2 Jul 2021

Discover our exciting new projects to fund forest conservation worldwide

BirdLife’s Forest Landscape Sustainability Accelerator is finding innovative new ways to support forest conservation in the long term. At this year’s online conference, we welcomed exciting new projects from BirdLife Partners across the world.

Belum Temengor Forest is home to all ten species of Malaysian hornbill © Yeap Chin Aik / MNS
Belum Temengor Forest is home to all ten species of Malaysian hornbill © Yeap Chin Aik / MNS
By Katie Sims, Forest Programme Coordinator

At the end of May, participants from 15 countries came together to exchange knowledge, cultivate collaboration and face a big challenge for conservation: how to move away from unsustainable funding cycles towards long-term solutions for protecting natural habitats.

The Accelerator Online Conference was a week-long event with a diverse portfolio. BirdLife Partners came seeking ideas for long-term, sustainable incomes that would support local communities while preserving the forests they live around. Solutions range from the production of bird friendly yerba mate tea in Paraguay and Argentina, to earning carbon credits, to local entrepreneurship. Consequently, the Accelerator Online Conference was diverse too. We covered a wide range of subjects, such as how to build meaningful partnerships with businesses or deal with the risks of taking on finance agreements. We explored these complex, perhaps dry, topics through games, conversations, interactive knowledge downloads and role plays.

This year, BirdLife’s Forest Landscape Sustainability Accelerator is expanding. We are proud to announce five new BirdLife Partners from Nepal, Malaysia, the Philippines, Colombia and Mexico who will join the Accelerator 2021 cohort. Each is seeking a more sustainable future for forests by accelerating the mechanisms that restore landscapes, conserve nature and support a thriving green economy. Here is a snapshot from three of our new Accelerator partners. Welcome to the accelerator effect!


Asociación Calidris, Colombia – protecting forests to tackle climate change


The Paraguas-Munchique forest is home to 741 bird species © Jeisson Zamudio / Asociación Calidris


Colombia boasts the highest diversity of birds in the world – but the Paraguas-Munchique forest corridor in the western Andes is highly threatened. This stretch of green mountains is a refuge for an incredible 741 bird species. To protect this habitat, Asociación Calidris is developing a certified REDD+ carbon project. This mechanism generates carbon credits, which can be sold to create a consistent income stream for the landscape. A feasibility study showed the potential to protect 52,000 hectares of forest from deforestation, generating around 2.8 million tons of CO2 reductions. Working alongside local people, the next step is to develop an equitable governance structure to ensure that the benefits of the carbon sales will be distributed fairly among communities, with conservation at its core.


Bird Conservation Nepal – growing herbs instead of felling forests


Mai Valley & Kangchenjunga contain medicinal plants found nowhere else © Ujjwal Sherchan


Across the Mai Valley and Kangchenjunga mountain of eastern Nepal, you will find wild rhododendrons and orchids, among thousands of medicinal and aromatic plant species that are completely unique to Nepal (and the world). Bird Conservation Nepal is developing a model that markets the riches of this landscape without exploiting it. Faced with poaching, forest fires and illegal harvesting of plants, they have pioneered a community forest management model. Communities are now growing and harvesting herbs and spices sustainably, whilst also running a tourism business. Their ambition is to expand this successful model across three districts, ensuring a better future for people and forests alike.


Malaysian Nature Society – welcoming tourists to a hornbill hotspot


Local people are trained and employed as Hornbill Guardians © Yeap Chin Aik / MNS


The Malaysian Nature Society wants the Belum Temengor Forest in western Malaysia to become the ‘Hornbill Centre of the World’. All ten species of Malaysian hornbill live in this forest, one of the world’s most biodiverse regions, which has vast benefits for indigenous and rural communities who rely on the ecosystem services the forest provides. Sadly, the harvesting of rare agar wood and timber plantations has devastated the landscape over the years, and the Malaysian Nature Society is working on an alternative.

Using a forest certification scheme, they have promoted sustainable timber production, putting a stop to rampant logging and influencing vital policies to keep trees standing. Ecotourism is an important way for local people to continue conserving the forests, so once it is safe to do so, we encourage you to visit the ‘Hornbill Centre of the World’ and see if you can spot all ten of these mighty birds…


The Forest Landscape Sustainability Accelerator is a Trillion Trees initiative led by the BirdLife Forests Programme, supported by the Hempel Foundation and Google.org