Virginia-based Rainforest Trust plans to create 80,000-acre reserve on Palawan Island in the Philippines; plan would protect forests from logging, mining, land conversion, and would protect several of island's indigenous wildlife species
February 13, 2014
– Palawan project will protect habitat for critically endangered species in one of the oldest, most diverse forests in Southeast Asia
Rainforest Trust, a nonprofit conservation organization focused on protecting threatened tropical lands and saving endangered species, has announced a new project to create an 80,000-acre reserve on Palawan Island in the Philippines. Rainforest Trust and its local partner, the Center for Sustainability, a Palawan-based NGO, will collaborate with the Puerto Princesa city government to develop the new Cleopatra's Needle Forest Reserve.
Over the past 50 years, the forests of the Philippines have been dramatically reduced by logging, mining, and land conversion. Yet 52 percent of the forests of Palawan remain intact – and are in urgent need of protection.
The site of the new reserve - adjacent to the existing Puerto Princesa Underground River National Park - is a biodiversity hotspot which is home to endemic species such as the Palawan bearcat, Palawan pangolin, and key populations of the Palawan horned frog, Philippine flat-headed frog, and Philippine cockatoo. In November 2013, a study published in the journal Science identified Palawan as the world's fourth most "irreplaceable" area for unique and threatened wildlife.
"Rainforests, including those in Palawan, are the richest places on earth, holding the majority of the planet's biodiversity, yet 100 acres of rainforests around the world are cleared every minute," said Dr. Paul Salaman, chief executive officer of Rainforest Trust. "Our new project in the Philippines is an extraordinary opportunity to save a vast area of unprotected rainforest near an important UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Center for Sustainability, our local partner, has been laying the groundwork for this project for five years. The support of the city government of Puerto Princesa, recognized for its excellent conservation track record, has been critical. As a result, the new reserve is going to safeguard many rare endemic species."
Rainforest Trust has already raised over $160,000 and requires an additional $40,000 to fund the development and protection of the reserve. This includes creating a management plan, increasing the number of wardens to enhance law enforcement, and providing sustainable livelihoods for the local Batak tribe.
To donate or learn more about Rainforest Trust, visit www.rainforesttrust.org/ways-to-give.
About Rainforest Trust
Rainforest Trust, formerly World Land Trust-US, is a nonprofit conservation organization focused on saving rainforest and endangered species. Since its founding in 1988, Rainforest Trust has saved more than 7 million acres of rainforests and other tropical habitats in 67 projects across 17 tropical countries. The nonprofit purchases and protects threatened land in partnership with local conservation organizations, engaging indigenous communities. Rainforest Trust has been awarded the top four-star Charity Navigator rating for each of the last five years. The organization recently announced a major project to save 5.9 million acres of jaguar habitat in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon.
Joe Lowe, Rainforest Trust
SOURCE Rainforest Trust