Our current projects are aligned with our partner projects located in tropical rainforest ecosystems of Australia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. These projects have been earmarked in areas receiving limited conservation attention and funding and require immediate solutions to ongoing threats.
the southern cassowary of the dainTree -Australia
One of Australia's last remaining megafauna, The cassowary plays an important role in saving the rainforest. This large ground dwelling species provides an essential service as seed disperser in the daintree ecosystem and is considered a keystone species of the wet tropics. Research indicates that the cassowary range has been reduced by 85% and habitat loss and fragmentation is the primary cause for population declines
In recent years cassowary populations have been depleted to around 2000 individuals.
The Rainforest Project is working with researchers and partner organisations to conserve this species, We believe that land buy back of cassowary habitat, forest restoration programs and community education can reduce the impact on the remaining population.
The leuser Ecosystem-Ind0nesia
Protecting the Leuser Ecosystem:
The 2.6 million hectare Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia is the last place on Earth where orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers co-exist in the wild. Sun bears and many other animal species are found there too, along with a great diversity of plants, estimated at 10,000 species with 17 endemic genera.
The Leuser Ecosystem provides vital ecosystem services. It sequesters vast amounts of carbon stored in its rainforests and peat swamps. Deforestation is the number one threat to the Leuser Ecosystem. About eight percent or roughly 200,000 hectares of the Leuser Ecosystem has been lost in the past fifteen years. Poor enforcement of existing laws result in illegal encroachment of national park boundaries. Logging, hunting and poaching are also major problems, however the biggest threat comes from the rapid expansion of industrial oil palm plantations.
There is an urgent need to have all of what remains of the Leuser Ecosystem designated a protected area and for an effective management regime to be established. In response to these threats The Rainforest Project is assisting our project partners with priority projects such as forest enforcement, reforestation and land buy back to deliver solutions for the protection of the Leuser Ecosystem.
Saving Singharaja -
The last significant undisturbed rainforest in Sri Lanka is under threat. The 8,000ha Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a World Heritage Area with great biological significance due to high endemism in plants, birds, fish, amphibians and mammals. The Sinharaja ecosystem constitutes the core of the remaining undisturbed Gondwana primary rainforest habitat in Sri Lanka. However it is threatened by encroaching settlement and forest clearing for agriculture. Recent impacts have seen the increase of land clearing alongside illegal extraction of both flora, fauna and minerals. Rainforest Rescue International, the Sri Lankan partner of The Rainforest Project has been working successfully with local communities in the Singharaja Ecosystem since 2002 to create long term solution to halt the ongoing degradation of these special ecosystems. Community education and improvement of agriculture to adopt low impact organic methods alongside community forestry programs have proved to be successful in reducing negative impacts over six forest restoration sites.
The saving Singharaja program will support the establishment of 100 Rainforest Guardian families in the Man and the Biosphere buffer zone of the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. These poor families have limited land tenure and survive well below the poverty level. The program will create more sustainable income generational opportunities for these families through the introduction of improved and diversified organic farming techniques and supplementary employment in the establishment of a new 25,000 seedling rainforest restoration plot and the enhancement through management of 500Ha of rainforest in the buffer zone. Importantly it will also provide essential education for young children of these families through improved access to environmental education programs in local schools in order to create greater knowledge on the value and fragility of the greater Singharaja rainforest system.