On Kickstarter: Beautiful Photographs of Habitat Restoration
In the early 1900s, thousands of acres of Kenyan forest were cleared for the production of monoculture crops of tea and the eucalyptus used to dry it. Now some of that habitat is being restored by the Ecological Restoration Alliance, a group of botanic gardens from the US, UK, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, China, Australia, and Jordan. Their goal is to restore 100 damaged and degraded habitats across 6 continents in 20 years. The places they’re targeting include tropical forests, prairies, wild places within cities, wetlands, and coastal sites — ecosystems that are threatened and no longer able to sustain people’s livelihoods or to support biodiversity.
The Alliance’s approach includes restoring wild areas, protecting restored habitats, and creating socioeconomic benefits for local communities. And it’s an approach that works. In just 12 years, restoration of the upland forest in Kenya has transformed a eucalyptus plantation into a thriving forest with over 150 bird species, a wide range of mammals, and hundreds of rare and endangered tree species. The project has trained and employed local people, provided livelihoods in an area of high unemployment, and is becoming a model for a new East African biodiversity, restoration, and hardwood forestry initiative.
Conservation photographer Barney Wilczak has documented the Alliance’s restoration work at the Brackenhurst Botanic Garden in Kenya. He recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to document the Alliance’s reforestation projects in Mexico and China.
“The funds raised from this Kickstarter project will support shooting my next two restoration stories, documenting forest restoration work undertaken in Mexico and China. These images will then be used to raise awareness of restoration work and generate more support for these activities.”
In addition to exhibiting his photos at the participating botanical garden organizations, Wilczak’s work will be part of a media library for over 600 gardens in 118 countries, all members of Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), which coordinates the Ecological Restoration Alliance. The photos will be available for use by botanic gardens for educational purposes, highlighting how restoration projects can play a role in improving the environment and to gain support for further restoration work.