News Release: Rainforest Trust and AOL.com Team up to Save Amazon Rainforest

AOL-logo-300x241
America Online supports non-profits through its ‘Make a Difference’ module
3823737795_8cf9bf6aed_b   The protected areas will be a refuge for Jaguars  © Pond5
_47A3362 - Copy - JPEG  50¢ protects an acre of rainforest © D. Perez

Rainforest Trust featured on AOL.com ‘Make a Difference’ module to raise funds for Sierra del Divisor Project in the Peruvian Amazon

WARRENTON, VA – JULY 2, 2014 – On Friday, June 27, 2014, AOL.com featured Rainforest Trust as their ‘Make a Difference’ module on their homepage in an effort to help increase awareness of Rainforest Trust’s mission to save rainforests and endangered species, spark dialogue and raise funds to protect one of the world’s most bio-diverse ecosystems. This partnership is part of AOL.com’s on-going effort to highlight the cause-related work of non-profits.

“AOL is thrilled to support Rainforest Trust because as a company, ‘We are in the business of helping people. Period.’ Through our pro bono media, AOL empowers its clients, consumers and employees to learn, share and connect with causes in an effort to make them part of our everyday lives,” said Joey Blumenfeld, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at AOL.

Launched in 2013, Rainforest Trust’s Sierra del Divisor Project will save 5.9 million acres of the Peruvian Amazon through the creation of protected areas and indigenous land titling. The area to be protected – nearly eight times the size of Yosemite National Park – will preserve critical habitat for jaguars and other endangered species. The Sierra del Divisor is also home to several indigenous communities, including 300-400 people living in voluntary isolation.

Working with Peruvian conservation partner CEDIA (Center for the Development of an Indigenous Amazon), Rainforest Trust is offering supporters the opportunity to protect rainforest acres for only 50 cents.

“Our four-year project in the Sierra del Divisor offers incredible benefits in terms of preserving ecosystems, protecting wildlife, and fighting climate change. We are naturally excited to share such important work with an audience of AOL.com’s size,” said Joe Lowe, Communications Director for Rainforest Trust.

The Sierra del Divisor project has already raised over $700,000 to save nearly 1.5 million acres of the rainforest in just the last nine months.

To donate or learn more about this project, visit www.rainforesttrust.org/acres-for-50cents.

Rainforest Trust, formerly World Land Trust-US, is a nonprofit conservation organization focused on saving rainforest and endangered species. Since its founding in 1988, Rainforest Trust has saved nearly 8 million acres of rainforests and other tropical habitats in 67 projects across 17 tropical countries. The nonprofit purchases and protects threatened land in partnership with local conservation leaders and indigenous communities.

AOL Inc. is a brand company, committed to continuously innovating, growing, and investing in brands and experiences that inform, entertain, and connect the world. The home of a world-class collection of premium brands, AOL creates original content that engages audiences on a local and global scale. We help marketers connect with these audiences through effective and engaging digital advertising solutions.

Media contact:
Marc Ford, Rainforest Trust
info@rainforesttrust.org
1-800-456-4930

Endangered Frog Species Discovered in New Ecuadorian Reserve

Gastrotheca pseustes San Lucas Marsupial Frog © Jocotoco
Volcan Antisana   Volcan Antisana dominates the landscape                      © Wikimedia
Andean Condor   Andean Condors nest in the Antisanilla Reserve                       © Eric Mariglia

June 24, 2014

A four-day amphibian survey in Ecuador’s new Antisanilla Reserve has resulted in a new register of the San Lucas Marsupial Frog (Gastrotheca pseustes).

Found at elevations of 6,500 feet and above, the San Lucas Marsupial Frog is restricted to Ecuador’s páramo grassland environment. Its population has been reduced during preceding decades due to a combination of factors that include climate change, pesticide use, habitat loss and the introduction of non-native species.

Antisanilla and the neighboring Antisana Ecological Reserve likely play an important role in the survival of other threatened amphibians as well. Future studies will determine the presence of these species, which, among others, may include the endangered Antisana Pulp Toad (Osornophryne antisana), an endemic species found only among páramo soils, and Espada’s Rocket Frog (Hyloxalus pulchellus), which is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN. Antisana is recognized as an Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) site based on the occurrence of its endangered amphibians.

Rainforest Trust plans to support additional monitoring surveys of Antisanilla’s threatened amphibians in the months that come.

To protect critical amphibian habitat, the organization will provide financial resources to construct fences around wetlands and ensure that these areas remain free of grazing cattle. It will also assist in the design and implementation of a reserve management plan to aid in the survival of endangered species in the newly protected area.

