About 74,000 square kilometers of rainforest trees are lost to deforestation each year. That is an area about the size of the country of Panama, or the state of South Carolina, or about three and a half times the size of Wales – every year! This is the reason for founding this rainforest conservation charity.
It is estimated that as much as HALF the world’s tropical forest is already lost. Some 137 species of plants and animals become extinct EVERY DAY due to rainforest loss.
Forest loss contributes between 6% and 12% of the planet’s annual carbon dioxide emissions (Nature Geoscience). It is the habitat of countless species of plants and animals which are vital to the well-being of the planet. Many medicines have been developed from rainforest plants. Most rainforest plants are still unknown to science and with every square kilometer that is destroyed the opportunity for future scientific and medicinal discovery is destroyed too.
Much tropical rainforest is cut down because subsistence farmers, using ‘slash and burn’ methods, are encroaching into what was once beautiful, pristine forest.
This rainforest conservation charity, “Green Rainforest”, aims to protect and restore areas of tropical rainforest, “one square meter at a time”.
We are a non-profit foundation set up to identify, purchase, restore and manage areas of tropical rain-forest. We are particularly focused on protecting habitat that is vital to the survival of the rain-forest’s apex predator – the Jaguar.
What We Do
We identify at-risk areas of tropical rainforest. We work closely with local communities to discover areas where forest is being destroyed. Sometimes these are in strategic ‘gateway’ areas, where, if a relatively small area can be protected by us, it can help prevent encroachment into the forested areas around it and so protect valuable habitat. Why focus on the jaguar? Because it is the apex predator. If the jaguar survives and thrives, it can mean that the whole ecosystem that sits below it – including waterways, vegetation, flora and fauna is healthy too.
How do we protect vulnerable forest? We work on the ground to establish WHERE forest is being destroyed, WHO is cutting down the trees, WHY they are cutting down the trees and WHAT we can do to prevent it.
OUR MISSION IS TO SAVE ENDANGERED RAINFOREST
… ONE SQUARE METER AT A TIME.
Example : Our “Jaguar Paw” Project
This project is a good example of how a small intervention can make a huge difference.
Meet Pascual. Pascual has lived deep in the rainforest all of his life. He makes a meagre living from a small herd of cattle and from poaching in the forest. He has cleared a large area of forest alongside the Boqueron river in Panama. Pascual’s cleared land is surrounded by beautiful forest-covered hills which should be home to lots of wildlife including deer, tapir, peccaries, sloths, monkeys, capybara and jaguars. Toucans, eagles and ospreys fly overhead. It should be a tropical paradise, but each year Pascual cuts down additional forest for land to support his cattle. This is because the land, once the trees have been destroyed, soon becomes infertile. So more land is needed. Pascual shoots any tapir and capybara that he sees. Not for pleasure or for sport, but for eating. Jaguars – finding that their natural prey is vanishing – occasionally take one of his cows. Pascual has said that if he sees a jaguar, he will shoot it too. And so soon the jaguars will be gone. Pascual is a good man, but he has no idea of the damage that his way of life, his cows and his poaching are doing. When trees are cut down, wildlife of all sizes vanishes too, and plant species are wiped out. When it rains on treeless ground, topsoil is washed into the rivers. Streams that were once crystal-clear become dirty and polluted. The land becomes sterile and infertile. Even cows cannot survive on it. So more land has to be cleared and more trees cut down. It is a horrible cycle of destruction.
Why doesn’t the government do anything to prevent deforestation?
In theory, much of the forest that is at risk is protected by the Panamanian government. It has established a system of national parks, where tree felling and hunting is prohibited by law. However, the government lacks the resources to police the activities of all of the people who are encroaching into the forest. There are thousands of square kilometers to police, and very few forest rangers. So the damage continues. In addition, there are many people like Pascual, who were living in the forest since before the system of protection was established and who cannot legally be evicted, regardless of the damage that they do.
GREEN RAINFOREST is set up to protect the rainforest from destruction by purchasing wherever possible at-risk areas, taking control of cleared land and returning it to nature so that the rainforest can recolonize and the animals move back in.
Why doesn’t the government do anything to prevent deforestation? In theory, much of the forest that is at risk is protected by the Panamanian government. It has established a system of national parks, where tree felling and hunting is prohibited by law. However, the government lacks the resources to police the activities of all of the people who are encroaching into the forest. There are thousands of square kilometres to police, and very few forest rangers. So the damage continues. In addition, there are many people like Pascual, who were living in the forest since before the system of protection was established and who cannot legally be evicted, regardless of the damage that they do.
