2022: Tropical Important Plant Areas: Uganda (TIPAs Uganda)
Uganda | Dr Iain Darbyshire
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK
As part of an international collaboration, Kew is working in Uganda to identify the critical sites that support Uganda’s unique biodiversity and designate these as Tropical Important Plant Areas (TIPAs), providing recommendations for their sustainable use and protection, and empowering their partners to deliver on-the-ground conservation where it is needed most urgently. Working with main partner Makerere University, a national IUCN Red List of globally threatened plant species is being compiled, and TIPAs are identified, through existing data and expertise together with targeted field expeditions. An improved understanding of local needs and policy frameworks is being gained through workshops, training courses and other engagement activities. Kew is working closely with national partners to promote the inclusion of TIPAs within national conservation and land management frameworks and community-led initiatives, providing recommendations for their sustainable use and protection. Partners are being empowered to prioritise delivery of on-the-ground conservation as, through this work, capacity is increased in botanical research, field techniques and conservation assessment for the next generation of Ugandan scientists and conservationists, development of community-led sustainable land-use practices is supported and the discovery and publication of new and potentially useful species is enabled. More details
2020: Athi River Expedition
Kenya | Alberto Borges
Explorer’s Club of Kenya
This project comprises a scientific expedition down the Athi River, Kenya’s 2nd longest river which drains an area of 70,000sq km. This river is an important source of fresh water for millions of people and multiple ecosystems. Unfortunately, it is also among the most polluted rivers in Kenya, receiving most of Nairobi City’s waste. The levels of pollution on Athi River have never been formally or scientifically explored before throughout the entire river’s length; members of the The Explorer’s Club of Kenya are therefore carrying out a three-stage expedition of the entire river. The team is sampling and analysing physico-chemical properties (with Dr Celestine Makobe, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology) and invertebrates at multiple sites. They are surveying key geographical features, plants, animals and living conditions of communities encountered, and establishing how these factors influence the quality and quantity of the river. They are also interviewing local community members about the change in water quality over the years and the effects on their livelihoods. More details
2019: Enhancing Cambodian Wetland Habitat for Threatened Species
Cambodia | Tomos Avent
Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, UK
The focus of the project was to address the human threats to biodiversity in Anlung Pring and Boeung Prek Lapouv Protected Landscapes. These wetlands provide key habitat for the rapidly declining sarus crane and other globally threatened wildlife; they also support the livelihoods of over 10,000 people, many of them living below the poverty line and depending on fishing, rice farming and the collection of wetland produce for their livelihoods.
The project has achieved its overall aim of reducing the anthropogenic pressures on 8,500 hectares of protected wetlands. More than 4,500 local people have been reached with messaging on the importance of wetland conservation, over 200 farmers have adopted sustainable rice farming techniques, and effective systems have been put in place to reduce pollution due to domestic and agricultural waste. The findings of ecohydrological research undertaken through the project have informed the drafting of site-based Management Plans for 2021-2025, and will also feed into wider research on the status and connectivity of wetland ecosystems across the Cambodian Lower Mekong Delta.
A particular highlight during the project was the designation of Anlung Pring Protected Landscape as Cambodia’s first East-Asian Australian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) Flyway Network Site. Informed by research conducted under this project, the Cambodian government intends to designate Boeung Prek Lapouv as a Flyway Network Site, and both wetlands as Ramsar Sites. This international recognition will give the sites greater protection, and has the potential to attract more technical and financial support for wetland conservation in the future. More details
2017: Mapping the biodiversity corridor between Amazonian and Guiana Shield watersheds
Guyana | Dr Andrea Berardi
The Cobra Collective, UK / The Open University, UK
The funded project used an innovative blend of traditional ecological knowledge, high resolution aerial mapping, remote sensing analysis, participatory video, aerial videography and ground-based hydro-ecological surveys. This allowed us to precisely identify the spatial and temporal dynamics that allowed the waters of the Amazon and Essequibo basins to meet.
