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Eddie Bauer Backs Global and Eastern Habitat Conservation Projects
Posted on April 17, 2015

Araripe Plateau, a small area of unique humid forest habitat in northeastern Brazil Photo: Nakinn/Wikimedia

As we build up to Earth Week, we’ve been featuring the 2015 reforestation and conservation projects backed by the Eddie Bauer partnership with American Forests, a nonprofit-and-brand alliance that has replanted more than 6.5 million trees in 150 ecosystems during the last two decades. For two areas—Back East and International—we picked six projects that tied to locations and causes connected to the eastern contingent of our guide team, the “Kaiak Brazil” connection of Ben Stookesberry and Chris Korbulic and the world travels of our adventure travel guide Trevor Frost.

Frost traveled to 21 countries in 2014 alone, but one of his most memorable trips was photographing the orangutans of Borneo, which made one conservation project a perfect fit. For the eastern projects, we are highlighting a reforestation effort in the Pennsylvania neck of the woods of Rebecca Etchen Peters, a New England project close to home for Lucas St. Clair, and a West Virginia project also backed by Trout Unlimited, an organization supported by our entire roster of Sport Shop fishing guides. —LYA Editor

Sunset in Guangzhou, China. Photo: Xianyi Shen

International

Project: Sumatran Orangutan Habitat ReLeaf Project

Location: Gunung Leuser National Park, North Sumatra, Indonesia

Problem: Orangutan Habitat Deforestation

 

Our distant relative, hanging out in his element. Photo: Axel Drainville

Deforestation, peat land degradation and wildfire have placed Indonesia among the top three emitters of greenhouse gases in the world in the last decade. Since 1910, 48 percent of Sumatra’s forests have been lost to logging, infrastructure development and plantation development. The lost forestland includes vast tracts of the Gunung Leuser National Park—part of the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This has resulted in devastating consequences for biodiversity, and for the approximately 4 million people living in North Sumatra who depend on the Leuser forests for critical ecological services.

Orangutans are a keystone species, meaning that other species—and the ecosystem at large—depend on them. They are an important seed disperser, eating a wide variety of fruit and helping their seeds spread. They also help trim the trees when they make nests or eat leaves, opening gaps in the canopy which allow sunlight to penetrate. Threats to the orangutan population from development will have far-reaching consequences on the ecosystem as a whole. American Forests and the Orangutan Information Centre are planting 27,000 trees across 50 acres to restore habitat for endangered Sumatran orangutans.

 

Project: The China Mangrove Protection Project

Location: Fujian and Guangdong Provinces, China

Problem: Global Warming

 

Mangrove forests represent less than one percent of the world’s forests, but it’s estimated that they have the capability to store 20 billion metric tons of CO2. Fruits of the conservation labor on Dayu Island, Xiamen City, Fujian Province Photo: China Mangrove Protection Project

Within 50 years, China lost 70 percent of its mangrove forest. With more than 40 percent of this rare ecosystem residing in Asia, this figure is alarming. Worldwide, the loss over the last 50 years is estimated at 50 percent. The China Mangrove Conservation Network is dedicated to mangrove restoration, education and research, hoping to build an involved network of mangrove stewards from local communities, schools, nonprofits and more. Approximately 800 volunteers are helping to plant these mangroves. In addition, the 160 outreach events will help spread the message of the importance of mangroves to a larger audience. Much of the mangrove loss over the years is attributed to industrial farming practices and seaside development.

Mangrove forests represent less than one percent of the world’s forests, but it’s estimated that they have the capability to store 20 billion metric tons of CO2. Yearly, worldwide carbon emissions are estimated to be eight billion metric tons. Beyond carbon storage, mangroves provide unique ecosystem services. Growing along coastlines within 30 degrees of the equator, mangroves’ unique stilt-like root system allows the trees to grow in the sea and also provides shelter to fish, oysters, crabs and other wildlife, while birds, monkeys, bats, bees and more make their home in the branches. The root system also protects the shoreline from sediment buildup and erosion, and the trees themselves act as buffers against natural disasters, protecting the coastline from intense waves.

Continuing a partnership with the China Mangrove Conservation Network, Alcoa Foundation and American Forests are planting 20,000 mangrove trees across 25 acres of China’s Fujian and Guangdong Provinces to help restore areas of this vital ecosystem.

 

Project: Araripe Manakin Habitat ReLeaf Project

Location: Ceará, Brazil

 

Araripe Manakin on the Chapada do Araripe Plateau in Ceará, Brazil. Photo: Elis Simpson

American Forests and the American Bird Conservancy are reforesting approximately 10 acres of the Chapada do Araripe Plateau in Brazil with 5,000 saplings from more than 15 native tree species to restore habitat for the rare and critically endangered Araripe manakin. The Chapada do Araripe plateau, located in the state of Ceará in northeastern Brazil, harbors a small area of unique humid forest habitat—a striking contrast to the desert that otherwise dominates the landscape of northeastern Brazil. These forests are able to thrive here thanks to the plateau’s ability to capture rainwater, which in turn permeates the sedimentary rock to emerge as springs and streams from the slopes of the formation.

