Western Ghats

Fostering eco-friendly plantations

Linking sustainable agriculture and conservation in plantation landscapes

How can one extend conservation into landscapes such as commercial plantations outside protected areas? Conservationists around the world are trying to connect productive agriculture and plantations with markets for products certified as coming from farms that follow sustainable and ecologically-friendly practices.

For better land-use practices in plantations

Protected areas are cornerstones of conservation, but are  increasingly isolated in landscapes as fragments surrounded by agriculture and other developments. These surrounding landscapes have significant value for conservation, particularly if favourable land-use practices are adopted. Still, fostering such practices in land-uses such as commercial tea and coffee plantations may need the provision of incentives for planters and plantation companies.

To promote better land-use in plantations, NCF joined hands with the Rainforest Alliance and the Sustainable Agriculture Network, leading international non-profits working for sustainability. Plantations that adopted sustainable agricultural practices were linked to markets for certified produce carrying Rainforest Alliance's trademark frog seal. The SAN Sustainable Agriculture Standard, a comprehensive set of standards and criteria that includes natural ecosystems and wildlife conservation, formed the basis for the certification process. NCF worked to include relevant criteria in the SAN Standard, create a dedicated website and visual guide to help planters, and develop detailed local guidelines to assist tea and coffee growers in improving social, environmental, and agronomic practices in plantations in the region.