How community development projects are helping in Laojunshan National Park
Laojunshan National Park is home to many small-scale farmers who earn meager livings from selling surplus crops, cutting fuel wood and hunting wild animals.
The park is also home to about 300 of the world's 2,000 remaining Yunnan golden monkeys.
A local commercial logging ban sought to end deforestation, but it didn't address the poverty that has long plagued Laojunshan. As a result, illegal logging has continued within the park.
Poaching also remains a problem, as the price of wildlife products has increased dramatically over the last ten years.
The Conservancy is working with Laojunshan residents to find new livelihood opportunities that yield sustainable crops and result in forest and habitat protection and income for villages.
These projects include establishing collective community funds that offer small loans to help members develop and pursue sustainable livelihood activities, such as...
...Honeybee keeping, or...
...Even harvesting caterpillar fungus (yes, caterpillar fungus) for medicinal purposes.
Loans are offered to community members in exchange for abiding by rules established by the village that protect local resources.
The Conservancy is also working with Laojunshan to identify sustainable business opportunities and provide training in topics like sustainable farming and ecotourism.
Our hope is that these efforts will help reduce rural poverty, reestablish thriving monkey populations and protect the forests that sustain China’s people and wildlife.