Protecting and restoring biodiversity by empowering rangers and engaging citizens
The Philippines is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, yet it has faced severe landscape degradation through the years, with deforestation as one of the major sources of habitat loss, endangering many of its species. Phillippine forest rangers are at the front lines of illegal deforestation; they face challenges and threats in their daily work, and are also severely understaffed and underequipped. In 2019, the Philippines was ranked the deadliest country for environmental defenders. That’s why local environmental advocate Nella Lomatan has dedicated her life to the empowerment of rangers in various parts of the Philippines, in particular through her environmental travel organization Eco Explorations.
Citizen tree planting
Citizens tree nurturing
In some of the sites where her tours visit, rangers act as guides and educators who help to reforest degraded habitats together with the travellers. Soon, they will also be tasked to manage their own native tree nursery and to propagate endangered, native species which may be sold to other planting sites for additional livelihood. Rangers are also engaged to educate about biodiversity in the habitats they protect and to share science-based data with the general public who join the initiatives.
Eco Explorations hosts Biodiversity Camps in collaboration with the rangers, in different protected & key biodiversity areas in the Philippines, to engage the general public and hopefully convert them into conservationists.
Birdwatching and biodiversity monitoring with Forest Wardens
The organization has also launched conservation financing initiatives to empower rangers and augment their needs, such as the Support-a-Ranger program, which provides food subsidies, allowances, gear, equipment, medical supplies and more, based on a strong belief that to protect habitats and biodiversity is to protect the people that protect them.