Papua New Guinea

Places We Protect: Adelbert Mountains

In the lush rainforests of the Adelbert Mountain range on the north-central edge of Papua New Guinea, The Nature Conservancy is working directly with local communities to preserve the resources they need to survive — and you can help.   

For the Forests

The tropical rainforests that blanket the Adelberts are crucial to the survival of the region’s people and wildlife. Maintaining their health and ability to absorb carbon from the atmosphere is also crucial to the planet as a whole as we redouble our efforts to fight climate change.  

Recognizing the needs of the people living in these forests and their integral role in local conservation, the Conservancy has supported nine communities in the Adelbert region to create conservation agreements that enforce their traditional land ownership rights under an environmental law we helped the provincial government pass. 

Currently, we’re assisting with community-based land use planning covering over 50,000 hectares. In recent years, we’ve seen a marked improvement in forest health. That’s resulted in increased biodiversity: both the Victorian crowned pigeon and cassowary have returned to the Adelberts.  

Putting Communities First

Papua New Guinea’s constitution recognizes the land rights of traditional forest users, and the conservation agreements we have supported at the local level provide a legal framework for communities to protect and manage their land. Laws alone, however, don’t create the tangible benefits needed to drive sustainable forest management. 

The Conservancy’s work in the Adelberts extends beyond the forests and into local villages, where we’re pursuing new programs to improve standards of living. The Conservancy helped secure a grant from the European Union to bring rainwater collection tanks to four villages in the project region. Access to freshwater was identified as a pressing need for these villages, and the rainwater collection tanks will ensure access to water through the dry season. 

In 2010, after negotiating a lengthy certification process with help from the Conservancy, the Adelbert Cooperative became the first Fair Trade cocoa-producing cooperative in the country. Now local producers get a guaranteed minimum price for their cocoa and are earning additional income in return for conserving their land.  

A Foundation for a Sustainable Future

The Conservancy has also provided conservation training for local teachers. We’ve worked with the Bogia District Education Office to train 20 elementary and primary school teachers. Together, we’re cultivating future generations of conservationists that will work to preserve their native natural resources.  

Through this work, we’re developing the tools and processes that form the building blocks for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)+ demonstration projects. Papua New Guinea’s National Forestry Board has recognized this contribution by listing an Adelberts project site as one of five government-approved REDD+ pilot sites in the country.  

Help preserve special places like the Adelbert Mountains in Papua New Guinea.