Our innovative and high-impact model, backed up by 14 years of results, matches the urgency of this moment for the forests, and planet, and our collective future.
Our results are real and lasting because our model does what is too seldom done: target the root causes of deforestation and forest degradation from all angles-- both on the supply and demand side.
Our approach is based on 6 critical strategies that target different root causes: together, they make up our 360° Approach to Rainforest Conservation. All of our projects are grounded in this strategy and address one or more of these 6 prongs.
Our strategic, holistic, root-cause model creates a 360° ripple effect for tangible, permanent, self-sustaining change.
Explore the 6 prongs of our approach below to trace the connections between our diverse projects and this integrated, high-impact strategy.
Despite the serious threats to their lands and livelihoods, indigenous and local communities are often excluded from decision making about their lands, rights, and futures. Educational and capacity building opportunities are often inaccessible and language and cultural barriers lead to miscommunication.
Partnerships between organizations and communities is too often surface-level or for show. This is not only exploitative, but prevents real results for the forests. Why?
Without community leadership and true partnership, conservation impact is short-lived and dependent on big budget projects that impose on communities.
Protecting forests starts with empowered rainforest communities.
Rainforest communities and organizations should lead in forest protection and management efforts on their land. Strengthening the capacities of communities and organizations to implement conservation plans empowers local people to be in control of the future of their communities and forests.
Whether it be managing a community-owned protected area or promoting regenerative agriculture, it is crucial that members of the communities we work with have leadership roles in our projects.
This is the key to making our conservation impact last.
Projects are designed for, with, and by the local communities. Our 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.
Community engagement and empowerment is central to our community-based projects; this integral piece of our strategy ensures these long term results:
- Community members and organizations can independently teach others, expand projects, or create new ones without needing external support
- Long term successful implementation of conservation and management plans
- Because projects are led by local people and compatible with local practices and cultures, the conservation impact is long lasting and advance communities’ visions for their futures
Many rainforest communities don't have access to stable sources of income to support critical resources such as healthcare or education. and often the available livelihood options lead to local deforestation, such as cattle ranching. Without sustainable economic options communities are more vulnerable to threats like the encroachment of extractive industries on indigenous lands or illegal logging or mining. And, when people have economic stability and security, they are better able to conserve, manage, and restore the forest.
Economic problems call for economic solutions.
That's why we ensure that our partners find or create sustainable economic livelihood options to support themselves and to make conservation projects viable in the long run.
Our sustainable livelihood projects have ranged from supporting the creation of Sani Warmi, a women's artisan crafts organization in the Ecuadorian Amazon, to ecotourism in Corosha and San Antonio, communities in the Tropical Andes, to community-led agroforestry or sustainable production of foods like coffee, cacao, and acai in both the Amazon and Tropical Andes.
We organize and coordinate workshops to strengthen community capacities to generate income, support their access markets to effectively sell products, and provide technical support when needed.
Supporting sustainable livelihoods is absolutely critical-- and too often overlooked. This prong is key to building a foundation for resilient conservation programs that produce lasting results.
Sustainable livelihood projects build:
- Economic security and stability for local and indigenous communities
- Economic independence for women
- Increased community resources like education or healthcare
- Strengthened community capacities to protect and manage their lands and rights
Missing data means weak conservation policy, blind management of land, resources, and biodiversity.
In many forest regions, there is very little to no available research available on local ecosystems or wildlife, making science-based policy impossible-- until someone conducts that research.
Conservation policy and management should be grounded in ecological and biological research to best ensure that they are effective, strategic, and sustainable.
We use scientific research to remove barriers to effective conservation.
With the help of our many partners, we perform biological assessments, publish academic research papers, and create data-backed action plans to support conservation policy grounded in research. In regions with little to no available research, we establish foundational data and encourage future research. This research informs conservation plans and fosters deeper connections between forest landscapes and the people living there.
For example, we've studied populations of two primate species in Cerros de Amotape National Park in the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena biodiversity hotspot, and led scientific expeditions to explore, understand and record the unique biodiversity in the Cordillera de Colan in the Tropical Andes, focusing on threatened amphibians and reptiles.
