An appeal to heal and restore the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge, Armenia

The World Land Trust (UK registered charity no1001291) was founded back in 1984 and thus far, it has funded:

  • The protection of 2,658,367 acres
  • Co-funded a further 3,167,838 acres
  • The planting of 2,715,402 trees
  • The protection of over 11,617 species

With its HQ in the UK, it has an incredible global reach, including countries such as Angola, Belize, Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, India, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nepal, Zambia and the UK.  And it has just announced a new appeal/fundraiser in Armenia.  

The World Land Trust is seeking to raise funds to enable the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC for short) to plant 700,000 trees and so restore 300 hectares of degraded habitat in the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge.  The two organisations have worked together before - find out more about that and the new project here.

The trees will help restore part of the Caucasus Biodiversity Hotspot.  It’s one of the world’s 35 most biodiverse regions, sited at a crossroads.  Here, European, Asian and Middle Eastern species meet along with flora and fauna found nowhere else.  

During the 1990s, a great deal of deforestation occurred and the land needs help to recover.  Illegal logging, overgrazing, wildfires, unsustainable plant gathering and poor law enforcement haven’t helped and the land needs our help to heal and restore itself to benefit people and wildlife.

The FPWC is on a mission to repair the degraded  landscape and ecosystems which are vulnerable to the impact of climate change.  

Donations from supporters can help plant 700,000 trees and thereby help tackle climate change and heal the land there. They are planting over 9 different tree species that have been selected because of the role they play in the ecosystem.  

About 44 different mammal species live in the region being restored, such as the Syrian Brown Bear, the Grey Wolf and Eurasian Lynx.  And crucially, the project will help reforest one of the only places left in Armenia where the 8 to 13 endangered Caucasian leopards live.

Other benefits to this project are:

  1. It will provide sustainable jobs, as seasonal and all-year round work will be available in the tree nursery.  FPWC works with local people who know the area well and they collect and process seeds of the local native tree species
  2. It will help reduce conflicts between people and animals in local areas – bears have been suffering from a lack of nutrition and have therefore attacked beehives, orchards and even chickens.  They will have a vital food from the trees
  3. The mountains and slopes in the area are increasingly impacted by drought – so trees will help reverse this and prevent water sources drying out.

The FPWC have got the help of a dozen communities to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Wildlife Reserve.  Locals cede land to the refuge and benefit from lease payments – they can use these to improve their villages.  So everyone benefits.