Rainforest Partnership’s 360 degree Conservation Model: 6 pillars to target the root causes of deforestation


RP Team

September 4, 2021

Rainforest Partnership’s 360 degree Conservation Model:  6 pillars to target the root causes of deforestation

Over Rainforest Partnership’s 14 years protecting and conserving tropical rainforests. we’ve developed our own unique, complex, holistic, and effective approach to making the greatest impact for forests and communities. 

And, of course, as our name suggests, acting in partnership is absolutely the key to the success of every one of these six pillars. (You can read more about why partnership is such an efficient strategy here!)

Simply put: our model works, and it works well. 

Our track record shows that our comprehensive, integrated model produces the highest impact for the lowest monetary cost.

Every day, we work with local communities and governments, simultaneously working from the bottom-up and the top-down; the many facets of our model attack the root causes of deforestation and forest degradation from all angles, creating a 360° ripple effect that makes for tangible, permanent, self-sustaining change.

The survival of the world’s rainforests is dependent on our actions and choices as a global community. 

Rainforest Partnership protects tropical forest ecosystems by: 

• Working directly alongside communities, organizations, and governments at all levels, and facilitating collaboration across these groups

• Training and supporting local people, communities, leaders, and decision-makers.

• Conducting groundbreaking conservation science through dedicated and expansive field work. 

• Creating and managing protected areas to safeguard endangered species and key ecosystem services.

• Building sustainable alternative income sources alongside community partners

• Inspiring people around the globe to join our movement.

• Centering the knowledge, cultures, perspectives, and voices of our community partners in all of our projects.

When tackling the pressing global issues of deforestation, biodiversity loss, climate change and attacks on indigenous lands, multilateral collaboration is imperative. We know we don’t have all the answers. That’s why we value and pursue both scientific research on biodiversity and forest ecology and the vast ancestral knowledge of local and indigenous partners.

At its core and at every step, our work empowers people whose lives depend on the rainforest. 

Our work is simultaneously highly localized and global in scale. But both our on-the-ground work and our global initiatives are anchored in the same strengths and values: real relationships, collaboration, and a pragmatic approach to impact.

Strong trust-relationships with local communities, governments, and organizations are the bedrock of all the varied conservation work we do — and by pursuing partnership in its truest form, the conservation impact we create together has the staying power to permanently transform local and regional landscapes.

Our parallel work on the global scale recognizes the very pragmatic need to work together. The problems we face as a global community are too big to tackle separately. Change starts with all of us, together.

Community Engagement & Empowerment 

It is crucial that members of the communities we work with participate in our projects and have leadership roles — whether it be managing a community-owned protected area or promoting regenerative agriculture, for example. Members of our partner-communities take ownership of the project because it is theirs; it is designed for, with, and by the community. RP’s role is to contribute our institutional knowledge, resources, connections, and support, joining our expertise with our partners’ in a powerful act of collaboration and equal partnership. 

San Antonio Peru  in the Tropical Andes Biodiversity Hotspot
The people of the San Antonio community in the region of Junín in Peru, key actors for the conservation of their territory and biodiversity Photo Credit: Kevin López

Sustainable Livelihoods 

Protecting forests starts with empowered rainforest communities. We work with these communities, as equal partners, to develop projects that generate income and build economic security in forested regions. Throughout our many projects, we support communities’ efforts to access a wide range of livelihood options, including growing coffee, cacao, artisan handicrafts, beekeeping, traditional medicine, and ecotourism. RP organizes workshops, hosts trainings, connects communities with markets they want to access, and provides technical support.

Sani Warmi making artisan crafts as a sustainable livelihood (Follow @SaniWarmi on instagram!)

Conservation Science 

We use science to remove barriers to effective conservation. Missing data means weak policy and management plans; we fill those gaps. Effective conservation policy is strengthened by careful research and accessible communication of science. We produce scientific research and resources, both biological and social, to inform our decision-making and to assess the progress of our projects. For example, RP has conducted field research to establish biological baselines for key species like the Ecuadorian Capuchin monkey Cebus aequatorialis and the Yellow-tailed woolly monkey Lagothrix flavicauda.

We support biological research expeditions in the communities with which we work, such as the San Antonio Annex in Peru. Photo credit: Axel Marchelie

Biodiversity Conservation & Forest Regeneration 

By collaborating with local and indigenous communities, RP supports the development of sustainable practices that protect and restore the forests. Conservation and restoration of the landscape is done by maintaining the biodiversity of the area, developing programs to protect endangered species, regenerating degraded lands, and protecting existing forest.

Mantled Howler Alouatta palliata: one of the few primates on the Peruvian coast Photo credit: Roberto Elías

 Conservation Management & Governance

Effective and informed government policy must be paired with successful management and implementation. RP works with local, regional, and national governments to design, develop, advocate for, and implement conservation policies that protect rainforests and the communities living in them. We maintain relationships with our partners and promote capacity building to ensure the long term enforcement of continuous success of these policies.

Consolidation of the Oso Dorado (Golden Bear) Tourism Association in Corosha into an alliance for conservation and management of the Amazonas region of Peru Photo credit: Rosa Gordillo

Global Activation & Engagement

We share the abundance of the forest with the world; through our bold and creative global initiatives, including World Rainforest Day and Films for the Forest, RP energizes, educates, mobilizes, and connects people all around the globe. These programs raise awareness and engage a diverse range of audiences, from filmmakers and film-watchers to Next-gen youth, from the private sector to governments, organizations, and individuals who want to make a difference. Knowledge-sharing is a critical tool for protecting and regenerating rainforests. That’s why we actively participate in international conferences that bring environmental actors and advocates together. 

The Rainforest Partnership Puzzle

There are a lot of pieces that make up the Rainforest Partnership puzzle-- it may sound complicated, but all these pieces and strategies are absolutely critical to creating long term protections for tropical rainforests that will outlast projects , changes in leadership, global crises, and more. There are a lot of causes of deforestation and forest degradation. We create the most holistic projects possible to target these many root causes. And when something falls outside of the scope of our work as an organization, we find a partner to fill that gap. 

For serious and tangible results for our forests, forest conservation organizations, leaders, governments, and communities need to do just this: work together to fill complementary gaps so that as a cohesive network of partners, we can fully root out deforestation both from the ground up, and from a global economic perspective. In other words, conservation on the ground happens in a lot of different ways. And actions that root out deforestation from the global economy reduce economic incentives that lead to deforestation. 

We need holistic models. We need to work together. We can’t make real change any other way.