The Alliance for Tompotika Conservation Programs
From Near-extinction to Recovery: Endangered Species Field Programs
AlTo's first project, launched in 2006, has resulted in the recovery of the endangered maleo bird, a remarkable communally-nesting bird whose cultural importance has led it to be dubbed "Sulawesi's Bald Eagle." AlTo was formed when local Tompotikans asked for help to reverse the maleo's decline, and since the unprecedented success of this community-based partnership, AlTo's field-based endangered species protection programs have expanded to also include a sea turtle conservation program.
Tropical Rainforests: Critical for Climate Change, Ecosystme Services and Biodiversity
AlTo's work with local communities in Tompotika has led to the establishment of the region's first permanent tropical rainforest preserve, which AlTo is managing in collaboration with local villagers. Formerly disappearing due to illegal logging, agriculture, and mining, Tompotika's globally-important pristine tropical forests are now protected by teams of local villagers who earn their livelihood through forest restoration, ecotourism, and other sustainable alternative pathways.
Building for the Future: AlTo's Conservation Awareness Program
In a very popular traveling Conservation Awareness Campaign, AlTo's trained local Tompotikan staff visit schools and villages and conduct special programs to educate children and adults on the why's and how's of conserving nature. In addition to this ongoing campaign, in a recent AlTo project 12 Tompotika youth were given an intensive course in how to draw and paint from nature, resulting in a gorgeous 2010 calendar featuring 12 Tompotika endangered species as depicted by these young artists.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
AlTo's strength lies in its ability to bring critical expertise and resources to the pivot points where nature is protected - or not - at the most direct, local level. As a case in point, AlTo's new Tompotika Rainforest Preserve, which originally comprised only 2500 acres, has recently been expanded tenfold to over 25,000 acres. This has been accomplished because AlTo was able to build a coalition of villagers and government officials in support of the conservation purchase of a key core area, and then brought to that coalition additional expertise in Indonesian land-use law, establishing an innovative conservation "concession" area adjacent to the original preserve.
AlTo's new Tompotika Rainforest Preserve, as the region's first protected forest area, represents an unprecedented opportunity for directly protecting tropical rainforests, which are widely recognized as among Earth's most precious - and imperiled - natural features. Achieving spectacular "bang for the buck," funds are needed now to complete the lease on the final 22,000 acres of forest, and to support ongoing sustainability programs for nearby villagers in forest stewardship, restoration, and ecotourism.