Our JAGUAR PAW PROJECT aims to purchase the land that Pascual has damaged and return it to the rainforest. A small volunteer station will be established to monitor the plant and animal species in the area, and to prevent any further encroachment. Pascual will be employed to look after the station. We will literally turn a poacher into a gamekeeper!
The land in question is vitally important because it is strategically located. It is the most northern deforested area in the Boqueron valley, a classic ‘gateway’ location. If the land is not protected, the cleared area will gradually extend further into the valley until it meets the cleared area north of the forest. That would mean a corridor of destroyed rainforest extending from the Pacific to the Atlantic and it would cut in half one of the jaguar’s last habitats!
We call it the JAGUAR PAW PROJECT because we have seen prints of the jaguar on the edge of Pascual’s land. This is an animal that our project will save from almost certainly being shot. The cost of the JAGUAR PAW PROJECT will be USD 300,000. We believe this is a small price to pay to help maintain the integrity of the Boqueron valley habitat.
How You Can Be Involved
You can be involved in three ways – as a donor, a fund raising partner, or a volunteer intern.
All three roles are vital, and your contribution will make a difference and will save the lives of these animal species, many of which are endangered, by protecting their environment.
We need to raise funds to purchase areas of rainforest like the JAGUAR PAW PROJECT.
Every dollar that you donate will help Green Rainforest to achieve its goal of PROTECTING RAINFOREST – ONE SQUARE METER AT A TIME.
Please see details of how to make a donation by Paypal or direct transfer.
You may be interested in helping us with our marketing and fund raising.
If so please contact us for details of our partnership scheme that includes the opportunity of becoming part of Green Rainforest.
Your help will make such a difference.
Would you like to experience the rainforest at first hand? Then consider our Volunteer Internship program. You would live with the local community and could find yourself measuring jaguar paw prints, mapping and analysing animal, plant and bird species, and mapping threatened areas of rainforest.
Everyone in the organization has a great deal deal of experience in trekking the jungles of Panamá and see the growth of the devastating human impact each time they go trekking.
The Yaguará Foundation is led by Ricardo Moreno, one of the most prominent researchers into jaguar behavior and habitat. Through his scientific studies of the animal’s distribution he has become very concerned about their shrinking numbers. He is involved in Green Rainforest because he sees the protection of the remaining forests and jaguar habitat in Panama as a top priority to preserve this magnificent feline.
Jungle Treks is owned and led by the well-known Panamanian naturalist Rick Morales, who has traveled all over Latin America and leads amazing jungle adventure treks for both tourists and professional researchers. He has been saddened to witness the damage to the wild areas in the last 20 years, and the lack of protection for tropical forests. For this reason Rick has associated himself with us at Green Rainforest.
We are focusing initially on the rainforests of Panamá, with the intention of expanding to other countries in Central America and South America.
Jaguar Paw : It is a corridor of rain forest only six miles long joining the east and west rain forests of Panama, effectively glueing together the Central American and South American tropical forests. One of the last remaining places for preserving genetic diversity and it is located between the Chagres National Park and the Portobello National Park.
Bio Corridor : The narrow land bridge represented by Panama is a vital link between the ecosystems of Central and South America. It is important that this link is maintained and protected so that wildlife can travel between one region and the other. This helps them to preserve their genetic diversity. The biological link is at risk due to encroachment by outsiders into once pristine forests, by increased logging and by new road-building activity. There have been confrontations between the indigenous Wounaan people and developers who are destroying their land. This area is one of the world’s only remaining true wildernesses, and it is likely that it will come under increased pressure. Some politicians and developers would like to join up the Panamerican Highway to create a road between Panama and Colombia, which would bring catastrophic consequences for the region’s wildlife. Our Bio Corridor Project aims to purchase strategically located parcels of land in order to protect this vital yet extremely vulnerable region.
JUNE 26, 2014
Here we discover evidence, while trekking in the Chagres National Park, evidence of poachers staying in the forest the previous night.
JUNE 26, 2014
This land cleared with the ‘slash & burn’ method is in the area that we have seen Juguars’ paw prints. Apart from their home disappearing, they now face the risk of being shot by these new farmers.
JUNE 26, 2014
The forest is being taken at an alarming rate. The police resources are too overstretched to monitor activity in the jungle but, with your help, we have a plan.
We need donors, fund raising partners and local volunteer interns.
Please get in touch, your input will make a huge difference.
Panamá City, Rep. of Panamá.
Don't forget to enter in your text.Donate via PayPal