Biodiversity conservation represents one of the three Permian Global mission priorities.
At the project level, this means protecting habitats; delivering programs that improve opportunities for high conservation value (HCV) species, keystone species, and ecosystem networks; and designing community programs that halt illegal poaching, whilst encouraging local support for biodiversity monitoring and developing conservation opportunities like eco-tourism.
More broadly, with the help of our in-house biologists, ecologists, and conservation experts, along with external academic partners, Permian Global is adding to all areas of tropical biodiversity research.
Intact tropical forests are some of the most complex, species-rich environments on the planet. Many of them are distinct biomes, home to endemic species found nowhere else on Earth.
The protection of these ecosystems is correlated to enhanced carbon storage. Through photosynthesis, tropical forests act as carbon sinks, absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide and thus playing a crucial role in mitigating climate change.
Permian Global is committed to designing projects that apply the best scientific knowledge to creating conservation programs that ensure species and habitats are able to thrive.
Tropical forests contribute significantly to the Earth’s biodiversity, providing habitat and sustenance to a diversity of plant and animal species. They also influence regional and global weather patterns, helping to regulate temperature and precipitation levels. Among the ecological functions that contribute to this are seed dispersal and pollination. Seed dispersal, facilitated by various fauna, ensures that trees spread across a wide area, fostering a continual growth-cycle, which is integral for carbon storage. Seed dispersal is an imperative and intertwined element of conservation; without the agents of seed dispersal, there would be fewer trees, resulting in the sequestration of less carbon. Thus, the more biodiversity within the ecosystem, the more carbon is stored as a result.
Protecting as much threatened tropical forest as possible will be a determining factor in the fight against climate change.
Healthy tropical forests provide many benefits, such as filtering air and water, controlling climate, preventing flooding and soil erosion, and providing food and fuel for local people. These benefits have been shown to be significantly enhanced in tropical forest areas compared to areas where forests have been destroyed or degraded.
When forests are kept intact, the interaction of different species helps maintain healthy ecosystems, making them more robust and resilient to shocks. Ecosystems thrive where there is greater biodiversity, where different species exist together in a balance of competition, predation and symbiosis. Carefully designed conservation can help to maintain this balance, especially in areas that have experienced degradation.
Disruption of these ecosystems can have devastating consequences that extend far beyond the immediate area. For example, problems like ‘monkey malaria’ in Malaysia have been linked to deforestation, showing that destruction can have harmful effects. On the other hand, stopping harmful activities like logging can improve water quality and increase fish populations, which are beneficial to local communities. Eliminating destructive activities and allowing tropical forests to remain standing provides immense benefits, extending beyond the ecosystems and local communities – the enhanced carbon sequestration is of global interest.
Deforestation due to logging, agriculture expansion, and urbanization is disrupting the ecological balance and endangering the species that depend on these habitats. The loss of biodiversity further hampers seed dispersal and other ecological processes, creating a vicious cycle of degradation.
Moreover, local communities that depend on healthy forests for sustenance are also severely affected, which can lead to increased poverty and exacerbates the threats to the forest environment.
It is imperative to prioritize conservation and sustainable management of tropical forests to preserve their intrinsic value so that wildlife and people can continue reaping the environmental benefits they provide. Tropical forest conservation needs to be prioritized as part of the plan to address climate change, as it is the only way for their capacity to absorb and store carbon to be fully realized.
For Permian Global, the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis are part of the same planetary anthropogenic crisis. By addressing one we can help address the other, whilst also supporting the people living in and around a forest area.
Measuring a project’s success on the improvements made to biodiversity involves a deep understanding of not only the animal and plant species in the region, but also the natural biological networks that make up the entire ecosystem. For each Permian Global project, we must develop a highly detailed ecological map of the landscape; understand the specific threats to species or ecological functions; and use this knowledge to design conservation activities that are best suited to improve the overall ecosystem integrity of the project.
Tropical forests are hot spots for biodiversity. Permian Global assures that each project has on-site biodiversity patrols, monitoring surveys and data collection to establish protection of the biome and all high conservation value species within. The local teams are trained in installing and deploying camera traps for monitoring activity within the project area.
Adoption of the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) during COP15 in 2022, marked a turning point in recognition of the critical role of preserving biodiversity in order to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. The landmark agreement supports a comprehensive plan, addressing resources needed for implementation, financial support, safeguarding the rights of indigenous peoples, and setting clear targets to address overexploitation and unsustainable practices. The framework states that “Governments and societies need to determine priorities and[…] internalize the value of nature and recognize the cost of inaction”, with a vision of “living in harmony with nature by 2050”.