2014 FUNDRAISING APPEAL FOR THE
AFRICAN BLACKWOOD CONSERVATION PROJECT
With the death of our founding partner, Sebastian Chuwa, the ABCP has been left standing at a crossroads. Is this an appropriate time to acknowledge we have done what we could for mpingo conservation or should the project continue on the path charted by Sebastian? As Sebastian’s family has made a commitment to continue his work, we shall embrace their efforts and proceed with the project in his memory. With an infrastructure and project process in place that has taken almost 20 years of hard work to build, the ABCP has achieved much, with millions of trees of various species, as well as mpingo, now planted, and a nursery capable of producing the seedlings needed to continue planting. As profiled in this newsletter, Elizabeth and Dismas bring their own strengths to the project, and now have a roadmap in place to guide them in their future work
We appreciate all the support we have received over the years and appeal for your continued support. All donations collected in the US are used in direct support of the project in Africa. The US team works on a purely voluntary level and in addition underwrites all costs in this country to support our fundraising and publicity efforts, and the ABCP website. You may contribute by mailing a check using the donation form or you may find it convenient to make an online donation from the ABCP website using the PayPal system, linked here.
A number of people have been loyal supporters of the ABCP over the years, few more so than Christa Lyons. While Elizabeth and Sebastian were visiting the United States in 2008 to attend the Working Forum on Nature Education held at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska, Christa and her husband, John, hosted them afterwards at their home. Here Elizabeth, Christa and Sebastian visit the Wilson Parrot Foundation, dedicated to the rehabilitation of abused parrots.
During the 1800's the material of choice for woodwind instruments was cocuswood from the West Indies. Lacking any conservation measures to insure its future, that wood was so over harvested it became commercially extinct and only now is making a small comeback. Commercial users of cocuswood switched to mpingo because it had many similar fine qualities and subsequently it began to be heavily harvested in eastern Africa as a substitute.
The ABCP is the only group which presently has a major focus on replanting programs for African blackwood. Other conservation groups with an interest in mpingo do not include replanting efforts as part of their program. In our opinion, this is vital if we want to see mpingo survive as a commercial species and not meet the same fate as cocuswood. Economic pressures on a growing African population, manifested in such ways as the poaching of elephant ivory and thoughtless exploitation of other natural resources, guarantee continuing demand for mpingo. Because it is a valuable source of foreign exchange, both as a raw material and as finished carvings, with added important local economic value as charcoal, mpingo will continue to be a threatened resource.
With growing concern and awareness about climate change, the planting of a tree is a positive step that any individual can take to have a positive personal impact. Trees serve as carbon storehouses, sequestering carbon dioxide, one of the primary greenhouse gases responsible for rising global temperatures. Because of the yearly cycle of growth and subsequent increase in size, trees continue to store carbon in increasing amounts as they grow, thereby offsetting global warming.