp-warbler. There are few mammals left due to poaching, but there are some olive baboons, blue monkeys and Delany's mouse, which is threatened by habitat loss.
What problems does Uganda have?
Echuya is in one of the most densely populated and poorest areas in Uganda, so the locals depend heavily on the forest. They use it for many things including firewood, poles and bamboo - this puts enormous pressure on the forest.
Saving the forests of Uganda
We've worked closely with Nature Uganda to allow the local communities and the Government to together to protect the forest and provide sustainable livelihoods. We've also helped provide alternative sources of income to forest products, such as bamboo and firewood. We're keen to support this vital work.
'The money from the passion fruit has changed my life. It’s helped me provide a better life for my family. I can even afford to send my children to school!'
- Eldad Bakeringere, Uganda