Save 10 acres of biodiverse forest in Sri Lanka

by Forest Healing Foundation (Guarantee) Limited
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Save 10 acres of biodiverse forest in Sri Lanka
Save 10 acres of biodiverse forest in Sri Lanka
Save 10 acres of biodiverse forest in Sri Lanka
Save 10 acres of biodiverse forest in Sri Lanka
Save 10 acres of biodiverse forest in Sri Lanka
Save 10 acres of biodiverse forest in Sri Lanka
Save 10 acres of biodiverse forest in Sri Lanka
Save 10 acres of biodiverse forest in Sri Lanka
Save 10 acres of biodiverse forest in Sri Lanka
Save 10 acres of biodiverse forest in Sri Lanka
Save 10 acres of biodiverse forest in Sri Lanka
Save 10 acres of biodiverse forest in Sri Lanka
Save 10 acres of biodiverse forest in Sri Lanka

Ayubowan from Digana!

Welcome to our quarterly update report where we share our latest news with you: our family of kind donors.

 

As you may have seen in the news, this quarter saw the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the region and Sri Lanka locked down once again. We are incredibly thankful that all our team are safe and well and our thoughts are with all those who have lost loved ones during these awful times.

 

The lockdown has forced us to put a dampener on our operations once again, but we have been doing our best despite the circumstances. Our project highlights this quarter include:

1. Volunteer Research Squad

A huge shout out to our fantastic volunteer research squad: Dui, Kaveetha, Rebecca, Rosie, Sashini and Sophie. The team gave up their free time to help us research different solutions for conserving forests whilst also supporting the livelihoods of local communities. They ran a great workshop with our Foundation Board to discuss their findings and identify which options could have the most impact in our local area. We are looking forward to the next phase as soon as the situation allows. Thank you to all our volunteers.

 

2. Eko Land

Our Eko Land Produce initiative was launched after the first COVID lockdown to help provide much-needed local jobs and an access to market for sustainable forest produce. We are thrilled that spices and dried fruits from the little village of Wepathana are making their way across oceans! Nihal, Remon and the team have now sent shipments to the USA, EU, UK and India. They are busy developing a new superfoods pack, which will include spices such as moringa, turmeric and cinnamon, all hand-picked and prepared by our local community. Visit www.ekoland.lk/home to find out more.

 

3. Mee Hill

Last quarter we were very excited to announce that another acre of threatened forest had been saved thanks to your generous donations. This area, named Mee Hill, is now under the care of our tree planting manager (and all around hero) Nel, who has been very busy. New trees are going in with lots of rich leaves and organic matter from the surrounding forest floor and mesh wire protection to keep them safe from the deer. Go Nel!

 

4. Fundraiser fun

A bit further afield, Foundation supporters Richard and Sarah in the UK have very kindly (and bravely!) set a goal of walking a marathon around the historic Stonehenge area to raise money for our forests. They will undertake their challenge in October and are already training hard. We are totally blown away and we send our thanks and best wishes once again. If you would like to support them, please visit: www.globalgiving.org/fundraisers/stepsforforests.

 

As always, a huge thank you for your ongoing support. We always love to hear from you so feel free to get in touch at info@foresthealingsrilanka.org.

Kind wishes and stay safe,

Nihal, Remon, Emma and all the FHF Community

Chestnut-backed owlet in the forest
Chestnut-backed owlet in the forest

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Ayubowan,

We have some big updates from the jungle to bring you this quarter and, by complete fluke, have timed it well with the International Day of Forests on Sunday! Read on to hear about seven acres of forest being taken off the market, our rescue of a new plot of degraded forest and exciting plans looking forwards.

 

1. Mudalali Land

Our original goal to save a seven-acre plot of biodiverse forest called Mudalali Land had to be halted last month. The owner sadly passed away and our thoughts are with his family at this time. The land now passes to his son who has no wish to sell it so the forest is safe for the time being.

What does this mean for your donations? As you may be aware from our updates, the COVID-19 period has been tough for the rural communities surrounding us and we have seen a significant increase in land being put up for sale and trees being cut and sold for timber. We are very aware that we must take action quickly to both protect forests and support communities in need.

