In Brazil, where there are more than 200 million hectares of pasture that are mostly degraded, farmers and ranchers have started learning from the experiences of ELTI team members and its alumni from Colombia and Panama to implement their own silvopastoral systems. Young leaders, who are the third generation of small landholders in rural settlements, have started implementing projects to diversify their family’s source of income. Also, farmers from a watershed that supplies water to more than 7 million people have started receiving training and support from ELTI to improve the quality of their milk products and the sustainability of their farms using silvopastoral systems, said Desirée Lopes
, ELTI’s associate director.
And in Indonesia, ELTI is working with the private sector and local communities to restore the habitats of important primate species, such as the proboscis monkey and the Bornean gibbon. ELTI also provides training to rehabilitate riparian zones within oil palm plantations, coal mine sites, and mangroves.
These kinds of initiatives, Lopes said, are only possible because ELTI has had a long-standing support from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. “These are programs that take time to develop,” she said. “Arcadia had the vision to invest in long-term capacity development, so we were able to build relationships with key stakeholders, find out from people what was most needed in their contexts and stay in these places for long enough so we can actually make an impact.”
As ELTI’s programming continues to expand so does the demand for even more. According to Garen, natural resource managers and farmers across the tropical world reach out to ELTI asking if there might be opportunities to adapt programming for their home countries. And so they are working to identify opportunities to create innovative programming, in the field and online, to reach even more people.
View some of the exciting projects developed by ELTI alumni across the world
Members of ELTI’s network of alumni — which now exceeds 7,400 — are looking for support to share their experiences with others. Across the world, they want to turn that knowledge into on-the-ground results, such as increasing tree cover, mitigating the effects of natural calamities, continuing cultural heritage, and establishing community associations and other bottom-up actions that support biodiversity and livelihoods.
“That’s our goal, to support our alumni with project incubation, open-access information, networks and leadership development so they can apply and share their knowledge,” Lopes said. “It’s their time to shine and become global restoration leaders. And that’s where ELTI is going next.”
ELTI would like to gratefully acknowledge the long-standing support of Arcadia—a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.