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Meet the team behind the Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project

In this project update, we shine a spotlight on the passionate team driving the Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project in western Uganda. This vital initiative—featured on Planet Earth III—aims to protect the habitat of the Bulindi chimpanzees and support local communities through sustainable practices. Let's meet some of the dedicated individuals working to make this project a success.

Meet the team behind the Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project_Close-up of Bulindi Chimpanzee in its natural habitat_visual 1Close-up of Bulindi Chimpanzee in its natural habitat. Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project, DGB.

Click here to watch our project video

Dr Matt McLennan: Project Director and Manager

Dr Matt McLennan, the Project Director and Manager, is a distinguished primatologist and conservation advocate, who leads DGB Group’s local NGO partner on this project, the Bulindi Chimpanzee & Community Project (BCCP), which he co-founded in 2015. His efforts focus on protecting the highly threatened eastern chimpanzees in Uganda's Budongo–Bugoma corridor. 

Meet the team behind the Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project_Dr Matt McLennan during a research in a forest_visual 2Dr Matt McLennan during research in a forest. Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project, DGB.

Dr McLennan is dedicated to conservation and community involvement, underscoring his vital role in preserving both biodiversity and local livelihoods. Dr McLennan plays a pivotal role in implementing large-scale carbon and biodiversity projects in Uganda, contributing to DGB's mission to restore forests and the vital habitats of the Bulindi chimpanzees.

Read more: Nurturing harmony in Uganda—A Planet Earth III tale of the Bulindi Chimpanzee Project

Edward: Assistant Project Manager and Tree Extension and Plating Officer

Edward is an integral part of our team, serving as the Assistant Project Manager and Tree Extension and Planting Officer. Edward's main responsibilities include reporting daily activities to the Project Director and Manager, Dr Matt McLennan, recruiting and training farmers, determining and fulfilling their seedling requirements, and ensuring high-quality seedling production through monitoring and supervision of nursery activities. He also supervises tree planting programmes and ensures all necessary documentation is properly delivered to the farmers. Edward is passionate about the project because it aligns perfectly with his educational background in conservation. He is particularly proud of how the project restores degraded environments, significantly improving the local ecosystem.

Meet the team behind the Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project_Portrait of Edward_visual 3Portrait of Edward. Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project, DGB.

What sets this project apart, according to Edward, is its unique model of integrating tree planting with crop production, allowing farmers to earn more money compared to other carbon projects in the area. He has observed numerous benefits from the project, including increased tree cover, reduced atmospheric carbon, enhanced biodiversity, improved rainfall patterns, and better overall wellbeing for the community. Looking to the future, Edward anticipates greater recognition for the project, increased income for farmers, and a healthier environment with more frequent rains. A significant milestone for the project was its successful audit and certification by an international auditor and a leading car manufacturer.

Read more: What makes DGB’s reforestation projects unique?

Jonus: Tree Extension and Planting Officer

Jonus, our Tree Extension and Planting Officer, plays a crucial role in supervising nursery beds to raise high-quality seedlings, registering farmers, and training them in planting activities. He acts as a vital link between the organisation and the farmers. Jonus finds the project incredibly inspiring due to its focus on environmental and biodiversity conservation. He believes the project's design, goals, and objectives make it unique.

Meet the team behind the Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project_Jonus with local people on a cocoa plantation_visual 4Jonus with local people on a cocoa plantation. Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project, DGB.

Jonus has seen tangible benefits from the project, such as increased tree cover, the conservation of private forests, which enhances chimpanzee habitats, and personal benefits, including a salary that has improved his health and helped him achieve his goals. He expects the project to have a long-term impact due to its funding contract with DGB Group. A significant milestone for the project has been its validation and certification, with over 150 hectares planted.

Read more: Marking a new chapter in DGB’s Uganda environmental restoration project

Johnmary: Senior Chimpanzee Monitor/Videographer

As the Senior Chimpanzee Monitor and Videographer, Johnmary is responsible for collecting long-term data on chimpanzee health, behaviour, and interactions. He documents chimpanzee behaviours through photography and videography and assists students and film teams with data collection. Johnmary also monitors forests to prevent cutting and degradation, educates the community about chimpanzee behaviour and environmental conservation, and mobilises community activities such as research work and borehole repairs.

Meet the team behind the Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project_Johnmary during a chimpanzee research in a forest_visual 5Johnmary during chimpanzee research in a forest. Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project, DGB.

Johnmary has observed numerous benefits from the project, including the provision of school fees, free tree seedlings, employment opportunities, energy-saving stoves, and boreholes. He believes the project is unique because it provides accessible services, such as free tree seedlings and low-interest loans, and has significantly reduced conflicts between people and chimpanzees.

Read more: The rich tapestry of trees in DGB’s reforestation projects: empowering local communities

Brian: Tree Extension and Planting Officer

Brian, another Tree Extension and Planting Officer, focuses on recruiting farmers, training them in agronomic practices, and providing seedlings at the onset of the rainy season. Brian appreciates the project's emphasis on restoring destroyed nature, which is crucial for wildlife's survival. He believes the project's model and design make it stand out.

Meet the team behind the Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project_Brian working in a tree nursery_visual 6Brian working in a tree nursery. Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project, DGB.

Brian has witnessed the project's potential to create a carbon-free environment in the future as more trees are planted to sequester carbon. He has been involved in community sensitisation efforts and the planting of approximately 150–200 hectares during the pilot phase.

About the project

The Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project is an afforestation and reforestation initiative in western Uganda. It aims to protect the remaining habitat of the Bulindi chimpanzees, restore nature, and support local village households. The project addresses urgent conservation needs in the Hoima and Masindi districts, where over 300 wild chimpanzees live in shrinking forest fragments on agricultural land. Led by the Bulindi Chimpanzee & Community Project (BCCP) and Dr Matt McLennan, the initiative collaborates with local households to find sustainable solutions that benefit both chimpanzees and people.

The project's economic benefits for local communities include providing training, supporting education through a school sponsorship scheme, and helping with small household projects, including house construction and coffee cash-cropping. Additionally, the project constructs village boreholes, giving villagers access to clean water, and provides households with energy-efficient stoves and seedlings for woodlots, which help reduce pressure on natural forests. Environmentally, the project positively impacts the ecosystem by replenishing the forest with natural foods for chimpanzees, reducing human-wildlife conflict, and increasing natural habitats for local wildlife.

Meet the team behind the Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project_Female chimpanzee with her baby sitting on a tree_visual 7Female chimpanzee with her baby sitting on a tree. Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project, DGB.

The project began with a feasibility study completed in Q2 2022, followed by the first planting season which started in 2023. With a lifetime of 41 years, the project aims to reforest the area over six years by planting 4.5 million trees.

Read more: How the reforestation project in Uganda benefits the Bulindi chimpanzees

We invite you to support the Bulindi Chimpanzee Habitat Restoration Project. Your investment will help us continue our vital work in conservation, community support, and environmental restoration. Your investment, whether through green bonds or carbon units, also provides you with benefits such as attractive returns or an effective way to address your carbon footprint. Together, we can create a sustainable future for the chimpanzees and the local communities of western Uganda.

Discover how you can get involved

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