Land & Habitat Protection | African Wildlife Foundation

Protecting Africa’s wildlife means conserving its land

Land & Habitat Protection

The land here is more than picturesque. It’s critical to saving wildlife from extinction.

Africa’s wildlife isn’t confined to national parks. Species here roam across vast and varied land, some portions of which are absolutely key to their survival. African Wildlife Foundation recognizes that without land, wildlife simply cannot survive. This is why land is at the core of our conservation efforts.

By working in large areas that cover entire countries and even span borders, we can support critically important landscapes that harbor biodiversity and offer people economic opportunities.

To ensure our conservation efforts move forward, we partner with governments, organizations, and communities, offering them incentives such as education, training in sustainable agriculture, and ecotourism in exchange for setting aside land. 

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Challenges

For every 28 trees that are cut down in Africa, only one is replanted.

One of the biggest challenges Africa faces is deforestation, which strips the soil of minerals, reduces water supply, and threatens food security in a region largely dependent on small-scale agriculture. It also contributes to climate change, which impacts our planet’s weather patterns. Currently, the deforestation rate in Africa is four times that of the world.

Meanwhile, as Africa modernizes, land clearance for agriculture, infrastructure developments such as pipes and roads, and resource extraction of aluminum and forest products contribute to the destruction of wildlife habitats.

These changes in land are degrading ecosystems, altering Africa’s forests and rivers, and dividing up historic wildlife migration corridors—thus, impacting the long-term survival of wildlife populations. 

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Solutions

African Wildlife Foundation’s solutions to help protect the land and wildlife habitats:

  • Preserve habitats and stopping the loss of biodiversity.

    By working with governments and communities, AWF has helped develop conservation reserves right outside of national parks. These reserves, which set aside land for conservation and protect wildlife from poachers, extend migratory corridors for wildlife and help bring in additional income and benefits to communities through tourism.

  • Engage communities in determining the best long-term uses. for their land.

    AWF works closely with local communities to ask them how they use their land now and how they want to use it in the future. When communities get to be in the driver’s seat through this sort of planning, they tend to think more carefully about their natural resource use and are more likely to stay committed to the notion of conservation.

  • Educate Africans about deforestation and positive alternatives.

    To reduce deforestation, AWF is promoting Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). REDD+ provides a new stream of income by letting communities “sell” the financial value of carbon stored in nearby forests to potential buyers looking to offset their carbon emissions. The program shows people that pristine forests have a real value and that they can generate income by being left alone.

Projects

AWF works to protect land for the good of both wildlife and humans. Here are just some of our projects.

  • Zambezi Elephant Conservation
    Securing habitats for Southern Africa’s giants

    Elephants don’t know borders.

    Elephant populations in Southern Africa roam freely across many countries, seeking food, water, and suitable habitat. As a result,...

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  • Student Gorilla Trek
    Facilitating conservation education through interaction with wildlife

    Wildlife permits are too expensive for native Rwandans. 

    Despite living so close to the magnificent mountain gorilla, many Rwandans lack the ability to fully engage...

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  • Manyara Ranch Tented Camp
    Bridging the gap between tourism and conservation

    A failing cattle ranch endangers local wildlife. 

    Originally established as a cattle ranch during Tanzania's colonial period, Manyara Ranch is now a 45,000-acre...

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  • Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary
    Protecting black rhinos from poaching

    Black rhinos in danger of extinction.

    The black rhino population in Kenya’s Tsavo ecosystem was estimated at 6,000 to 8,000 in the 1970s. By 1989, there were no more...

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  • Kolo Hills REDD+
    Food security in the face of climate change in Central Tanzania

    Drastic measures must be taken to mitigate climate change in Africa. 

    In Africa, achieving long-term conservation requires the often-competing demands of wildlife...

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