Earth Day 2020
Pioneering forest conservation project brings hope for a better future
All images: Filip Cederholm Agoo
Earth Day in the midst of COVID-19:
a moment to recognize the value of forests

We are living in extraordinary times, and as the corona virus continues to spread, we hope that you and your families are able to stay safe. We are heartbroken by the significant loss of life across the globe.  
 
Dr Jane Goodall recently said, " Of all the things I learned during my years in the rainforest...one of the most important is how all life is interconnected. Every species has a role to play in the complex web of life. As an example, deforestation in the Congo Basin, the Amazon, and the tropical forests of Asia may seem unimportant to people in the United States or Europe, yet the loss of these forests (as well as other ecosystems) is altering global weather patterns and affecting people in all parts of the world. We humans are part of the natural world - we relate to each other and with all the other animals who inhabit the planet with us .”
 
Dr Goodall's words motivate us more than ever to do all we can to help restore the balance in some of the world's most precious ecosystems. 
 
The theme for Earth Day 2020 is “Climate Action”, UN Sustainable Development Goal #13. As deforestation is the second largest contributor to climate change, we would like to draw your attention to a pioneering forest conservation project in the Congo Basin Rainforest on the frontier of deforestation. 
 
The Wildlife Works Mai Ndombe REDD+ project is located in Mai-Ndombe   province in western Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), one of the least developed places on earth. Wildlife Works is the world’s leading REDD+ program development and management company.
 
REDD+ is an acronym for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, a UN envisioned climate change mitigation strategy that is an essential part of the Paris Climate Agreement.
 
While much of the world is experiencing the horrors of a life-threating pandemic for the first time, there are 180,000 people living in the Mai Ndombe project region who have been dealing with simultaneous outbreaks of Cholera, Malaria, Measles, Rubella and Ebola, where a vast majority of the victims of these killer diseases are children.
 
Although the community is now bracing to deal with Covid-19, the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project has been successful in stopping deforestation and offers the people a glimmer of hope for a better future.
 
In December 2019, Everland commissioned Impact Photographer Filip C Agoo to document the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project. Filip spent five weeks in the forest witnessing the Measles and Rubella epidemics firsthand. He captured heartbreaking and heartwarming photographs that show how Wildlife Works, a private sector forest conservation business, has helped to save lives during this silent crisis.
 
This Earth Day, we have Filip’s incredible photographs to share with you for the first time. These images document how Wildlife Works is bringing critical health care and other basic human services to a rural forest community in the Congo Basin Rainforest.
 
It is our hope that with the information, photos and video provided in this newsletter, you will be as moved as we are to support this community and Wildlife Works' efforts to protect this special place.
Watch the new Everland video about the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project, produced and narrated by Filip Cederholm Agoo.
Introducing the Wildlife Works Mai Ndombe REDD+ Project
Location: Mai Ndombe Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Developer: Wildlife Works
Hectares of forest protected: 300,000
Verified CO2 emissions avoided to date: 13,322,276 tonnes
Annual CO2 emissions avoided: 2,400,000 tonnes / year
Key species: Endangered bonobos and forest elephants
People impacted: 180,000
Start date: 2011
Protecting the world’s second largest tropical rainforest while supporting some of the world’s most impoverished people

The Mai Ndombe REDD+ project is utilizing carbon finance to address the basic development needs of 180,000 remote people with little to no access to basic social services.
Project summary

The Mai Ndombe REDD+ project protects 300,000 hectares of critical bonobo and forest elephant habitat within the Congo Basin, the world’s second-largest intact rainforest which also contains one of the most important wetlands on the planet. 

This project reduces the principal drivers of forest and biodiversity loss and is charting a new pathway for community prosperity through comprehensive investments into the surrounding local communities.

Such investments include building schools, providing healthcare services and supporting food security and nutrition.
Origins

In 2008, following a revision by the government of the DRC National Forest Code, and in an effort to address corruption in the sector, 91 of the 156 logging contracts then in effect in the DRC were suspended. 

It was at this time that Wildlife Works implemented a REDD+ conservation strategy, convincing the Minister of Environment to convert two logging concessions to conservation and to award them to Wildlife Works to prevent the concessions from being restored to logging. Wildlife Works uses revenues from the sale of carbon credits to establish sustainable development opportunities for the local community while protecting the area from deforestation.
Key threats

Prior to the project, logging companies had severely damaged the forest in the region and had largely ignored the rights and health of the wildlife and community. Logging drove already threatened wildlife populations further down and brought little to no economic benefit to the local people. In the western part of the DRC, along the west side of Lake Mai Ndombe, logging had begun on almost 250,000 hectares of rainforest. 

At the same time, the 180,000 people living in the project area had little access to basic social services, and remain highly vulnerable to disease, with children frequently dying in outbreaks of preventable and treatable diseases such as measles.
Intervention model

Since the project launch in 2011, logging has halted and with the aid of reforestation programs, the deforested areas have had a chance to regenerate, bringing back biodiversity and the ability for wildlife to thrive. 

The project has introduced agroforestry nurseries and sustainable farming techniques to relieve deforestation pressure.

The project has built seven schools to date with two more under construction, providing education to over 900 children who previously did not have access to formal education. 

The project has established a mobile medical clinic providing HIV testing and emergency medical response, treating thousands of patients who previously had little or no access to health care.
 
Supported by Wildlife Works and Everland, the project provided emergency vaccinations for children in all villages during the measles outbreak of 2019.
Impact Highlights
FOREST
300,000 hectares of forest protected since 2011.
WILDLIFE
Critical habitat for endangered forest elephants and bonobos protected.
COMMUNITY
7 schools built and 2 under construction; mobile medical clinic providing HIV testing, emergency medical response and vaccines.
Meet Impact Photographer Filip Cederholm Agoo
In December 2019, Everland commissioned Impact Photographer Filip Cederholm Agoo to document the Wildlife Works Mai Ndombe REDD+ project.
About Everland

Everland is a specialized marketing company supporting climate change mitigation, forest conservation, wildlife protection and community development.

We bring together forest communities and corporations in a common cause to protect some of the world’s most important and vulnerable forests.

Everland helps its clients become an integral part of the communities who are on the front lines of climate change, forest conservation, and wildlife protection. Through deep due diligence and impact reporting, we ensure that clients are investing in real impact. We help our clients gain value from their support of REDD+ projects by producing compelling content and supporting external communications, providing direct relationships with the projects, assisting with employee, customer and shareholder engagement, and developing inspired marketing concepts that enhance brand equity and integrate sustainability into their business models.
Everland Business Development Contacts
Everland represents the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project exclusively. To learn more about our work, contact us.

Transportation & Travel: angela.fosterrice@everlandmarketing.com
Latin America & Spain: natalia.toloza@everlandmarketing.com

SAVE THE EARTH, ONE FOREST AT A TIME