Forests & forestry
It is estimated that 10 million hectares of forest is lost each year*, out of which 95% happens in the tropics, and an additional 100 million hectares (half the size of the European Union) is degraded**. In addition to releasing huge amounts of GHG, it is also highly contributing to the biodiversity crisis. Even though forests only cover 30% of the land surface, they constitute the habitat of up to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity***. At hummingbirds, we believe it is indeed a necessity to improve the management of forests to produce sustainable wood commodities, to reforest and restore degraded ecosystems but there is no time to lose to protect the diversity of pristine tropical forests that are the results of hundreds of years of evolution.
** European Commission’s World Atlas of Desertification
Agriculture & agroforestry
Facing a rapidly increasing world population and food demand, two axes can be considered: expansion of agricultural land or increase of productivity. While our earth is limited, the need for more space is the principal driver of deforestation and natural ecosystems degradation. On the other hand, agricultural intensification has caused a general impoverishment of soil and considerable carbon loss, contributing to global warming, and causing contrary to the desired objective, a decrease in the agronomic yields. Several studies estimate that more than 50% of soils on a global scale would be degraded. To date 35% of the ice-free land is dedicated to agriculture, and the agricultural sector is responsible for 20% of the world GHG emissions*.
At hummingbirds, we are seeking to develop with the most vulnerable populations efficient, resilient, and sustainable food production systems. We intend to work with local communities to develop multi-purpose systems like agroforestry combining productive systems and forestry on the same plot of land, in turn increasing and diversifying the sources of revenues for the people.
*FAO land use and land cover
& coastal ecosystems
Salt marshes, sea grass, mangroves, swamp forests, tropical and temperate peatlands, permafrost… are characterised by complex hydraulic-sedimentological systems and very high density of organic carbon resulting from long term organic matter accumulation. For example, while peatlands cover only 3% of the ice-free land, they represent 30% of the organic carbon stock on earth*. Their conversion or degradation for agriculture or energy use emit tremendous GHG emissions, including CO2 but also high quantities of methane.
Being found on the coasts, estuaries or inland, those ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to climate change linked phenomena (sea level rise, droughts and floods, salinity variations, temperature rise, erosion, etc…), yet they provide key ecosystems services, like mangroves that constitute natural walls against tidal waves and fish nurseries hosting amazingly rich biodiversity.
*FAO. 2020. Peatlands mapping and monitoring – Recommendations and technical overview
Cookstoves & others
Today, 2.4 billion people across the world do not have access to clean cooking solutions and thus rely on traditional methods for cooking such as three stone open fire fueled by locally available biomass, causing deforestation. Although they are not directly considered as Nature-Based Solutions, improved cookstoves projects are a powerful leverage to directly relieve pressure on forests and shrubs surrounding villages.
Improved Cookstoves increase thermal efficiency allowing households to use up to 60% less biomass-based fuel than the traditional solutions, consequently emitting less CO2. In addition to the benefits on the environment, cookstove projects have high social co-benefits, in particular for women: improved health and daily time gain gathering wood and cooking. Indeed, noxious smokes from traditional, inefficient stoves kill above 3 million people each year.
At hummingbirds, we believe improved cookstoves projects strongly support rural women empowerment while reducing deforestation and fighting desertification.