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Rangers combat global warming and climate change in national parks and nature reserves
In the course of this century, GLOBAL WARMING is expected to change the climatic conditions in practically all countries of the world, but climate change* may have different effects in different places.
Farmers in northern countries and regions like Russia, Siberia, Canada, Alaska and Greenland may actually enjoy slightly warmer weather, but for many animals, like the polar bear and the forests that collapse on the melting permafrost, global warming has already started to be devastating.
Climate change will bring more extreme weather and prolonged draughts to savannahs and prairies. In those regions, the animals are accustomed to dry seasons, but when extremely dry seasons start occurring with higher frequencies, fewer young animals survive and their numbers will decrease.
In other regions as well, climate change will cause wildfires to increase and burn hotter. Hurricanes are becoming stronger as a result of global warming, knocking down forests in their pathway. More violent rainfalls resulting from climate change can also do tremendous damage to ecosystems, as they cause erosion and landslides in the hills and sedimentation of rivers and lakes.
As global warming causes seas to warm up, the water becomes too hot for coral reefs and in many areas they will gradually die off. This will be aggravated if the reefs are overfished, thus disturbing the delicate relationships between the species of the reefs.
Supporting park rangers may probably be one of the most important contributions you can make to combat climate change! Why, you ask? Imagine the fate of a forested protected area without park rangers. Within the next 10 - 20 years, that area will most likely be cut down and turned into agricultural fields or worse, into wasteland. The common practice for turning forest into agricultural land, is by burning! Natural forests not only have the highest concentration of fixed carbon possible in nature, they also have a cooling effect on the climate. So, by financing park rangers, you help preventing that the carbon fixed in those beautiful trees, be burned into thousands of millions of tons of carbon dioxide. At the same time you help protecting the cooling blanket of the forests, while also protecting the countless animals and plants that depends on them! By supporting park rangers, you help fight global warming
Support the economies of developing countries
But the Adopt A Ranger programme has many more benefits. Think about it: When national parks and nature reserves of a country become effectively protected, many people can visit those areas and enjoy them. Thus, visitation of protected areas can grow into a major tourism industry, that can create hundreds of thousands of jobs in hotels, transportation, restaurants, etc. By sponsoring a park ranger, you can help create jobs in a developing country.
A study of the ITC and WICE recently showed that visitation in the protected areas of China undergoes tremendous growth. Until about the year 2000, visitation grew about 13% per year. But when the Chinese people were given a few weeks of vacation, in some national parks, visitation started doubling every 2.5 years. And 99% of the visitors are Chinese! Imagine, the importance of tourism for the economies in developing countries. For Costa Rica, Kenya, just to name a few, nature based tourism is the most important source of income of the country. All that tourism depends on the effective work of park rangers, as they work with local communities, assist visitors and protect the animals. By helping out with sponsoring park rangers, you help build the economies of entire developing nations!
Park Rangers and poverty alleviation
A fancy word of international organizations for helping poor people to become a little less poor. We have explained at our page on conservation workers, how park rangers help the often extremely poor local communities get some economic benefits and employment from the nature reserve where they work, by helping develop the production of souvenirs, setting up little enterprises for selling food, drinks and souvenirs, setting up small tourism services, etc. Park rangers are crucial for the poverty alleviation of neighbouring communities and your donation helps those neighbouring communities, while at the same time you contribute to what has been neglected for too long by the conservation community: you put park rangers in the field. Often park rangers are the only government representatives in a village, and they get consulted by the local people on many issues.
Once, Daan Vreugdenhil visited a community in Mexico with the Protected Areas Agency, CONANP and the mayor of the community complained that the government officials never come to visit the village, let alone inquire after their needs. The director than answered, "But we are government officials!". Yes said the mayor, but you are one of us, that does not count. You always help us! When people no longer see government officials as an obstacle in their development, but partners in their struggle to survive, you know that a protected area is well managed. That kind of collaboration is what your donation makes possible!
Rangers need to be hired. The majority of park rangers come from the area where they work and by hiring rangers, Adopt A Ranger creates many direct employment opportunities in areas that otherwise have no or very little employment opportunities. These park rangers spend a good part of their income on local products, thus stimulating the local micro-economies. For local communities, that is a very important benefit
Nature and environmental education
Park rangers play a crucial role in the education of children in neighbouring communities. Imagine, little country schools with just one teacher for several age groups; hardly any teaching materials. Can you imagine the impact when a ranger comes and gives a class, and then takes those children on an excursion? That is one of the few exiting classes those kids get in their entire elementary school period. Thus, your donation makes a difference in the lives of children. And you know what is so important? Through these children we reach the parents. Children make drawings, and take them home. Park rangers organize classes with both children and parents! We have seen a tremendous increase of support from villages once rangers start giving classes at elementary schools.
Helping protected areas administrations
As park ranger programmes need to be established and supervised, we need to set conditions to the protected areas agencies to make sure that the rangers can function properly and that their work really contributes to conservation. To do that, we need to visit the agencies and carry out supervision. These visits help the agencies as we brainstorm with them on how to get the best results from the park rangers in the field. Supervision trips are intensive sessions with field staff to see and hear how they are doing and to improve them. We talk with local communities to hear how they experience the work of the park rangers. We use the opportunities of visiting the agencies and the areas for helping them to function better. So your donations finance technical assistance and generating ideas from the highest level in the organization, down to the local community level. Our supervision missions are not mere inspections, they provide high quality technical assistance. We help governments to assess their staffing needs and to prepare strategies on how to fulfill those needs.
Negotiations to increase government staffing and funding
Adopt A Ranger will use its mission to recipient countries to talk with the ministers of finance. It will give presentations, showing how protected areas contribute to the national economies, particularly tourism. We have carried out studies in several countries that clearly show that protected areas very realistically contribute to the national economies. As international tourism to developing countries increases, the importance of tourism for the national economies move up to the third or second positions of economic activities of the countries, giving employment to tens of thousands of people. In many countries protected areas are among the prime attractions that generate tourism!
* There is a growing concern that the emission of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and other so-called greenhouse gasses are the main cause of climate change. While the number of governments and followers of this concern is growing, a considerable number of citizens have raised well documented doubts about the validity of such effect. Adopt A Ranger respects the opinions of both sides and wants to work with everybody, irrespective of his or her opinion on the effects of CO2 on the climate. Click below to read how Adopt A Ranger hopes to unite the concerns of both supporters and opponents of this issue.