The demand of luxury furniture from endangered tree species is driving massive deforestation all over Asia. Wildlife Alliance is dedicated to preserving these tropical species within their rainforest ecosystems and is actively fighting against the mounting threat of deforestation. The usual process implemented by illegal loggers is as follows: first they log the most precious timber. Secondly, they log the construction wood species. Thirdly, they harvest all remaining trees for commercial charcoal production and “firewood” supplying garment factories and brick factories that all use wood as energy for electricity, instead of using the energy from the national grid, because it is cheaper. Once these activities have been conducted systematically and all the trees are gone, the fourth step is to grab the land for industrial agriculture or for selling to real estate speculators.

Currently we are working to protect 1 million hectares (2,471,053 acres) (10,000 km2) of dense monsoon forests of the Cardamom Rainforest Landscape in Cambodia, one of the last great  rainforests remaining in Asia and the largest carbon sink of Southeast Asia. Our goal is to make a significant contribution to preserving the Earth’s nature-based solution to Climate Change by avoiding further deforestation and conducting large-scale reforestation. Our on-the-ground protection preserves continuity of forest cover and therefore maintains intact the carbon absorption and rainfall regulation function of the rainforest canopy.

The Cardamoms represent one of the Planet’s largest tropical watersheds, responsible for impacting rainfall in Europe and the Northern Hemisphere in general NASA and Duke University study 2005 and NASA study 2014

Cardamom Forest Protection Program

We are protecting over 2,000 species of plants and over 14 species of IUCN threatened tree species. 

As is emphasized in the ETH Zurich Study published in Science in July 2019, the most effective method to combat climate change is to protect existing forests and conduct reforestation.

As is shown in NASA and Duke University study 2005 and NASA study 2014 it is tropical forests that have the largest carbon absortion capacity in the world. Therefore, priority should be given to protecting tropical forests. Their importance for mitigating climate change cannot be overstated because they are located around the Earth’s Tropical Belt, where the Planet is closest to the heat of the Sun, and their layers of complex vegetation are buffering the ground from the sun’s heat. The rainforest’s complex layers create a natural air cooling system that lowers ambient temperature by at least 7 degrees and has an in-built mechanism for attracting rainfall from the ocean.

The rainforest’s impact on rain and carbon absorption has a far-reaching impact on our climate in the northern hemisphere. NASA (Tropical Deforestation Affects Rainfall in the U.S. and Around the Globe) has demonstrated that removal of this Earth’s natural cooling system in the Tropics results in drastic reduction of rainfall in Europe and the U.S. and creation of uncontrollable droughts.

Unfortunately, humankind has already massively deforested these regions and replaced the natural forest with industrial development (urban expansion, mineral mining and mono species of agriculture crops). The crops replacing the forest (palm oil, rubber, sugar cane, durian) have almost no  carbon absorption capacity. And, having lost their natural rainforest cover, the deforested areas no longer have  any capacity to regulate rain because the forest canopy is gone, no longer attracting rainfall, and the complex root  system no longer serves as conduits to guide rainwater underground to the water tables.

Our mission is to stop the destruction of threatened wild tree species in Tropical Asia by conducting an innovative and effective approach of combined ranger law enforcement and partnerships with local communities to demarcate strictly protected forest zones as well as helping to develop livelihoods that are not a danger to the rainforest.