Wildlife conservation and community volunteer projects and internships worldwide

Volunteer planting saplings in Iceland

Environment & Wildlife, Travel & Culture

Top 8 volunteering abroad projects mitigating climate change around the world

April 6th 2022

Tagged: climate change, Conservation, Ethical Volunteering, reforestation

In the spirit of working together to reduce the severity of global warming, we bring you our TOP 8 conservation volunteering abroad projects that YOU can join to help combat climate change. Spread over five different continents and covering various important themes, we have an option that suits everyone.  Let’s be part of the movement of young environmental figures like Greta Thunberg and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  The time for positive action is now!

1. Peruvian Amazon Ranger – Conservation and Monitoring, Peru

Volunteering abroad Navigating the trailsAmazon Conservation | Volunteer Peru | Working AbroadSince this project’s inception in 2014, when it began to protect 4,460 hectares of virgin rainforest in the Las Piedras watershed of Peru, the ranger programme now conserves and monitors almost 30,000 hectares of vulnerable Amazonian rainforest.  A place that is home to a spectacular variety of wildlife that relies heavily on the forest to stay intact for their survival. Volunteers contribute actively to wildlife research that is creating the basis for a future wildlife corridor.

Volunteers take part in forest patrols alongside local rangers who manage SMART software to record wildlife and any human activity. They also take part in community projects.  The NGO’s leading this work are working together to create an important buffer to the upper watershed and the Alto Purus National Park, one of the last places on Earth where Indigenous Communities Living In Voluntary Isolation still live a semi-nomadic life.  The work of these NGO’s has kept the protected areas deforestation-free despite continuous threats from illegal hunters and loggers.

2. Reforestation Project in Iceland

Volunteering abroad doing reforestation in Iceland fighting climate changeVolunteer Iceland | Tree Planting Iceland | Working AbroadIceland used to be a green, forested island at the time of the Viking settlement. Since then it is estimated that the island has lost over 90% of its forest cover due to unsustainable land-use. Now large areas of the island are suffering from heavy soil erosion and desertification. By volunteering abroad in Iceland, you can help take action to right this wrong, one small plant at a time. These actions do not only benefit Iceland, the effects are global by virtue of growing forests for carbon sequestration.

Volunteers work alongside the Icelandic Forestry Association in an area around Úlfljótsvatn lake in the southwest of Iceland. Parts of the area have been heavily eroded or degraded and is in urgent need of attention. Volunteers assist with the reforesting in the area, by planting seedlings and fertilising young trees.

3. Environmental Conservation projects around New Zealand

Conservation Volunteering abroad in AustraliaAustralia New Zealand | Conservation Volunteer | Working AbroadVolunteers have the opportunity to help restore ancient woodlands by planting trees in various nature reserves and national parks all throughout New Zealand.  In addition, volunteers also take part in weed removal, wildlife monitoring, seed collection, heritage restoration and conservation fencing. All of these activities are important contributors to addressing the impacts of climate change on the local environment.  Locations across New Zealand are available from Auckland in the North Island to Punakaiki in the South Island.

4. Cloud Forest Project in Ecuador

Volunteering abroad walking at nature reserve in EcuadorCloud Forest Ecuador | Conservation Volunteering | Working AbroadAt the Cloud Forest reserve project in Ecuador, volunteers take part in sustainable forestry programmes to restore degraded areas and mitigate climate change. The station is working to restore several areas through natural regeneration, and reforestation, with tree species important to the natural environment.

Volunteering abroad in Ecuador, you will assist in collecting and planting seeds, maintaining the nursery, transplanting seedlings, tree care, opening reforestation lines and conducting forestry inventories of planted trees to evaluate their growth and survival. Due to the worldwide demand for hardwood, it is important to plant trees for sustainable use, instead of cutting old-growth trees that belong to the natural forests. In addition to trying to resolve poverty, forestry also contributes to the fight against global warming. As volunteers gradually research the best methods for sustainable development, the reserve will also share this knowledge of agroforestry with local communities to encourage and enable them to adopt a similar approach.

5.  Coastal Conservation Programme (Sea Turtle Conservation Project), Greece

Sea grass in KefaloniaVolunteer in Greece | Working AbroadThrough the sub-programme of our Sea Turtle Conservation Project in Greece, volunteers focus on protecting Greek coastal ecosystems, including seagrass landscapes. Our research encompasses the study of the protected Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows, categorised as vulnerable on the Red List, and associated sand dune systems. In addition to these ecosystems being important for the nesting and foraging of endangered sea turtles, they are important biomarkers for climate change. Seagrass meadows can be larger carbon sinks than terrestrial forests and so their protection is crucial in the fight against climate change. They form an ecosystem which provides habitat and nursery grounds for many marine animals and organisms.

As a marine and coastal conservation volunteer in Greece, volunteers take part in snorkel surveys of the seagrass meadows, dune system surveys, drone surveys, the creation of topographical and three-dimensional maps, and microplastic research.

6. Reforestation and Conservation projects in Cusco, Peru

volunteering abroad plantinging tree in CuscoVolunteer Peru | Learn Spanish | Working AbroadIn and around the ancient city of Cusco, volunteers can actively contribute to make the region greener through reforestation efforts. The Reforestation project in Cusco city has volunteers actively plant trees, but can also include collecting seeds. Manual work on the tree nursery and everything in between will also be involved, to make Cusco greener.

Long-term volunteers can also join a much larger scale project in the Andes region of Cusco. This will involve working alongside locals on the Environmental Conservation project. Through reforestation efforts, the project is providing not only the local communities a new sustainable livelihood but is mitigating climate change in the process and gradually reforesting the Andes region.

7. Conservation Project in California

View of canyon in California 2021California Volunteer | USA Conservation work | Working AbroadOver the last 15 years, volunteers have been involved in the revegetation of native plants and have worked with nurseries, biologists, and ecologists across the state of California however long they have joined the projects. Related to climate change mitigation, volunteers work to help to prevent damaging wildfires with fuels mitigation, forest thinning, and fuels reduction projects. Another issue directly related to climate change is invasive plant species and habitat degradation. Volunteers and staff are constantly removing invasive plants, so that native species can thrive and it can make for a healthier ecosystem.

8. Amazon Restoration Programme in Peru

Tree cutting reforestation peruVolunteer in Peru | WorkingAbroad

The Amazon rainforest is the largest and most biologically diverse rainforest ecosystem on the planet. It is a vital resource for life on Earth, helping regulate global climate and recycling vast amounts of fresh water every second of every day. However, we have already lost almost one fifth of all the Amazon rainforest and all that life within, while almost half of what remains is being rapidly degraded, meaning that it is losing its ability to function due to impacts of logging and fragmentation. In order to solve the crisis unfolding in the Amazon rainforest, we need to work to conserve and restore the Amazon in parallel. This programme is run by dedicated experts who know all there is to know about Amazonian plants, how to restore the ecosystem, and best of all, how to nurture back the forest in a way that it also supports people through agroforestry. By growing the right trees and plants, it is possible to restore the Amazon and sustainably harvest non-timber forest products that provide livelihoods for local people.

Do you have any questions about a particular project, how to join or anything in between? If so please don’t hesitate to write to us at info@workingabroad.com

About the Author

WorkingAbroad Projects

Blog articles about our volunteer projects, the wider world and from volunteers in the field are shared here for everyone to get inspired and learn more about wildlife conservation topics, volunteering abroad and much more.

WE'RE TURNING 25 THIS JUNE!     Click here for Big Discounts on our Volunteer Projects