The 6,100- acre Antisanilla Reserve was created earlier this year with support from Rainforest Trust, the Amphibian Survival Alliance, the Andrew Sabin Foundation and others working in collaboration with Ecuadorian partner Fundación Jocotoco.

The four-day study was conducted with the support of Nigel Simpson.

New Wildlife Protection for the Atlantic Rainforest

Gilmar property - Copy Locke with Gilmar property owner © REGUA
704px-Crab-eating_Fox - Copy Crab-eating Fox found at REGUA © Wikimedia
REGUA wetlands Restored habitat at REGUA © REGUA

June 19, 2014

With Rainforest Trust support, Brazilian partner REGUA successfully purchased a forested 38-acre property, increasing the Atlantic Rainforest reserve’s size to over 17,500 acres.

The acquired tract, known as the Gilmar property, was identified several years ago as an important objective in REGUA’s strategic plan to expand rainforest conservation in the Guapiaçu Valley.

Famed for its rugged mountains and natural beauty, the valley has experienced increased pressure from developers in recent years. Only 40 miles away from Rio de Janeiro, it has become an attractive retreat for the city’s elite. As a result, the construction and purchase of vacation homes now threatens the valley’s ecological integrity.

“With electricity and a bridge crossing the river, the little house on the Gilmar property was a prime location for those wanting a retreat off the beaten track. However, REGUA maintained an on-going conversation with the owner, and the dialogue finally paid off. We acquired the land in the nick of time,” said Nicholas Locke, REGUA’s project manager.

For REGUA staff, the housing demand has translated into an increased urgency to expand the reserve. At the same, the difficulty of doing so has risen. To ensure that the reserve continues to grow, Rainforest Trust is currently assisting REGUA to enlarge its boundaries by 1,128 acres.

Located adjacent to the reserve, the Gilmar property will serve as a buffer zone and provide critical habitat for REGUA’s wildlife, including Pumas, Ocelots, and Woolly Spider Monkeys.

“The Gilmar property can now start reverting back to forest, and by enabling it to do so, we set an important precedent. The general trend within the Atlantic Rainforest, especially near major towns, is small scale fragmentation and increased forest destruction,” added Locke.

With 93% of Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest already destroyed, the once-massive forest is now one of the world’s most endangered ecosystems. The REGUA reserve protects a critical piece of the remaining rainforest and is a stronghold for wildlife, with nearly 80 mammal species living within its borders.

REGUA has also made a significant commitment to being a leader in land stewardship by restoring the ecological health of the properties it owns and manages. At present, 30 acres of pastureland have been converted into marshland and over 40,000 trees have been planted.

 

Healing a History of Ecological Damage

REGUA wetland REGUA’s wetlands © REGUA
REGUA mountains Morning mist above restored wetlands © REGUA
REGUA avifauna Guira Cuckoos perched near wetlands © REGUA

June 13, 2014

For some, the words “Atlantic Rainforest” conjure images of a dense, steaming jungle stretching beyond the horizon. The rainforest, which lies along Brazil’s Atlantic seaboard, has even been labeled a “green hell.” In fact, it is a spectacular landscape filled with unique micro-habitats.

Composed of varied forests and rich wildlife, the Atlantic Rainforest is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. Although often overshadowed by its neighbor to the west, the Amazon Rainforest, this rainforest is actually home to more biodiversity.

However, its coastal location has carried a heavy price. Easy access has led to widespread destruction by fire and axe. Lowland areas have been drained and forests cut, making way for farmland, roads and countless towns. As a result, the forest now covers only approximately 7% of its former range.

Wetlands were once one of the most important habitats found in the Atlantic Rainforest. These areas were often lined with Tabebuia Cassinoides, a climax tree species that thrived in wet conditions. The small but sturdy tree provided a base for thousands of epiphytes, both orchids and bromeliads, in need of a stout tree limbs upon which to grow.

Wetlands also sustained surrounding plant life during spells of dry weather as prevailing winds carried their moisture into adjacent forests.

But over time, marshes in the region were systematically drained and their trees cut down. Today, they are virtually extinct in the landscape.

Rainforest Trust’s Brazilian partner REGUA is restoring wetlands and other important ecological elements of the Atlantic Rainforest. In 2005, extensive retaining walls and a concrete spillway were constructed at the REGUA reserve as part of an effort to recreate former wetlands. The resulting 30-acre marsh has matured quickly and is now home to Caiman, Capybara and a wide variety of wetland bird species, as well as fish and amphibians.

It will be many years before some of the orchids and bromeliads that once draped wetland trees can be reintroduced, but a promising start has been made to reestablish this extremely rare and special habitat.

Learn more about REGUA and Rainforest Trust’s efforts to expand this critical wildlife reserve.

Story courtesy of REGUA