A Christmas gift that doesn’t cost the Earth

By Ben Carey on 16 November, 2020

A charity based in Bath is encouraging people to help save the planet by making a donation as a Christmas gift this year.

In exchange for £50 to sponsor an acre of threatened Ecuadorian cloud forest, Rainforest Concern will provide an attractive gift certificate for the recipient.

Over the past 27 years the charity has helped to protect over 2.2M hectares of rainforest in 13 countries around the world.

It is currently raising funds to buy 190 hectares of rainforest in Ecuador threatened by international mining concessions. The purchase will help to create a wildlife corridor between the charity’s Neblina Reserve and the Taminaga Grande community forest to the south.

Neblina is a high-altitude cloud forest reserve in the Tropical Andes, one of the most biologically diverse hotspots on Earth, with 34,000 species of plants and animals including bears, pumas, plate-billed mountain toucans, the recently discovered Confusing Rocket Frog and the black and chestnut eagle, of which only 250 may remain in the world.

Although tropical rainforests cover less than 3 per cent of the surface of the planet, they are home to over 50 per cent of the world’s plants and animals.  Only 2.5 per cent of all rainforests are cloud forests and 90 per cent of the cloud forests in Ecuador have already been lost.

25 per cent of our Western medicines originate from tropical forest plants and yet only around 10 per cent of rainforest plants have been studied. Ten million acres of pristine tropical rainforest are being destroyed each year for mining, logging and agriculture, not only putting humans in closer proximity to wildlife and risking further global pandemics, but also destroying potential cures for cancer and other human diseases before they are even discovered.

A recent WWF report shows that protecting existing rainforests is significantly more effective than planting new trees and that just one acre of mature rainforest can absorb the same amount of carbon dioxide as 30 acres of newly planted saplings.

Preserving thriving rainforests, Earth’s oldest living ecosystems, costs less than reforestation and also protects the extraordinary biodiversity of plant and animal species that depend on the forests for survival.

For sponsorship, donation and membership details visit the charity’s website at www.rainforestconcern.org