Forty years ago, the communities around Mount Namuli lived in balance with the mountain and its wildlife-rich forests. Today poverty, extreme weather and a growing population have placed new pressures on the forest.
With limited livelihood alternatives, local people use unsustainable agricultural techniques, and, although potatoes grow well in these high altitude areas and fetch a high price at the market, that income comes at a great cost for rainforest.
That’s why Cool Earth partnered with local expert organisation Legado to develop sustainable agricultural practices, beekeeping and local leadership that aim to diversify income streams, empower local leadership and help preserve remaining rainforest.
Partner Organisation: Legado
Slash and burn itinerant agriculture has been practiced by many generations of community members around Mount Namuli, but at the current speed and scale it has become the main driver of forest and wildlife loss in Namuli. It’s mostly driven by potato growing, a key source of income for local people, as people clear the forested slopes to grow the crop.
Fire, from purposeful clearing and wildfires, is potently destructive to the forest. Destroying the natural soil seed bank, fires can inhibit forest regeneration and often spread into neighbouring forest areas.
Community members report more unreliable and sporadic rainfall in the area. Local water cycles are affected due to deforestation as rain runoff becomes more rapid leading to soil erosion, nutrient loss, and unreliable river flow.