Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Overseas partners recognise WLT and the Conservation Alliance

Staging site


30 May, 2014 - 12:21 -- World Land Trust
Group photo of symposium participants.
WLT 25th anniversary logo.

Overseas partners of World Land Trust (WLT) have voiced their support for greater collaboration to consolidate WLT’s international Conservation Alliance.

The views were expressed during WLT’s 25th Anniversary Partners Symposium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in May 2014.

During the symposium, WLT’s partners expressed their willingness to work more closely together to further their common conservation objectives.

They responded positively to WLT’s proposal to coordinate an international project to disseminate technical information and good practice in forest conservation. They also welcomed the idea of an online platform, hosted by WLT, as a channel for information exchange between parties and as a means to consolidate the partner network.

The concept of the partner relationship has been a core principle of World Land Trust since its founding 25 years ago. Strong partnerships are essential to the success of the projects funded by WLT, which relies on sound, knowledgeable and established local NGOs to deliver successful conservation.

John Burton, WLT Chief Executive commented: “Partner symposia add real value to the work of World Land Trust. They are a source of strength and mutual support in the face of great conservation challenges. These regular gatherings of WLT’s partners reinforce the strong collaborations which we have nurtured and developed through the implementation of successful conservation programmes.”

David Wright, WLT’s Head of Programmes, helped coordinate the symposium. “It is our partners that are doing the real work of conserving habitats and saving species, and it is our job at WLT to facilitate and support that process with funding and technical expertise.  Through strengthening our alliance with conservation partners around the globe, WLT can continue to further its conservation impact,” he said. 

Discussions at the symposium also focused on ways to attract further funds for conservation – other than donor driven financing and philanthropy – in order to help address the global deficit of funding available for conservation.

Payments for ecosystem services

The symposium highlighted examples of conservation projects that raise income through payments for ecosystem services. Renzo Paladines, Programme Coordinator for Naturaleza y Cultura Ecuador (NCEcuador), gave an inspiring presentation about FORAGUA. This is a project managed by NCEcuador and regional municipalities that earns income for conservation and watershed management via a levy on water users.

Alberto Yanosky, Executive Director of Guyra Paraguay, described the pros and cons of managing a large scale REDD+ project in Paraguay (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation).

In Vietnam, Viet Nature Conservation Centre has taken a different approach to forest conservation. Pham Tuan Anh, Head of Conservation & Sustainable Development, described why REDD+ was not financially feasible in Khe Nuoc Trong forest in north central Vietnam, where the level of forest degradation is severe.

With WLT’s support Viet Nature has developed a 30 year Carbon Balanced project, which addresses biodiversity and community value as well as forest conservation. For Viet Nature, WLT’s Carbon Balanced programme is the ideal funding mechanism for a project of this size.

Working with the private sector

Participants debated the risks and opportunities of working strategically with the private sector to mitigate, and offset, explicit impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

In Colombia, areas of high levels of endemism are in the coffee producing regions, so work with small coffee producers is crucial if biodiversity is to be protected.

Luis Felipe Barrera, Director of Conservation at Fundación ProAves, described how the NGO works with coffee producers to encourage shade grown coffee and to maintain wildlife corridors between conservation areas.

Within the ‘conservation economy’ there are opportunities to earn a living through forestry and ecotourism, and with ProAves’s support coffee growers have started to move away from coffee production as their sole source of income.

Ruben Khatchatryan, Executive Director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) in Armenia, described a positive reciprocal relationship with VivaCell / MTS.

On the one hand VivaCell provides financial support for conservation, while on the other hand FPWC has been able to influence VivaCell’s energy policy, which is now more environmentally friendly.

In many cases private sector operations can be attuned to conservation, but not always. Paul Matiku, Director of Nature Kenya, argued that sometimes conservationists have to fight to keep out the private sector.

He described a proposal, backed by a private firm and the Kenyan government, to turn the Tana River area over to sugarcane and rice production. Eventually Nature Kenya successfully sued government agencies and the government has now assigned 84,000 acres (34,000 hectares) as community forest reserves.

Ecotourism and digital communications

Workshops at the symposium highlighted other ways in which participants can diversify their income streams.

One, led by Jarrod Kyte of Steppes Travel, discussed best practice in linking conservation with hospitality and ecotourism.

The other, led by Dan Bradbury, WLT’s Head of Digital Communications, focused on using digital media and social networking as a means to raise funds and to engage with supporters.

