July 31, 2008
Protecting Fiji’s forests is good news for the planet
The more than 300 islands that comprise the nation of Fiji are a true biological wonder. Dramatic volcanic mountains that gave birth to these islands tower above lush verdant forests. Many of Fiji’s plants and animals are unique to the islands and have evolved very little since their ancestors inhabited the forests.
The crown jewel of Fiji’s spectacular biodiversity is the Sovi Basin, located on the island of Viti Levu. The basin is surrounded by volcanic peaks which form a bowl shape between them. The end result is one of the world’s most impressive geological structures.
At Conservation International, our goal is to protect the world’s natural biological diversity and demonstrate that human society can live harmoniously with nature. That is our mission and it guides us in everything we do.
Our partnership with FIJI Water reflects that spirit. Ours is a strategic and focused partnership whose primary goals include the protection of Fiji’s Sovi Basin, a crucial source of freshwater for the nation of Fiji and for the planet.
To that end, Conservation International’s Global Conservation Fund will contribute to a trust fund set up by The FIJI Water Foundation to protect the Sovi Basin. The fund was launched with initial funding from FIJI Water owners Lynda and Stewart Resnick and the combined donations of more than 700 FIJI Water employees. The fund will go to support the annual management costs of protecting the Sovi Basin.
One of the most unique aspects of this funding is the compensation of local communities to protect the land around the basin. The goal of that is to provide a different source of income to communities who traditionally become susceptible to logging interests and the one-time payoff that comes with cutting down a forest. The trust will also support a facility to distribute small-scale grants for community development in and around the Sovi Basin providing new opportunities to those communities to prosper and thrive. The National Trust of Fiji is responsible for management of the Sovi Basin, and will receive and administer revenues from the fund.
But this is not just good news for Fiji. This is good news for the planet because this ambitious and forward-thinking partnership to protect the rainforests of Fiji will result in about ten million tons of carbon dioxide stored in these forests will remain out of our atmosphere. Since deforestation accounts for 20-25 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in our atmosphere double that of all the world’s cars, trucks, and planes combined protecting Fiji’s rainforests protects us all.
So join us and help protect an acre of rainforest by visiting www.conservation.org and click the ‘Protect an Acre of Forest’ button. For as little at $15 you can help Conservation International protect an entire acre of tropical rainforest. Because what is lost there, is felt here. We’ve enlisted longtime Conservation International board member Harrison Ford to help with the cause. Click here to view the startling public service announcement that’s generating a lot of buzz.