As part of its social responsibility programme, Rainforest Foods aims to raise awareness of the environmental and social change that is affecting many of the world’s rainforest regions. To this end we promote the work of one of the leading charities that operates in this field: Rainforest Concern.
Rainforest Concern is a UK-based charity that was established in 1993 to protect threatened natural habitats, the biodiversity they contain and the indigenous people who still depend on them. Currently the organisation has 19 conservation projects in 12 countries – Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, Panama, Peru, Romania, Sri Lanka, Suriname and Uganda. It works closely with local conservation organisations in these countries to protect rainforests.
Central to Rainforest Concern’s philosophy is the establishment of strong partnerships with small yet dynamic organisations in the countries where it operates. Such long-term partnerships have repeatedly shown to result in the continued success of projects. Rainforest Concern is focussed primarily on four areas:
1. Direct conservation involving the protection and management of forested land to create protected reserves. This sometimes includes the purchase of land, usually in the name of a local NGO or the local communities. Particular emphasis is placed on the creation of forest ‘corridors’ that connect existing protected areas, to avoid the risk of fragmentation. This greatly assists the effectiveness of these reserves by enabling species to move freely from one to another. Reforestation of cleared areas of forest with native tree species also falls into this category.
2. Programmes of alternative income generation, health and education are developed with the local communities living near the projects. These are designed to reduce the negative human impact on forests arising through, for example, cattle ranching and subsistence farming.
3. Encouraging research in biodiversity.
4. Establishing volunteer programmes. These include groups of gap year students as well as mature volunteers who work on projects that include tree planting, trail maintenance and data collection.
For every pack of Rainforest Foods products sold, we donate funds to Rainforest Concern to purchase one square meter of cloud forest in Ecuador, in the Neblina Reserve (see 1 and 2 on the map below). If you would like to make a donation yourself please visit Rainforest Concern's website here.
Since 2003, through generous donations from its members and supporters, Rainforest Concern has been able to purchase areas of forest to protect in an area between the Paso Alto Mountain Range and the Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve, known locally as Intag. The intention has been to link these two protected areas through land purchases, creating one continuous corridor. This area has been names the Neblina Reserve, and to date it comprises 1,312 hectares of montane cloud forest, which has been declared Protected Forest in the national protected areas system.