We are putting the funds raised towards protecting the large areas of surrounding forest that have come under threat since we launched the Mudalali Land campaign in March last year. The challenge faced is sadly bigger, not smaller, than it was a year ago so we are continuing to raise funds and work with the community to protect as much forest as possible. You will see some updates to the project page reflecting this shortly.

 

2. Forest plot rescued!

Our first step towards protecting more forest was securing a 0.7-acre plot of degraded forest located close to where our Foundation office is this week. The owner was looking to sell quickly and the land already has both water and electricity supply running nearby (a rarity!), which would make it a prime spot for development. Some of the larger trees on the plot have already been cut and sold for income, so our plan is to work with local schools to engage our community in the replanting process. By planting a mixture of fruit, spice and native trees we can also help provide additional income for people to collect the forest product whilst also supporting biodiversity.

We are absolutely thrilled to be able to protect this forest and are very grateful for your generous support. The area has been named Mee Hill after its steep gradient and the mee trees we are planting to help secure the soils.

 

3. Next steps

There are lots of new models emerging for helping communities make conservation work financially. We are currently recruiting a team of remote researchers to help us investigate these models and design trials to be carried out in our area. We are excited to share the findings with you in the coming months.

 

As always, thank you so much for your ongoing support. If you have any questions about the updates above, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@foresthealingsrilanka.org. We hope to be in touch with more forest protection news soon!

Best regards,

Nihal, Remon, Emma and the FHF Community

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It is probably fair to say that 2020 threw pretty much everyone’s plans out the window.. We had very little idea of what was coming our way when we launched our campaign to protect our local threatened forest in early March, although we would have of course gone for it anyway! We are really proud and grateful to be a third of the way towards our final fundraising goal after what was a tough year globally and we are ready to bring the energy in 2021.

To share the positive vibes, in this report we wanted to bring you some of our highlights from the past three months and reasons to be excited for 2021. Enjoy! 

 

October-December updates

  • We ran a number of fundraising initiatives in the last quarter, including a matching campaign to save another 200m2 of threatened forest and the creation of beautiful gift cards and e-cards. In total, we raised another $685 and we are so so grateful for the support!
  • To help local ecology students on their journey to becoming conservationists, we partnered with a new Sri Lankan brand, From The Roots, who are kindly donating to a student bursary fund for every item they sell. This fund will support travel and research costs for these students to conduct their own studies in our forest.
  • In November, the Government sadly went ahead and removed the protection of 700,000 hectares of Other State Forests. OK, so this isn’t a very good highlight, but we were genuinely really proud to come together with a huge number of organisations and individuals across the country to support the protection of these forests. Please check out our video here for some of the inspiring action.

 

Reasons to be excited for 2021

1. Emerging from the darkness

It is early days still but the new vaccines are finally offering a light at the end of the tunnel. We can’t wait be able to get out and get stuck in with our projects in the community. We will also be able to invite people (especially amazing people like you) into our forest to work with us and enjoy the nature. Hopefully you can come say hi!

2. Global momentum on forests and climate

It is a HUGE year for the future of our planet. The COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow, the launch of the new post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and Goals, the start of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, the US rejoining the Paris Agreement and corporate leadership through science-based targets for nature. 2021 is the big one and we invite you to join us in pressing for action (i.e. not pledges, action!).

3. New ideas and opportunities

There are loads of exciting new conservation and reforestation ideas coming through at the moment, e.g. tree mortgaging in India and community seed collection and dispersal networks in Brazil. We are always keen to learn from others so please send us any great initiatives you come across too.

 

How you can help: We are looking for individuals who are up for undertaking a fundraising challenge and businesses who might be interested in donating to save the forest here before it is too late. If you or anyone you know would like to get involved, please contact us at info@foresthealingsrilanka.org.

 

Thank you again for your ongoing support and we wish you a happy, healthy and safe new year,

Nihal, Henk, Remon, Emma and the FHF Team

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We were finalists in Global Giving's Photo Contest
We were finalists in Global Giving's Photo Contest

The last quarter has flown by already and we are pleased to send you our second update report.