More information

WLT’s partnership approach to conservation »


Just want to emphasise that besides carbon offsetting value, all WLT's Carbon Balanced sites are of outstanding importance for biodiversity. So, individuals and companies that offset their unavoidable emissions through WLT's Carbon Balancing therefore also help save and restore critically threatened habitats and species.

Our Khe Nuoc Trong forest supports excellent habitat for two charismatic, critically endangered species: the Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), an antelope only discovered in 1992 and one of the rarest mammals on Earth, and Edwards’s pheasant (Lophura edwardsi), a bird species endemic to the central Vietnam, not seen in the wild since 2000 and now on the brink of extinction in the wild. It also supports many other globally threatened and restricted-range species.

Submitted by Víctor Saravia ... on

During the Symposium was evident at the extraordinary wealth of information and learning pieces in conservation of biodiversity generated over the years by the World Land Trust parnerts.

To AESMO, developing their conservation work in the border triangle region of Honduras, the Symposium was also a valuable opportunity to share the process of buying land with cloud forest we developed in the Biological Reserve Guisayote and Biological Reserve Volcano Pacayita, with the active participation of municipalities, water management boards and other actors of civil society, counting with resources IUCN - Netherlands, Dutch Postcode Lottery, World Land Trust and Puro Café.

In conclusion, the Symposium was an event that filled our expectations, as it also allowed us to strengthen ties of cooperation with various partner organizations of the Alliance with whom we share a passion and commitment to the conservation of the biodiversity of our planet for the benefit of the present and future generations.

Submitted by Alberto Yanosky on

I am a proud member of this planetary partnership for nature conservation and also proud of all the many overseas partners of WLT working together and with one position and voice to recognize the support already given in these 25 years and all the challenges and opportunities we face for greater collaboration to consolidate WLT’s international Conservation Alliance to which all of us are part of. Our domestic work, our joint actions regionally and our global vision are inspiring others to advance in the conservation agenda and we can really show conservation on the ground with specific outcomes, with specific examples of behavioral change. Investing in WLT’s International Program is investing in nature conservation and because of this, investing in local people, local professional and grass-root organizations which are the drivers of these behavioral changes for a better planet in which we can enjoy nature and the services and goods nature provides to make our lives possible. Thanks and let’s celebrate these 25 years of conservation on the ground.

Sustainably for the future: a WLT Symposium that was beyond my expectations!

The milestone of such an important meeting was the moment when Sir David Attenborough gave his amazing speech, calling the attention of the audience on how different things were in the past when we tried to save specific species. Nowadays we are running against the clock to save ecosystems in order to allow both charismatic and non-charismatic species to be effectively protected. Such words remind me of our project with WLT, FUNAFU (Fundación Naturaleza para el Futuro) and the three indigenous communities living in the Atlantic Rainforest at Misiones Province, in the extreme Northeast of Argentina. Indeed, by buying this land, we all are together saving a habitat which is vital for the survival of far-ranging species such as the Jaguar. Our priority is to create corridor reserves to link together areas of forest that are already protected. Thanks to WLT’s financial support, we are accomplishing something unique in the Western Hemisphere, because we are protecting a much endangered ecosystem together with the three indigenous peoples inhabiting it.
The Symposium was a unique opportunity to exchange ideas among all WLT Partners from around the world, supported and guided at every moment during the five days it lasted by this magnificent WLT staff under John Burton´s able leadership. Now it is up to all Partners to help WLT in conforming a strong network and show the world - and particularly decision-makers - what can be accomplished to save our planet

The WLT Anniversary Symposium 6-9 May 2014 was a new opportunity to learn about what people do in different parts of the world to conserve biodiversity.
The concept of the partner relationship has been put into practice and is something that is very fruitful.
It has been a privilege to share all these insights with partners from different continents and to work together in trust, together with an organization like World Land Trust.

Submitted by Adam Pope on

The Wildlife and Environmental Conservation Society of Zambia and the Kasanka Trust contribute to Zambia's conservation effort in different ways; the former through policy and environmental education stuff and the latter in public-private partnership in protected area management. The 2014 WLT Symposium brought home how much more both organisations can do and what a wonderful abundance of enthusiasm, experience, innovation and achievement in conservation issues lies within the WLT Partnership that can be tapped into.
What a huge achievement for John Burton and his team after only 25 years - not to mention the 2014 gathering itself! Quite apart from the many opportunities to exchange thoughts and experiences, the value of the Symposium in inspiring further efforts and generating new ways of viewing old problems should not be undervalued. Finding simple ways of extending those benefits by generating more regular, informal exchanges between members of the Partnership could perhaps add additional synergies to the efforts of these committed people to sustain Earth's beleaguered natural resources and wild places.

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