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Without buy-in from people, conservation efforts rarely work. Which was why, when AWF launched a Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) project in north–central Tanzania with the Norwegian Embassy a few years ago, one of our main goals was to introduce residents to sustainable livelihood activities that would reduce their reliance on the forests.
Happy Earth Day! On this 45th anniversary of the international day to celebrate our wonderful planet, many people across the globe find themselves oscillating between feelings of grave concern and marked optimism.
AWF has implemented a number of climate change projects in Africa, including ones that involve Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). But if there’s one thing to know about REDD+, it’s that it is an evolving science. AWF has learned a few lessons in the course of implementing REDD+.
“AWF approaches conservation at a large-landscape scale.”
How many times have I heard that said about our work? How many times have I written that myself, when writing about AWF’s approach to conservation?
AWF ecologists, experts from the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), and local community members embarked on an eight-day ecological survey of the Kolo Hills area in northern Tanzania. The team surveyed the presence and distribution of birds, small mammals, insects, and trees as part of a baseline biodiversity assessment to be completed before Kolo Hills can be validated as a REDD+ project site. Several AWF ecologists from different sites in Africa have joined the survey, including Nakedi Maputla, AWF’s Congo landscape ecologist.
AWF’s climate change programme focuses on both climate mitigation and adaptation and the inclusion of climate-related impacts into AWF’s entire conservation planning framework. The development of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) projects, while not the entirety of AWF’s climate change efforts, is nevertheless an important tool in achieving these goals.
‘Climate Change Needs to be Included in Everything We Do’
Ask Zambian-born Dave Loubser about climate change, and he’ll have a lot to tell you. And well he should: As AWF’s new program director for climate change, Loubser is a trained ecologist who has more than 12 years of experience working on climate change issues, in South Africa, New Zealand, Abu Dhabi, and elsewhere. Here is just some of what he had to say about climate change in Africa.