The impact of our projects is felt directly, immediately, and tangibly by our rainforest community partners. Our pragmatic approach to forest protection — which focuses on community-based work and building partnerships with a range of stakeholders — allows us to make an impact that expands outward in concentric circles, protecting forests in a way that is measurable and lasting.
We forge strong relationships with the local and indigenous communities, the organizations, and governments we work with, to understand the most effective ways to achieve our shared goal of protecting forests. It is only then that we begin to employ our resources, knowledge, and connections to move forward with a mutually agreed upon plan of action. This local, stakeholder-led approach leads to durable environmental and socioeconomic impact.
We are headquartered in Austin, Texas; we have a team in Texas, a full team in Peru, team members in Ecuador, and team members and partners around the world. We work directly in four ecosystems that are key for biodiversity conservation:
1. Tropical Andes Biodiversity Hotspot
The Tropical Andes is the most biologically diverse Biodiversity Hotspot in the world-- covering a surface area three times the size of Spain and is home to one sixth of all plant life on the planet. In this region, Andean and Amazonian ecosystems overlap and the wildlife from both of these regions exist together, creating ideal conditions for immense and thriving biodiversity.
The immense diversity and natural riches of the tropical Andes are threatened by mining, illegal trade, deforestation, climate change, migration, and the advance of the agricultural frontier. However, the presence of native and campesino local communities gives us the opportunity to work hand in hand with them on projects that promote sustainable livelihoods, conservation, and sustainable management of natural resources that are used daily and are part of their cultural identity.
Stay tuned for more blogs exploring the incredible diversity and importance of the Tropical Andes; there is greater attention and awareness of this Hotspot now than ever before-- which is a good sign for the future of conservation in the Tropical Andes.
Rainforest Partnership in the Tropical Andes:
Our team has extensive expertise and experience working in the high altitude cloudforests and highlands of the Tropical Andes; we’ve been working here for over ten years!
Our work in the cloudforests of the tropical Andes is focused in the regions of Junín, Amazonas, and Ayacucho in Peru. Many people here lack proper land-titling and boundary-recognition, making concerted conservation efforts difficult. We work with communities, governments, and organizations in these regions to strengthen legal protections for threatened species, restore local communities’ legal rights, create and manage protected areas, increase communities’ capacities to effectively protect and manage their lands, and promote ecotourism and other sustainable livelihood options to generate viable income without compromising their lands.
2. Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena Biodiversity Hotspot
This biodiversity hotspot lies along the Pacific Coast and extends from the southeastern part of Panama, along the western portions of Colombia and Ecuador, to northwestern Peru. It contains forests of varying moisture levels, mangroves, rocky shores, beaches, coastal deserts, and even some of the wettest rain forests on the planet. The wide range of diverse ecosystems that make up this hotspot create the conditions for the region’s rich biodiversity. The hotspot is threatened by deforestation, fragmentation, and introduction of non-native species.
RP in the Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena Biodiversity Hotspot:
We partner with several communities, primarily in the Tumbes region of Peru, to craft collaborative economic and policy solutions to environmental problems. We work with local authorities and partner communities to advance conservation policy and produce research that fills current knowledge gaps about critically endangered species like the Ecuadorian capuchin monkey (Cebus aequatorialis), one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
3. Western Amazon Rainforest
The westernmost reaches of the Amazon in Ecuador and Peru are some of the most biodiverse regions in the world. These rainforests in the foothills of the Andes contain even higher biodiversity than the widely-studied expanses of the Eastern Amazon.
RP in the Amazon:
Our work in the Western Amazon is in the region of Ucayali in Peru and the provinces of Sucumbíos and Orellana in Ecuador. In Peru, we are active in the Deep Amazon, just 20 miles from the border with Brazil, working closely with an association of nine indigenous communities of five indigenous peoples in a project that includes coordinating community-based conservation plans, the creation of local protected areas, the creation of natural resource management plans, and conservation education.
Sani Isla, our long time rainforest community partner in Ecuador, inhabits one of the most biologically diverse areas on earth. We have been working with the women of Sani Isla for over ten years to develop local economic opportunities to strengthen their capacities to protect their forests. Our partnership with the community continues as we jointly build sustainable livelihood opportunities, economic stability, and long-term forest protection in the region. We’re now working with groups from 5 communities along the Rio Napo, all led by women, to build economic stability for women and their communities through sustainable and regenerative activities like agroforestry.
4. Mesoamerica Biodiversity Hotspot
The Maya Forest stretches across 35 million acres (1,4163,997 hectares) of land in the Mesoamerica Biodiversity Hotspot and is the second largest tropical rainforest in the Americas. The region contains vast beauty and biodiversity and is home to many unique and endangered species, from jaguars to tapirs and hundreds of bird species.
Climate change and agroindustry driven deforestation in this region threatens its rich biodiversity and exacerbates its already high vulnerability to tropical storms, hurricanes, and floods. Coastal ecosystems, including reefs and mangrove forests, are particularly threatened.
RP in Mesoamerica
In 2020, Rainforest Partnership began working with Amigos de Sian Ka’an, a well-established Mexican NGO partner working in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in the state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula. We will work together to amplify ecological research, conservation programs, environmental education, and the strengthening of sustainable livelihoods in the region.