Natural habitats and ecosystems provide a huge range of environmental goods and services that contribute enormously to human well-being. Protecting these areas is essential in order to achieve sustainable development. Environmental goods and services include climate regulation, nutrient and waste management, flood control, provision of food, freshwater, fuel, medicines, building materials, fertile soils and clean air.
However destructive human activities are seeing biodiversity loss and natural ecosystems degraded at an alarming rate. This is contributing to reduced food security, reduced water availability, reduced income, reduced protection from natural disasters and reduced human health and productivity. The rural poor who rely directly on ecosystem goods and services for their diet, health and livelihoods are disproportionately affected.
The 2005 millennium Ecosystem assessment concluded that the degradation of environment service is a significant barrier to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and that these impediments could grow. This was also found to be the principle driver of poverty and social conflict. By safe guarding biodiversity and natural habitats, Protected Areas have a key role to play in ensuring the continued supply of essential environmental goods and services. In this way they can contribute towards poverty reduction and sustainable development. Despite these, programmes, development strategies and policies often neglect the importance of environmental protection for meeting long term sustainable development goals. Ecological Trends Alliance therefore seek to address these gaps in environmental protection through research based programing in both rural and urban settings, by ensuring programmes focus on:
1. Community initiatives that address human-wildlife problems
2. Livelihood options friendly to the environment
3. Land management, productivity and post-harvest handling
4. Community access to Financing mechanisms
Well managed Protected Areas have a clear role to play in protecting the species and ecosystems that support these livelihoods. They can also bring alternative livelihood opportunities through sustainable conservation work. With evidence from previous studies and in line with government policy of poverty eradication, Operation Wealth Creation, National Agricultural Advisory Services, Youth Livelihood Programme, Biodiversity Trust Fund, Ecological Trends Alliance shall strive to improve food security, environment protection and community access to finances through community participation, shared benefits and support in sustainable productivity.