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.

  • Simien Mountains Community Members
    Simien Mountains Cultural Tourism
    Optimizing tourism revenue to support local communities

    Communities need help balancing their needs and the needs of their environment.

    Ethiopia’s highlands are among the most densely populated agricultural areas in Africa. Agriculture is...

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  • Kitengela Mayu Mishina
    Kitengela Land Conservation
    Protecting habitat and communities near Kenya’s capital

    Human expansion is threatening wildlife outside of Nairobi, Kenya.

    For many years, local Maasai communities, their livestock, and wildlife comfortably shared the open...

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  • Sekute Conservation Area AWF
    Sekute Conservation Area
    Community-wide protection of Zambia’s wildlife

    Agriculture and population growth threaten wildlife in Zambia. 

    Historically, wildlife roamed freely around the Sekute Chiefdom in southern Zambia. But, in recent...

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  • African Wildlife Foundation Chyulu Hills REDD+ Project
    Chyulu Hills REDD+
    Protecting forests, water and more in southern Kenya

    In Africa, deforestation and climate change give real cause for concern.

    The African continent is anticipated to experience more than its fair share of climate change’s negative...

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  • LCSC Paul Thomson
    Lomako Conservation Science Center
    Research and solutions for bonobo populations

    Loss of habitat and a skyrocketing bushmeat trade have taken a toll on bonobo populations.

    According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN’s)...

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