LATIN AMERICAN BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION
The Overbrook Foundation recognizes the value of protecting endangered biodiversity and the vital environmental and social benefits it provides. The Biodiversity Conservation program area supports programs in Latin America, with a specific focus on Mesoamerica, where globally important species and ecosystems face a wide range of threats. The Foundation seeks out projects that create practical solutions to these threats, particularly those that promote sustainable livelihoods and engage local communities in conservation efforts.
Below are the Foundation’s 2017 grantees through its Biodiversity Conservation portfolio.
Community Participation in the Protection of The Lechugal and Mirador National Park in Guatemala - $40,000
The Foundation for EcoDevelopment and Conservation (FUNDAECO) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to conserve nature, reduce poverty and support sustainable community development in Guatemala. The proposed project will increase the participation of the Carmelita community in the protection and reduction of illegal hunting in the Lechugal Area and Mirador National Park. The project will support hiring, training and providing equipment for community park guards, as well as their participation in patrolling activities. The project will also support the design of a white-tailed deer captive breeding project with community members, and will implement environmental education activities in order to increase awareness of the importance of the area and its biodiversity.
The Establishment of Municipal Reserves and Exploring Conservation Funding Mechanisms in the Ecuadorian Amazon - $40,000
Nature and Culture International (NCI) is an international conservation organization that works with local communities to protect endangered and environmentally important ecosystems in Latin America. NCI’s projects are diverse - spanning multiple countries and numerous ecosystems - and guided first and foremost by a deep respect for local communities and culture. Since 1997, NCI has successfully implemented an innovative community-based conservation model resulting in the protection of nearly 14 million acres, while increasing the income of over 300 local communities by 50% through sustainable development activities.
The overarching goal of the proposed project is to continue expanding NCI’s water fund model to protect vital Amazon forests of northern Ecuador. NCI will support seven municipalities of Quijos and El Chaco in designing their own financial mechanism to protect 204,815 acres of forest and provide clean water for 15,000 municipality residents. NCI will also continue providing training to build capacity in watershed management, water quality monitoring, and learning exchanges with other municipalities in established southern Ecuador.
Central American Acceleration Programs - $50,000
Pomona Impact is a new impact investment firm in Central America supporting companies finding innovative solutions to agriculture problems. Despite the terrific agricultural universities in the region, innovation and even the rate of adoption of existing agricultural technologies is remarkably low. Pomona is working to change that by launching the Innovation in Agriculture Initiative, which brings together industry leaders in the form of an Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will also manage a regional AgTech Accelerator program for entrepreneurs and conservation organization leaders developing commercially viable solutions around sustainability and unlocking investment capital to help scale winning innovations.
Increasing the Resilience of Smallholder Farmers in the Western Highlands of Guatemala - $50,000
Root Capital is a nonprofit social investment fund that grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places by lending capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing businesses. Since their founding in 1999, Root Capital has worked at the intersection of agricultural and economic development, harnessing the power of supply chains to strengthen market linkages between farmer businesses and the formal economy. In this time, Root Capital has worked with more than 630 enterprises that have generated over $6 billion in economic activity by linking 1 million farm households to global and local markets.
Effective management of Port Honduras Marine Reserve and Payne’s Creek National Park through surveillance and engagement with the community - $35,000
The Toledo Institute of Development and Environment (TIDE) is a leading conservation organization in the Toledo District of Southern Belize. TIDE manages a portfolio of national and private protected areas and works to manage these natural resources sustainably. TIDE works in three program areas: natural resource management, environmental education and sustainable development, and financial sustainability. This project focuses on natural resource management as well as environmental education and has the ultimate goal of securing the livelihoods of TIDE stakeholders. The project will also contribute to TIDE’s new campaign raising awareness about the negative impact plastics have on Toledo’s natural resources.
Improving protected areas management through innovative technology for long term biodiversity conservation within the Bladen Nature Reserve, Belize - $35,000
Ya’axché Conservation Trust is a Belizean conservation organization whose mission is to maintain a healthy environment with empowered communities by fostering sustainable livelihoods, protected area management, biodiversity conservation, and environmental education within the Maya Golden Landscape of southern Belize. Ya'axché's Protected Area Management program focuses on ensuring effective and efficient management of three protected areas by utilizing high quality scientific data to increase organizational, local, and national understanding on the biodiversity found within them. Bladen Nature Reserve (BNR) is considered to be one of the most biodiversity-rich and geographically-unique areas within the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, and forms a significant portion of the Key Biodiversity Area of the Maya Mountain Massif. The protection of BNR is extremely important for the long-term conservation of its biodiversity and to maintain the ecological connectivity in the contiguous landscape. However, this area is under great threat from illegal activities. As a result of these serious threats, this project will contribute to an increase in conservation efforts, utilizing innovative technologies with well-trained staff to increase the quality of enforcement and enhance public outreach to bring awareness to the importance of this highly diverse area.