The presence of water here has also led to increased human development and, in turn, the loss of an estimated 77 percent of the forest. The clearest threat to the species is habitat destruction as a result of encroachment from a growing city, selective logging, clearings and real estate development. The forest area is privately owned, and as it increases in value, areas previously not worth developing are being cleared, opened, or manicured. This project is restoring humid habitat forest for the Araripe manakin, focused on the planting of species that the bird is known to feed on and use for breeding. The project is also raising awareness of the Araripe manakin through educational efforts and engagement with local landowners.

The Araripe manakin—discovered as recently as 1998—is one of the most threatened bird species in the world and is endemic to the steep slopes of the Chapada do Araripe plateau, where it occurs on just 6,918 acres along a narrow 68-km escarpment. With an estimated remaining population of just 177 reproductive pairs, the Araripe manakin is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN.

Back East

Project: Greenbrier River Riparian ReLeaf Project

Location: Monongahela National Forest, WV

Problem: Wild Trout Habitat

 

The elusive Northern pike swimming free. Photo: Travis S./Flickr

American Forests and Trout Unlimited are reforesting 15 acres of Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia with 3,011 red spruce and other trees to improve the health of a riparian ecosystem. The long history of logging and farming in this area of West Virginia has had a severe impact on the headwaters of the Greenbrier River. Among these impacts is the elevation of water temperature that, for several months each summer, now exceeds 64 degrees, approaching the lethal limit for trout. In an effort to restore the ecological functions of these streams, this project is reforesting impaired riparian zones to cool stream temperatures and provide much- needed cover for sensitive aquatic species like brook trout and hellbender salamanders.

Riparian areas are critical habitat for both terrestrial and aquatic species. Intact riparian corridors connect core habitat units, provide migratory pathways for reptiles and amphibians, and increase niche availability in water and on land. The recruitment of large woody materials from the riparian forest into the stream will improve in-stream habitat for fish, aquatic mammals and invertebrates.

Project: Loyalsock State Forest ReLeaf Project

Location: Loyalsock State Forest, Sullivan County, PA

Problem: Clearcutting

 

The Loyalsock State Forest project is restoring land damaged by previous mistakes in land management. In one area, an improvement cut in the 1970s was not fenced off and over-browsing prevented proper tree regeneration. In a second area, a salvage cut was performed in the 1990s on sugar maples that had been killed by a forest tent caterpillar outbreak. Unfortunately, the site regenerated into mainly birch, and the sugar maple did not regenerate. As a result, the site has not regained its previous productivity either as a source of timber or as a home to wildlife. This project is planting diverse species, including sugar maple, and fencing off the area during regeneration to prevent over-browsing.

Loyalsock State Forest serves numerous important bird species, including some that play an important role in pest control, such as the Blackburnian warbler. These birds are known to help control outbreaks of spruce budworm, a native conifer pest, the scope of whose damage is controlled by natural predators like the warbler. Loyalsock State Forest is also home to the Swainson’s thrush—a bird that, unlike many, continues to sing while on migration—and the yellow-bellied flycatcher, another important pest-control species. American Forests and the Hardwood Forestry Fund are reforesting 50 acres of Loyalsock State Forest with 20,000 trees to restore areas that were clear-cut.

Project: Missisquoi River Riparian ReLeaf Project

Location: Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, VT

Problem: Threatened Mussel Ecosystem

 

A glimpse of the 6,729 acres of the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, VT, a wetland of international importance. Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Due to past tree removal, annual floods have been causing erosion and downstream sedimentation in the Missisquoi River. This project is planting trees along a stretch of riverbank where flooding in 2011 seriously exacerbated erosion. Native trees are being planted in relative compositions to reconstruct the natural shrub and flood- plain forest plant communities, which were altered for grassland habitat. American Forests and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are reforesting 1.5 acres of the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge in Vermont with 500 red maple, green ash and sugar maple to improve the health of a riparian ecosystem.

By stabilizing the riverbank and reducing the annual sedimentation, these trees will help improve overall water quality, bettering conditions for aquatic life. Life on land will benefit from the restoration work as well, particularly for migratory land birds utilizing the Missisquoi River corridor during spring and fall migration, including warbling vireo, Baltimore oriole and others. As the trees grow, shrubland species like common yellowthroat, yellow warbler and swamp sparrow will benefit from young forest habitat.

The Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge is part of lands owned by the State of Vermont that have been designated a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. In addition to the many fish and migrating birds whose habitat will be improved through this project, the area is also home to five species of mussels listed as threatened and endangered in the state: the giant floater, pink heelsplitter, fragile papershell, fluted-shell and pocketbook.

A reason for international conservation outside Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, China. Photo: Xianyi Shen

Eddie Bauer kicked off its 20th-anniversary celebration of partnership with American Forests with an Earth Week campaign starting April 17, and invites all customers to join the cause. Customers can donate to American Forests directly through Eddie Bauer’s philantrhopic microsite, or “Add a Dollar, Plant a Tree” during checkout both online and in-store. To close out Earth Week, ending on April 22, Eddie Bauer will plant a tree for every transaction made on April 21 and April 22.

Author: - Friday, April 17th, 2015
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