The £1 per hectare figure is an average across all the forest conservation projects and does not include the tree planting projects which are much more intensive and smaller scale. All the projects we support are different and cost different amounts per hectare depending on the approach they are taking and on the nature of the threats to the forest. For example, land rights and protected area projects are less intensive per hectare than tree planting projects – but both are vital.
We have chosen forest conservation projects that are being delivered by well established UK registered charities. In most cases they work in partnership with non profit organisations on the ground, providing technical support, monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
The Charity Commission monitors the activities and accounts of the registered charities that we fund the projects through. We choose projects that are not simplistic in their approach and which are responding to the complex and very real challenges faced by the people living in and around forests by working closely with those communities. There is no doubt that Africa is a challenging environment to work in, in many ways, but it is also the region of greatest need (the deforestation and poverty rates in Africa are amongst the highest in the world). We cannot guarantee 100% success in every project; if it was easy the problems would have been solved long ago; but, by working through a system of trusted partners with good track records who are regulated by the UK Charity Commission and are working with local groups on the ground we can ensure the funds raised are responsibly spent.
By building direct long term relationships between these partners and the people of Wales we increase the accountability within the projects and also avoid the need for the Size of Wales Project to take an overhead cost from the funds raised.
This will depend on the scale of the project and the risks associated with it. Please ask for details of monitoring for the project you are interested in. We need a good balance between the strength and independence of the monitoring and the cost of the monitoring. Projects involving commercial management of forests will be independently monitored under the international Forest Stewardship Council certification scheme. This is the best available scheme for recognising responsible forest management but it is too expensive at present to insist on it for smaller community forestry or nature conservation projects.
These smaller and lower risk projects will be monitored and reported on by the UK registered charities that oversee the implementation. We are also working with the United Bank of Carbon and will make use of their independent monitoring and evaluation system which is implemented by a team from the University of Leeds.
After a long history of deforestation in Wales, we are now increasing our forest cover gradually and our existing forests are generally fairly well protected. There are a number of organisations in Wales which are actively protecting and expanding our native forests, including the Forestry Commission, Coed Cymru, and the Woodland Trust. From both a climate change and poverty reduction perspective the frontline of deforestation is very firmly in the tropics (we finished our deforestation in the last century!) and we want Wales to become a world force in addressing the challenge.
There may be scope to do this in some cases through community exchange visits but we don’t want to encourage large numbers of people to fly as it defeats one of our goals if we reduce carbon emissions from deforestation but cause more carbon emissions by flying people out to visit. We will ensure that regular updates and news from the project areas are shared with the people supporting the projects.
We will make every effort to come to talk to your group/town/company. We are however a very small team so do get in touch and we’ll do what we can!
We started in Africa because that is where Wales has the greatest links but we also now support projects in Latin and South America.
Wales is an area of 2 million hectares. Put another way – that’s 2 million rugby pitches. BBC Radio 4′s numbers programme More or Less uses the size of Wales as a scale of measurement. In this scale a milliwales (1/1000 of a Wales) is Barry, whilst a deciwales (1/10 of a Wales) is Snowdonia National Park and a hectowales (100 Wales’) is Saudi Arabia.
The Welsh Tribe Challenge was an original and innovative idea that brought people together online to start or join groups (called tribes) to help protect trees, people and wildlife in some of the world’s poorest countries.
The Welsh Tribe Challenge is now completed and prizes have been handed out to the winners. We now ask any tribe members to Protect their Patch of Wales to help us even more rainforest!