This hydrological link is one of only two places in South America where the waters from the Amazon basin mix with waters from another watershed. This mixing of waters occurs in the Rupununi Wetlands of Guyana, enabling the development of one of the most aquatically biodiverse regions in the world, with over 400 fish species identified so far.
The resulting information will support Indigenous communities, Guyanese conservation organizations and government policy makers in their quest for the sustainable management of the North Rupununi Wetlands, with a special focus on the Rupununi Portal region. We have produced an engaging animation and detailed maps, as well as a video filmed by Indigenous community researchers, representing the traditional knowledge, historical and current uses, and threats facing the hydrological link. More details More recent progress update
2016: Conserving Galapagos giant tortoises: Discovering the lost years
Galapagos | Dr Stephen Blake, Ms Jen Jones
Galapagos Conservation Trust, UK
The funded project is part of the Galapagos Tortoise Movement Ecology Programme. Its aim is to guide tortoise conservation, by researching: how flexible adult tortoises are in choosing nest sites; how site affects reproductive success; the rate and factors causing mortality of tortoises after they leave the nest; to trial new tracking technology. The project involves collaborations with local farmers, park rangers and partner organisations.
Since the Galapagos giant tortoise is a keystone species, the project has the potential to benefit multiple species inhabiting the several ecosystems through which it moves. The significant communications component to the project improves the chances of its benefits being properly realised and lasting long-term.
Building on previous work (including projects funded by the Woodspring Trust; see below), this project covers an additional species of tortoise.
2016: Farnham Heath (Gong Hill) Fireproofing Appeal
UK | Mr Mike Coates, Ms Katy Fielding
This project will help to prevent fires on a fire prone, beautiful and vitally important reserve for a number of heathland specialists including Sand lizards, Nightjars, Woodlarks and many others for decades. Farnham Heath Nature Reserve is an important heathland restoration project. Lowland heathland is a vital and very threatened habitat, on which many specialist species rely. Since 1800 the UK has lost over 80% of its Lowland heathland and what is left is often fragmented and vulnerable to scrub encroachment. The South East (particularly Surrey and Hampshire) is one of the last strongholds of this special habitat and with the UK holding 20% of the remaining heathland across Europe, we have a special obligation to protect it.
2016: Weighing the cost of development on Borneo’s fish and fisheries
Malaysia | Ms Tun-Min Poh
Borneo Futures, Malaysia
In Borneo, fish are not only an important part of biodiversity and ecosystems, but are also strongly tied to the mental and physical wellbeing of local communities. Many inland and coastal people have limited access to essential free natural resources, apart from fish and fisheries, and losing these resources potentially has large socio-economic implications. This project will provide information to guide development decisions with regard to such requirements, by gathering the information available to assess the economic, social and environmental cost of development on the freshwater and coastal ecosystems in Borneo, and proposing tangible improvements to current development planning and practice. Existing information on local fish species, fisheries, ecosystem health and changes in land use will be reinforced with fieldwork in the Lower Kindabatangan in Sabah, Malaysia.
This project is part of a larger effort by Borneo Futures (partially funded by Woodspring Trust), through which this fish and fisheries component fits into a holistic approach to landscape level conservation and guiding policy and decision-making on economic development. Borneo Futures will disseminate the information gathered and work with governments to develop appropriate regulations that mitigate and minimize impacts on biodiversity and riverine and coastal communities.
2016: Enhancing the effectiveness of protected areas
Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan) | Dr Kerrie Wilson
Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, The University of Queensland, Australia
The aim of the project is to identify the environmental, social and institutional factors that determine the performance of protected areas on Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan). Between 1970 and 2010, 10.3% of deforestation across Borneo occurred in protected areas and between 2000 and 2010, 1.2% of the forest area in Kalimantan’s protected areas was deforested. The project will provide the first comprehensive assessment of the social and institutional mechanisms that determine the performance of protected areas and the policy and program options (including relevant incentives and regulations) that might be required to overcome these.
