One of the biggest threat to the survival of threatened species is habitat degradation, particularly due to agricultural expansion, forest conversion into monocultures, and large development projects.
Species conservation efforts often require for local communities to find alternative livelihood options in order to protect or restore the habitat of endangered species. Most of conservation efforts have the potential to affect local livelihoods, since by increasing habitat protection, and indeed protecting a species itself, access to hunting and use of forest resources will reduce. To ensure that people are not impacted negatively by our conservation efforts, we establish initiatives that are community-driven, and that are paralleled by village and household development activities.
Alternatives that we have worked with include sustainable agricultural and farming practices, fishing practices that are not detrimental to the resource base, community-led and based tourism activities, and other avenues that ensure communities have adequate food and income sources to maintain their livelihoods in spite of protection efforts. PRCF provides training, facilitates planning, and supports implementation of sustainable livelihood initiatives, which in all cases are community-led.
In most of the villages we work with, one of our first activities is to help the village community establish a Village Self Help Group, which includes a voluntary savings and loans program usually managed by the village women. To prompt and boost household self-help activities, we provide seed-funds into the groups and often replenish these as needed. We have established Village Self Hep Groups in Indonesia (approx. 50), Cambodia (11), Myanmar (seven), and Vietnam (12).
Sustainable livelihood options we support
- establishing and supporting Community Fishery Groups for sustainable fishing in the Srepok River, Cambodia
- assisting communities in reviving Dayak weaving practices and strengthening village-level institutions
- supporting community villages in Bukit-Baka National Park to build sustainable fish ponds and permaculture
- defining eco-friendly village-level community-based tourism in the landscape of Francois’ Langur habitat
- establishing self-help groups in villages we work with to help villagers with marketing products and community needs