Thank you again for your kind donation and ongoing support. Over the past few months we have seen all too clearly how pressure on economies can translate into pressure on forests, especially in lower income countries, and so your donation means more than ever to our Foundation and our community. Thank you.

 

Some of our highlights since our last report include:

-        Launching a partnership with eco-travel company, Feel The World, to protect a further 500m2 of the forest and to fund fruit and spice tree planting with local farmers;

-        Leading a campaign to maintain a piece of legislation that protects over half a million hectares of Sri Lanka’s forests, which the Government had proposed removing and has stepped back to reassess after public outcry;

-        Some spectacular wildlife sightings in the forest, including the latest arrival of wild boar piglets two nights ago!

-        Helping to launch a community forest produce business, which provides financial incentives for landowners to conserve their trees by paying them a fair price for the fruits and spices produced.

 

However, it has not all been smooth sailing. Whilst Sri Lanka managed to contain COVID-19 impressively well, the economic impacts are unfortunately now starting to bite. We have seen escalating deforestation rates in our local area and several protected areas across Sri Lanka have also come under threat as people seek short-term income generation opportunities.

This all emphasizes the urgency of our project to protect the forest here. We named the project area Mudalali Land after the Sinhala word for businessman, in honour of its current owner, and he is indeed being a true mudalali! Whilst we have raised enough money to purchase one of the three portions of land making up the plot for protection, he is refusing to sell them individually.. But we will not let this faze us! We battle on to save the forest.

Be sure to look out for a new campaign starting at 9am ET on Monday 14 September across our social media channels. Over the course of 5 days, GlobalGiving will be matching all small donations (up to $50) at 50%, which means that you can protect an extra 5m2 of forest for every 10m2 you sponsor. We are targeting protecting another 200m2 of forest and would hugely appreciate your help, either through any sponsorship you can offer or simply by sharing our posts.

 

Thank you again for your ongoing support and we wish all the best to your community from ours.

Nihal, Henk, Remon, Emma and the FHF Team

Our community produce initiative is taking off
Our community produce initiative is taking off
500m2 forest protected with Feel The World Travel
500m2 forest protected with Feel The World Travel

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Toque Macaque
Toque Macaque

A huge thank you again for your kind donation towards protecting seven acres of biodiverse Sri Lankan forest and welcome to our first update report.

Your donation is making a big difference. You have helped us raise enough funds to protect 1.75 acres or 7000m2 of forest – approximately the size of a football pitch! This is an incredible achievement and a big help to the local community, the 62 bird species and the many other creatures living here. We are now able to enter negotiations to secure one of the three plots that the forest under threat is divided into and we are excited to update you as these negotiations progress.

Unfortunately, it would be amiss of us not to mention the impact of the coronavirus over the last few months. As in many other countries, the curfews here in Sri Lanka put a halt to much of our operations and fundraising. It was a difficult time for us watching deforestation increase across the Amazon and also much closer to home, with an area of stunning forest cleared not five minutes from our front door. However, this period has also reinforced our resolve to fight to protect the forest and do all we can to look after the precious nature here.

And there are some silver linings! The declining economy may actually result in lower land prices, so we can negotiate a better rate for protecting more of the forest. We were also able to use our time in jungle lockdown to try to help as many people as we could to stay connected to nature and that includes you! Be sure to check out:

Thank you again for your ongoing support and please reach out to us if you have any questions, comments or ideas. We hope you and your families are keeping well and we send all our best wishes to you from the jungle. We will keep you updated and hope to have exciting news to share about the forest protection very soon!

Kind regards,

Nihal, Henk, Remon, Emma and the FHF Team

Nearby deforestation
Nearby deforestation
FHF Team bringing the energy
FHF Team bringing the energy
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Organization Information

Forest Healing Foundation (Guarantee) Limited

Location: Digana - Sri Lanka
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ForestSri
Project Leader:
Nihal Ellegala
Digana, Sri Lanka
$12,085 raised of $20,000 goal
 
193 donations
$7,915 to go
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