2015: Conserving the Galapagos giant tortoise: First steps towards lifetime tracks
Galapagos/UK | Dr Stephen Blake
Galapagos Conservation Trust, London, UK
The iconic Galapagos giant tortoise (GGT) is under threat from human impacts including invasive species, infrastructure development and climate change. There are 10 species currently found in the Archipelago on 6 islands and the overall population is estimated to be around 20,000 (Caccone et al. 2002). This is a massive reduction from an estimated historical population of around 200,000 due primarily to human exploitation particularly in the 1800s. In the absence of significant hunting by people, which is the case today, the life history stages most critical to the population dynamics of GGTs (as with most tortoise species) are from egg to juvenile, when mortality rates are highest. These stages are often called “the lost years” because few data exist on growth, mortality rate and causes of death on infant and juvenile wild tortoises and turtles. Although they are not thought to move over large distances, GGT hatchlings are small and usually completely concealed for several years in dense undergrowth or within the cracks of old lava flows, thus monitoring large numbers of hatchlings over time is difficult. Preliminary data collected by the multi-institutional Galapagos Tortoise Movement Ecology Programme (GTMEP) previously supported by the Woodspring Trust, indicate that mortality rates of eggs can exceed 50% due to predation by non-native feral pigs and fire ants. Ideally, with increased understanding of these vulnerable life stages, conservation management strategies can be put in place to reduce the impact of factors causing high mortality. This project will address this issue by providing the first quantitative data on GGT nest and clutch dynamics and hatchling mortality in key nesting sites on Galapagos.
2015: A biodiversity monitoring project for schools
UK | Professor Alan Gange, Dr Deborah Harvey
Biodiversity Boost, Royal Holloway University of London, UK
The biodiversity in an area is made up of its habitats and organisms. These Royal Holloway scientists are passionate about biodiversity and improving it. Increasing biodiversity means that the species we have today will be here for tomorrow. This is why they have launched their Schools Biodiversity Project. Together with partner schools, they want to monitor and increase biodiversity in school grounds.
2014: Alternative futures for people and nature on Borneo
Borneo | Dr Erik Meijaard
Borneo Futures, Indonesia
Borneo Futures, in collaboration with Sumatra-based conservation NGO PanEKO, is developing maps of the legal and on-ground protection of land across Borneo, to reduce confusion and conflicts in land-use planning.
2013: Ecology and conservation of migration of Galapagos Giant Tortoises
Galapagos/UK | Dr Stephen Blake
Galapagos Conservation Trust, London, UK
The Woodspring Trust is part-funding a project to determine the drivers of Galapagos giant tortoise migration and to improve local understanding of this species’ values and conservation needs. Since the Galapagos giant tortoise is a keystone species, the project has the potential to benefit species inhabiting the several ecosystems through which it moves. The significant communications component to the project improves the chances of its benefits being properly realised and lasting long-term.
2013: Safety and sustainability in the Dambwa Forest, Zambia
Zambia | Mr Mulenga Mwamba
African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (ALERT), Livingstone, Zambia
The African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) is introducing energy efficient cookstoves to the rural communities living around the Dambwa Forest Reserve in southern Zambia. This project has the potential to substantially benefit an ecosystem at a relatively low cost, in helping to reduce deforestation (i.e. for firewood) and acting towards the restoration of the surrounding ecosystem. ALERT’S update 2014
2011: Paying for big cats: the carbon opportunity
South East Asia/UK | Professor David W Macdonald
The Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK
Benefits of this project are potentially at the level of multiple species and ecosystems, across several countries, including contributions to the development of carbon finance programs to benefit biodiversity.
WildCRU modelled the potential of clouded leopards as umbrella species for the conservation of other mammals across their range, and carried out camera trapping surveys at two sites in Borneo, as part of a larger study aiming to use such information to guide carbon trading mechanisms to conserve SE Asian forest biodiversity. The fate of populations of this umbrella species is likely to have an impact on the population stability of other species living around them. More details