bat biodiversity partnership - Protecting and restoring habitats and species, and ensuring sustainable use of natural resources

A key part of Term 2 has been to protect and restore habitats and species and ensure sustainable use of natural resources both within the tobacco growing landscapes where British American Tobacco operates and also in areas which are rich in biodiversity and acutely threatened.

The BROA process will increasingly help to protect and restore habitats where British American Tobacco has tobacco growing operations, but this is a longterm goal. Most of these landscapes have been heavily modified and intensively used for agriculture, and thus have relatively limited remaining biodiversity value. Working in these landscapes is extremely important with regard to the sustainability of agricultural production and local livelihoods, and also for the potential to influence agricultural practice, as the following example indicates.

The Tropical Biology Association, working with British American Tobacco Uganda:

  • Brought over 1,000 hectares of native forest in Uganda under sustainable management by working in partnership with local communities, driving innovation and developing
  • toolkits;
  • Established nurseries to grow trees to meet wood needs to build ‘live’ barns for air-curing Burley tobacco; and
  • Developed a tool to rapidly assess freshwater quality in East African catchments.

Read more about this work here

However, it is also vital to support conservation in areas which are rich in biodiversity and acutely threatened. This has been a significant focus for the Partnership in Term 2 with a range of projects that protect and restore habitats and species across the globe.

Notable examples during 2006-2010 include:

Fauna & Flora International

Funding from the Partnership contributed to the following successes:

  • Cross-border collaboration between botanists in southern China and Vietnam led to the discovery of four critically endangered magnolia species.
  • The protection prospects of the world’s most critically endangered gorilla, the Cross River gorilla, in Western Cameroon were enhanced through upgrading the protection status of a proposed Bechati-Lebialem community wildlife sanctuary and securing the forested corridor linking the area to the Mone-Takamanda complex towards the Nigerian border. Read more about this project here
  • The value of wild endemic species has been sustainably enhanced through averting one of the major threats to fynbos habitats at Flower Valley, South Africa and neighbouring properties by establishing a programme of clearing alien invasive plant species. This project was one of the pioneers to create an international supply chain of local certified wild flowers.
  • The rediscovery and recovery of the critically endangered cao vit gibbon in Vietnam and China. Read more about this project here
Earthwatch Institute
  • Data collected by the Ecological Monitoring Programme in Malawi directly contributed to the management plan for the threatened Mount Mulanje Global Biosphere Reserve and helped to gain donor support for community livelihoods projects.
  • The Belarus Wetlands project carried out the first large-scale research into the raised bogs of Belarus, contributing to a national monitoring system and the development of one Biosphere Reserve and three nature sanctuaries.
  • The first International South East Asian Bat Conference identified four priority research areas and led to new research in Vietnam and the Philippines.

In addition, all three NGO Partners brought their unique strengths to the integrated programme on Maintaining Ecosystem Services in Forests of South East Asia. Earthwatch Institute supported field research and provided opportunities for experiential learning; the Tropical Biology Association developed the application of worldclass training schemes; and Fauna & Flora International developed a collaborative management system for orangutan conservation.