Catalyzing large-scale restoration globally by revolutionizing impact monitoring, developing new financial mechanisms and supporting local leaders.
NATURAL STATE TECHNOLOGY AND RESEARCH CENTRE
The NATURAL STATE Research Centre is located at the base of Mt. Kenya within close proximity of open savannah, shrubland, dense forest and wetlands with a great diversity of species ranging from elephants to warthogs to dung beetles. There is also a great diversity of land management approaches ranging from pastoral community conservancies, to smallholder agriculture to community forest reserves to private protected areas. In addition there are a large number of organizations testing innovative conservation and restoration interventions. It is the perfect restoration laboratory.
Mt Kenya Landscape Restoration Project
NATURAL STATE is working with the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Borana Conservancy and the Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve, part of the Mt. Kenya World Heritage Site, to develop a restoration and rewilding project that will capture and store carbon through assisted natural regeneration, tree planting and grazing management. The project will provide habitat for endangered species, improve local livelihoods and generate revenue for local communities and the protected areas. In the process of implementing this project, the latest impact monitoring technology is being tested and developed to produce a state-of-the-art restoration impact monitoring dashboard. This will be used by donors, investors and auditors to assess the carbon, biodiversity and development gains of restoration and conservation projects. The technology is being developed at the NATURAL STATE Research and Technology Centre at the base of Mt. Kenya.
Rewilding the Orange River-Karoo Landscape
NATURAL STATE is working with the Orange River-Karoo Conservation Area (ORKCA), local farmers and communities to connect and restore an area the size of Yellowstone. The objective is to ecologically restore the fragile semi-arid ecosystem, quadruple the number of native grazers and predators, restore wildlife migration patterns, secure 15M tCO2e and triple employment in the region through eco-tourism. The region is both culturally and ecologically important being the home of the Nama people and the only point where the succulent Karoo, Nama Karoo and Desert biomes all meet. Only 1% of the Nama Karoo is formally protected and the succulent Karoo is listed among the world’s top 25 biodiversity hotspots. This has the potential to be one of the largest restoration and rewilding projects in the world.
The Restoration Accelerator
NATURAL STATE in collaboration with the Wildlife Research Training Institute of Kenya and educational specialists WildTeam are creating the first nature restoration training hub in East Africa. Together, we are developing state-of-the-art training courses as well as a restoration start-up incubator, to help African leaders build and run large-scale nature restoration projects, placing a particular focus on empowering women. Phase I of the training program will result in four training modules, including the restoration start-up incubator and a minimum of 50 African leaders trained over the first two years. In Phase II, we will scale the approach and course offerings to training hubs across Africa, Asia and Latin America, resulting in thousands of qualified leaders to manage large-scale carbon and restoration projects across the tropics and subtropics.
NATURAL STATE RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 CRISIS
The COVID-19 crisis has taught us that many of the world’s protected areas are far too dependent on tourism as a source of revenue.
With the onset of COVID, tourism ground to a halt and many protected areas could not afford to pay their Wildlife Rangers.
Although our mandate is to focus on diversifying sustainable revenue sources, we felt we had to respond to the immediate crisis and help raise funds to keep rangers on the ground to both protect wildlife and support their communities.