Conservation Pulse June July 2019 | WWF
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Our latest conservation wins

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US$140 million committed to protect Peruvian Amazon

The Government of Peru, WWF and partners have committed US$140 million to expand and effectively manage almost 17 million hectares of protected areas in the Amazon. The funding will support a government-led initiative to make the country’s protected areas financially sustainable, protecting nature while also promoting the well-being of the people who depend on it. Over half the country is covered in trees and connected by Amazon rivers, with only Brazil holding a larger area of Amazonian tropical forest. This helps make Peru one of the 10 most biodiverse countries in the world, with over 330,000 people depending directly on the country's forests for their livelihoods, and countless more depending on the products and services provided by the forests.

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New protection announced for ‘Amazon of Europe’

An area of 13,000 hectares around the River Mura in Austria has been declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve, adding to the existing protection of the lower courses of the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers – known collectively as the ‘Amazon of Europe’. With its amazing biodiversity and untouched landscapes, this 800,000 hectare area is one of Europe’s most important natural treasures as well as a vital resource for local communities. Austria is the fifth country to agree to the creation of a biosphere reserve – which promotes the conservation of natural areas while also allowing their sustainable use – around this 700km stretch of river. We’ve been working for the past 20 years to help create these individual reserves, and are now supporting efforts to unify protection by forming the world’s first transnational, five-country biosphere reserve.

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Indigenous government creates conservation area in Bolivia

We welcome news that the Guarani nation’s government of Charagua Iyambae in Bolivia has passed a law creating an indigenous conservation area covering 1.2 million hectares – a landmark in efforts by indigenous peoples to make decisions about the conservation of their lands. The newly formed Ñembiguazu conservation area, on the borders of Bolivia and Paraguay, will create a corridor between the Otuquis and Kaa Iya National Parks and will support our conservation work with others in the Chaco and Pantanal regions of Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay. Bounded by Chaco forests to the south, the Pantanal is the world’s largest tropical wetland with thousands of water bird, plant, fish and reptile species thriving in its lakes, lagoons, rivers and marshes. Threats include expanding human settlement, unsustainable farming practices, illegal mining, hydroelectric power plant construction and unregulated tourism.

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Zambia decision offers hope for free-flowing rivers

Keeping rivers flowing freely is vitally important for the future of people and nature, so it’s great to hear that the Zambian government has halted plans to build a hydropower dam across the Luangwa river. If construction had gone ahead in the Ndevu Gorge, the resulting fragmentation of the Luangwa would have harmed both local communities and wildlife. 25 chiefdoms rely on the river for freshwater and food, as well as livelihoods based on agriculture, tourism and more. A wealth of wildlife, including 400 bird species, a variety of fish species, and mammals such as elephants, lions and hippos, is also supported by the Luangwa. WWF has been campaigning with partners since last year for legal protection for the Luangwa to help safeguard it from threats such as dams, deforestation and unsustainable agriculture. An incredible 200,000 people backed our calls by signing a petition – and we hope that the government’s decision to halt plans for a dam will now pave the way for legal protection.

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Good news for globally important wildernesses in Spain and China

We’ve long campaigned against threats to UNESCO natural World Heritage sites – wildernesses that have been recognised for their global importance by the UN Agency. Spain’s Doñana National Park is a case in point where we objected to plans to dredge the Guadalquivir River, which runs through this important refuge for migratory birds and other wildlife. The good news is that the project has now been ruled out by the country’s Supreme Court although we will continue to challenge other threats such as illegal water use. Meanwhile, bird sanctuaries along the coast of the Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf in China have secured World Heritage site status. The sanctuaries are vital ‘staging sites’ on the East Asia / Australasia flyway, a migratory route that extends from Arctic Russia to Australia and New Zealand. We welcome the UNESCO decision, having worked for years to protect this area and the millions of migratory birds that it supports.

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Successful green development pilot in Indonesia

WWF-Indonesia has successfully piloted support for green village development in the East Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo. We worked with communities predominantly from the indigenous Dayak people to improve their development planning process to protect local forests, use natural resources sustainably, and carry out green development projects that the communities themselves prioritized and designed. WWF provided technical assistance that helped them make sure their green development plans were aligned with district, regional and national requirements for low-carbon development. The projects included ecotourism activities, the development of a cacao nursery, and improvements to local infrastructure that enable closer monitoring of community conserved forest areas.

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