World Nature Conservation Day 2021: In it for The Long Run
On World Nature Conservation Day, the world unites to celebrate and acknowledge that a healthy environment and the sustainable management of our natural resources is key to a stable and thriving society. Through conservation, the natural world can thrive, perform its critical functions for future generations, and the exploitation of natural resources can be halted.
At The Long Run, conservation stands for the protection and regeneration of marine and land biodiversity, not only to support nature but also for the support of local people and global needs. Through a holistic balance of the 4C’s – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – financial and social sustainability can also be ensured in the long term. The Long Run’s mission is to create a world in which business, nature, and people work together in harmony. Only then, through a global community that works together, the highest sustainability standards that protect and regenerate ecosystems can be achieved for the benefit of all.
Over and over, hope is evident, like the work of regional conservation champion Caiman Ecological Refuge in Brazil. With its revolutionary Onçafari project, Caiman Ecological Refuge is rehabilitating the jaguar population in the Pantanal — the world’s largest tropical wetland area — where hunting, poaching, and smuggling once endangered these majestic cats. Today, at least nine jaguars with cubs have been registered in addition to another three cubs still in dens. Through the Onçafari project, which has brought a species conservation approach over to Brazil from South Africa, the different stages of the cubs and the behaviour of mothers can be monitored. This work assists in creating a healthy environment for future generations of jaguars returning to the area.
It is not just the rehabilitation of wildlife that plays a role in conserving the natural habitat, but flora is equally important. In a natural system, everything depends on each other, and one cannot thrive alone. For this purpose, Segera in Kenya has launched a unique tree-planting project: The Rhino Tree of Life Initiative. Due to a severe increase in deforestation, the forest cover in Kenya depleted from 10 per cent to a disturbing 6 per cent over the last decade, and with this, a vast amount of natural habitat has been destroyed. Segera has planted over 100,000 seedlings and intends to further plant up to 1,000,000 indigenous trees to rebuild and save the forests, not only for the environment but for communities too.
Cooperation at a regional and national level is critical to secure the protection of nature in the long-term, and one recent success comes from Six Senses Laamu in The Maldives. Together with BLUE and TropWater, Laamu developed a standardised monitoring protocol for Maldives seagrass meadows. Despite all the success that was achieved in the protection of the seagrass meadows, little is known about their distribution, diversity, and status. Close monitoring could help the restoration of seagrass meadows and build healthy marine life. In March 2020, the Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture adopted the Seagrass Monitoring Network as official national protocol, incorporating the system into their Coral Database as an online data entry portal. This was a huge success for conservationists, as it not only helps with existing work but also, for the first time, recognises the importance of seagrass meadows.
Conservation can not only be done through the active protection of biodiversity or regeneration of it. It can also be focusing on sustainable and effective management of the land used. An example of this is Estancia Pampa Grande in Argentina. The farm is dedicated to improving the management of its 74,000-acres of grasslands, rivers, and hills. By taking a holistic perspective, the land of many rare tree species and a variety of birds and wildlife can be used for organic farming while keeping biodiversity safe. This ranges from controlling the birth of calves to the weaning period and the careful balance of keeping a prosperous herd of cattle grazing in the grasslands without its destruction.
Thanks to such commitment, Long Run members collectively protect over 23 million acres of ecosystems, more than 400 endangered species, while improving the lives of 750,000 people, proving that when conservation is a central component, tourism can be a force for good. Although, as Long Run Managing Director Delphine Malleret-King reminds us, ‘perfect does not exist: sustainability is a journey’. In the midst of a climate and biodiversity crisis, it’s never been clearer that we must all adopt a mindset for continuous improvement in how we work and live alongside the natural world.
Written by Charis Fuchs, BA student on placement at The Long Run from the International University of Applied Sciences at Bad Honnef Campus.