A family of chimpanzees wanders in the forest at Mahale National Park on Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania. Rising eastward from the shoreline, the Greater Mahale Ecosystem encompasses 4.8 million acres of mostly forested landscape. This ecosystem is home to approximately 93 percent of Tanzania’s 2,800 endangered chimpanzees, only some of which live within Mahale Mountains National Park. The Tuungane (pronounced TOO-un-gah-nee, Kiswahili for “Let’s Unite”) project is a collaboration between TNC and Pathfinder International, a global reproductive health organization. TNC and Pathfinder are also engaging other stakeholders to achieve holistic, large-scale impact, including Frankfurt Zoological Society, Jane Goodall Institute, Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), Tongwe Trust, and the Government of Tanzania. Since it's implementation in 2012, eight new Village Land Use Plans earmark 228,000 acres as village forest reserves to protect key chimp habitat, and 37 forest scouts have been trained and deployed. 🙌
In the Tana River watershed of Kenya, TNC scientists have gathered data showing that female-headed households are more dependent on farming — and therefore on water — for income than are male-headed households in the same area, and the female-headed households have lower food security.
The Nature Conservancy launched the Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund to help secure water in and around Nairobi — a city of 4 million people that gets 95 percent of its water from the Tana River. TNC and its Water Fund partners are working with thousands of farming households — one in four of which are headed by women — throughout the watershed to reduce erosion and water use. In response to the new data, the Water Fund will provide even greater support for female farmers, along with farmers over 60, through a larger subsidy toward the costs of soil and water conservation measures.
Despite their lack of charm (and face or eyes for that matter), sea cucumbers are important to the overall health of an ocean ecosystem and seagrass beds. By eating and defecating along the sea floor, these unique life forms help distribute nutrients and remove excess organic matter from the sediment and water. The Nature Conservancy is working with Papua New Guinea communities to set up sustainable management of their sea cucumber fisheries, in the hopes of protecting these creatures and securing stable income for rural communities. Photo by: @davidliittschwager #conservation#nature#seacucumber#sea
"The richness of life in prairies can be astounding, even at a small scale. As a prairie ecologist, I see that every day as I wander through them with my camera or clipboard, but it can be hard to portray that to a skeptical public. Photography has been a crucial tool in my crusade, giving me the opportunity to introduce people to the plants and animals that inhabit what so many people consider “boring grassy areas”. Because I confined my exploration to such a limited geography, I looked at the prairie in new ways. I sat down and examined my plot inch by inch for appealing subject matter. I always found it. I hope others will find it among my photographs." –Words and photos by Chris Helzer
Plitviče Lakes National Park is a 295-sq.-km forest reserve in central Croatia. It's known for a chain of 16 terraced lakes, joined by waterfalls, that extend into a limestone canyon. The region’s rivers, remarkably undisturbed and home to a wealth of different species, have earned the distinction of the “blue heart of Europe.” But now, the Balkan region is at the brink of a hydropower development boom of global proportions, with hundreds, if not thousands, of new dams planned and under construction. TNC is advocating for smart renewable energy use in the Balkans without sacrificing habitat. Photo by: Ken Geiger #conservation#nature#thebalkans#waterfall
In 2018, TNC and partners brokered a groundbreaking deal to purchase some of Seychelles’ foreign debt in exchange for the island nation’s commitment to conservation. 81,000 square miles of the Indian Ocean (the size of Great Britain) are now protected in the form of 2 marine protected areas. The smaller of the two, a modest 29,000 square miles, protects the isolated Aldabra archipelago, home to an ecosystem with evolutionary diversity as inspiring as that of the Galapagos. It’s home to the endangered dugong and 100,000 rare tortoises that breed only there. Photo by: Jason Houston #nature#tortoise#seychelles#conservation
From grandiose landscapes to minute details, and everything in between, we love nature and all that it encompasses. Here, a tiny fungi gnat shelters inside the canopy of a toadstool in south Scotland. – Photo by Duncan McNaught #nature#insect#toadstool#scotland#macrophotography
Coral reefs are both architectural and biological masterpieces: great structures rising from the seabed, crowned with a mesmerizing frenzy of life. Despite the threats they face from pollution, over-exploitation and climate change, coral reefs continue to provide food for many of the 275 million people who live close-by. And as barriers able to absorb 97% of a wave’s energy, they protect millions of people around the world against erosion, flooding and storms. Despite the numerous threats that coral reefs face, we can still save them—but we must band together. As we learn more about the full value of coral reefs to people, it’s clear that strengthening them can no longer be only an environmentalist’s endeavor. It is also a critical human development strategy. – Photo by Y.M. Michael Fung