Farming Communities

Farming Communities Madagascar Photo
Local farmers in Madagascar use traditional methods to work fields of organic cotton.
©Julie Larsen Maher

Rural communities around the world depend directly on natural resources for sustenance and income. But exploitation often outstrips the rates of renewal, and the Earth will only continue to provide if given the proper care. Uncontrolled logging, slash-and-burn agriculture, and widespread use of inorganic pesticides and fertilizer chew away at precious landscapes and water bodies.

Where rural communities share their turf with wildlife, WCS trains subsistence farmers, hunters, and former poachers to transfer their efforts to new, more sustainable trades. These include organic farming, beekeeping, gardening, and carpentry. Not only do these livelihoods promote a healthier lifestyle and environment, they are also more lucrative, enabling farmers to take advantage of international market demand for high-quality, organic products.

WCS Projects


In Zambia’s rural Luangwa Valley, a farming co-op known as Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) has helped former poachers and subsistence farmers turn their efforts to new trades that are both more profitable and gentler on the environment.

From the Newsroom

Cashmere's Conscience: Wildlife Friendly Practices in PatagoniaAugust 28, 2012

Patagonian cashmere has gone “green” with a new certification by the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network. The business venture supports the local economy while respecting this magnificent yet fragile landscape.

Fashion Goes Green in PatagoniaMarch 1, 2012

WCS helps a group of Argentine cashmere producers adopt sustainable husbandry practices that improve their livelihoods while also protecting the guanacos, rheas, and Andean cats that share their turf.

Snails Save the DayApril 28, 2010

African giant snails are giving local villagers big options when it comes to food and livelihoods, and gorilla poaching is not one of them.

Clothing with a ConscienceJanuary 7, 2008

“Conservation cotton” from Africa is making its way onto the backs of U2 fans across the world, thanks to a partnership between Hard Rock International, T-shirt company edun LIVE, and WCS.

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