Simply put, conducting conservation research leads to:
-Improved conservation of endangered and key species
-Strategic conservation policies and effective implementation
-Effective long term management of protected areas
-Successful restoration of deforested areas and healthy ecosystems
Tropical rainforest and their biodiversity are threatened by deforestation, oil extraction, mining, urbanization, industrial agriculture, livestock, forest fires, and more. Many species are endangered and their habitats fragmented by deforestation and development. Extractive activities contaminate the water sources that communities and wildlife rely on. Large areas of forest are cut every day.
There are a lot of major threats to tropical rainforests and the people and biodiversity that call them home.
In collaboration with local and indigenous communities, we lead a diverse range of conservation, restoration, and biodiversity management programs that conserve forests, restore degraded forest, and protect the many endangered and vulnerable species that live within these forests-- from Mantled howler monkeys, to Andean bears, river turtles to the immense diversity of bird, amphibian, insect, and plant life that live across the Amazon and the Tumbes-Choco Magdalena and Tropical Andes biodiversity hotspots. Many projects also include long term restoration and regeneration of degraded forest landscapes, land and resource management plans, monitoring and more.
This prong is often what people imagine
- Sustainable management of forest ecosystems
-Long term successful management and protection of local and regional biodiversity
-Protection of endangered species
- Ecological stability and community resilience
- More tropical forest available to act as critical carbon sinks
Local, regional, and national conservation policy is critical to the protection of forests and biodiversity. But implementation of those policies is equally important, and challenging when training on conservation and resources are inaccessible to many government offices and the organizations leading implementation on the ground.
Local and regional governments and organizations often need support to expand their conservation knowledge, skills, and resources, to effectively implement their policies and plans. This can often lead to poor implementation of conservation policies or management plans for protected areas,.
Many local and indigenous communities also lack legal rights to their lands making conservation, restoration, and management difficult.
We work closely with governments at all levels to support their work crafting effective conservation policy, creating implementation plans, and collaborating with communities and organizations to conserve or restore forests.
We maintain strong relationships with our partners and support them with capacity building workshops, courses, and resources to ensure the long term enforcement of continuous success of these policies. We also have supported action plans for the conservation of endangered primates and work with partners to establish and management protected areas for conservation. We are also supporting legal land tenure of communities in the Cloudforests of Toldopampa in the Tropical Andes.
Our relationships with our government and organizational partners is absolutely key and invaluable to the success of our joint conservation efforts; all of these long term impacts are possible because of their partnership and leadership:
- Long term and durable implementation of conservation plans and policies
- Empowered governments, local leaders, and organizations with increased capacity to lead long term conservation
- Institutionalized land stewardship and conservation
-Increased government support and resources for conservation and communities
- Protected areas with maintained water sources, healthy ecosystems and habitats, protection of biodiversity, and sustained carbon sinks
We’re up against powerful forces. To protect rainforests from extraction, deforestation, and destruction, it’s going to take all of us.
The global economy drives widespread deforestation around the world, and the constant paralyzing bleak messaging around climate and deforestation breeds inaction and hopelessness. Many of us who live far from rainforests don't feel connected to them in any way.
We tackle these global challenges through a suite of global programs grounded that leverage the power of hope, storytelling, and community to inspire people around the world to care and act for forests.
We share the abundance of the forest with the world; through our bold and creative global initiatives, 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.
- Films for the Forest (F3) is an annual global filmmaking challenge that offers artists, NGOs, educators, and the general public a platform to engage and think about their shared responsibility to conserve the planet. F3 has received film submissions spanning all seven continents.
- World Rainforest Day (WRD), launched in 2017, is celebrated annually on June 22nd to focus on the outsized role rainforest play on the planet’s well-being. We partner with organizations, private companies, and governments all over the world to drive the conversation around protecting tropical rainforests.
- Gen Z for the Trees (Z4T), started in 2020, leverages the energy and power of youth activism to move towards their groundbreaking goal of net-zero deforestation by 2030.
We target the root causes of deforestation from the top-down, not just from the ground up. We need all of us working together to tackle these global challenges; and we need hope.
We tell stories and project hope into the world. With every film, event, and connection we make, we plant seeds in people around the world to take action for forests, to protect them now and forever.
- Global empowerment and inspiration to protect tropical forests
-Diverse and widespread coalition of rainforest partners working together to ensure a better future for forests and climate