Dilmah Conservation launched the Dilmah Bioregional Initiative (DBI) in partnership with IUCN, and WCPA at the Business and Economy Pavilion of IUCN’s World Conservation Congress on 09th September 2012.
The initiative aims to support Dilmah in adopting a landscape approach to the management of those estates from which the company largely sources their tea. The DBI is centred on the emerging field of connectivity conservation and seeks to link the tea estates within the wider context of natural and productive lands to adopt a more integrated approach.
Tea estates, being semi-natural plantations, play a major role in the conservation of biodiversity. In many countries some 20% of the land cover within tea estates is under natural vegetation or plantation forestry. Carbon capture, crops pollination, pest control, biodiversity and soil and water conservation are just some of the services provided by natural ecosystems on estates.
Mr Peter Shadie of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas speaking at the launch explained that the Dilmah Bioregional Initiative falls within a broad biodiversity conservation framework which is evolving towards stronger landscape scale approaches in recognition that improved connectivity is essential to conserve biodiversity and natural systems. The initiative accords closely with international calls for better landscape integration providing the added advantage of mobilising private sector energy behind such approaches. The DBI will be planned and implemented through a multiyear and modular approach and has the potential to become an umbrella programme demonstrating that connectivity works and can deliver multiple benefits to multiple stakeholders.
The Dilmah Tea Company plays a leading role as a socially and environmentally responsible company using its global reach to influence private sector behaviour elsewhere around the world. The session spoke directly to the Congress Theme of Nature + and marked the value of integrating private sector land holdings into national biodiversity strategies to be used as a model to be replicated elsewhere.