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 2016 grantees through its Biodiversity Conservation portfolio.
Linking Human Rights and Environmental Protection in the Colombian Amazon - $17,500 (first payment of a two-year grant)
The Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving South American rainforests. This small but robust outfit occupies a unique niche among other environmental non-profits working in the tropics: ACT works hand in hand with local indigenous communities to devise and implement its conservation strategies.
Keeping Environmental Defenders Safe - $75,000
The Consultative Group on Biological Diversity (CGBD) is an organization of grantmakers working together to conserve and restore biodiversity. CGBD recognizes the serious challenges facing environmental defenders globally. Through a new pooled fund, the CGBD continues its efforts in Keeping Environmental Defenders Safe, reaching out to support NGOs that work to prevent harm and harassment, offer emergency protection, reveal wrongdoing, and seek redress for those threatened as they seek to save their communities, lands, waters, and sacred sites.
Applying Additionality to Conservation Interventions, Sangay National Park, Ecuador - $30,000
Fundación Cordillera Tropical is an Ecuadorian nonprofit that works to sustain native habitats in the mountainous terrain of the southern Andes. The foundation employs four synergistic conservation tools: environmental education, ecological research, compensation for the conservation of environmental services, and support for public institutions—in particular the Ministry of Environment—that govern Sangay National Park and its environs.
for Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda I.A.P.'s To conserve the Sierra Gorda's bio-capacity by provision of ecosystem services and regenerative practices - $25,000
Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda I.A.P., founded in 1987, is a Mexican grassroots conservation organization, working to protect biodiversity and support local communities in Queretaro’s Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve. Among other activities, Grupo Ecológico creates economic value for ecosystem services by paying landowners to exclude livestock and allow for forest re-growth. The organization also promotes carbon and water storage in agricultural soils through the application of regenerative management practices.
for Pronatura Noroeste's Installation of a Nature Center for the Cabo Pulmo National Park, Baja California Sur, Mexico - $50,000
Pronatura Noroeste A.C. is a Mexican, not-for-profit, civil organization founded in 1991. Its mission is “the conservation of the flora, fauna, and priority ecosystems, and the promotion of the development of society in harmony with nature.” Pronatura Noroeste accomplishes its mission through 11 regional programs that cover most of the priority sites in northwest Mexico, including Cabo Pulmo.
Mongabay: Latin America - $75,000
California-based Mongabay was founded in 1999 to increase interest in wildlife and biodiversity conservation. With now over two million readers per month, Mongabay has become one of the world’s most popular environmental news sources. It has expanded from a small website run by its founder, Rhett Butler, to a staffed project with a non-profit arm, Mongabay.org, as well as an array of other programs.
Mongabay’s Latin America initiative aims to explore what’s working and what’s not working in Latin American conservation, including innovations in land use management, commodity supply chain sourcing, and conservation technology through dozens of articles published under an open Creative Commons license in English and Spanish. To do this, Mongabay will use its newly launched Spanish-language news service, which includes a growing number of local correspondents across Latin America as well as its Wildtech initiative, which highlights how conservation can more effectively utilize technology to protect habitat, people, and wildlife.
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 ecosystems in Latin America that contain some of the greatest biodiversity on the planet. NCI’s projects are diverse - spanning multiple countries and numerous ecosystems - and the organization is guided first and foremost by a deep respect for local communities and culture. As the only conservation group working at the state or departmental level in Latin America, NCI’s strategy is extraordinarily efficient. Since 1997, it has successfully implemented an innovative community-based conservation model resulting in the protection of 13 million acres, while increasing the income of over 300 local and indigenous communities by 50% through sustainable development activities.
Sustainable Management of the Ramon Nut for Biodiversity Conservation and Landscape Recovery in Guatemala - $70,000 (first payment of a two-year grant)
Founded in 1987, the Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. At the heart of the organization’s approach is the understanding that the health of the land is inextricably connected to the wellbeing of those who depend on it for their livelihoods. In Guatemala, the Rainforest Alliance works with community-based groups, local partners, and government entities to reduce deforestation trends in the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR). The MBR is a globally important biodiversity and cultural heritage site and the largest protected area in Central America.
General Operating Support - $40,000 (second payment of a two-year grant)
Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is an environmental and human rights organization that believes individuals and communities can confront corporate power together. RAN challenges corporations to stop destructive operations, protect human rights, and adopt comprehensive policies to reduce their contributions to climate change. RAN’s Tropical Forests and Climate & Energy Programs work together to fundamentally change the relationship between the global marketplace and the natural world. It takes leadership from and builds good faith working partnerships with grassroots and indigenous movements and is currently developing an organization-wide racial justice lens.
General Operating Support for activities in Ecuador, Mexico, and Nicaragua - $55,000 (second payment of a two-year grant)
Root Capital, a Boston-based nonprofit social investment fund, grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa and Latin America by lending capital, delivering financial training and strengthening market connections for small and growing businesses. Root Capital clients include associations and private businesses that help create sustainable livelihoods by aggregating the products of hundreds, and often, thousands of farmers. As of third quarter 2014, Root Capital has disbursed more than $743 million in credit to 533 businesses. These loans have helped Root Capital clients improve incomes for more than 850,000 individuals and sustainably manage 1.5 million hectares of land.
Addressing Wildlife Trafficking at Multiple Scales: Ecuador - $50,000 (second payment of a two-year grant)
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a U.S. nonprofit organization established in 1895 that saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. The WCS Latin America and Caribbean Program has been working for over two decades to address wildlife trafficking in the region through on-the-ground monitoring programs, adoption and implementation of new technologies, and local advocacy campaigns. To address wildlife trafficking both through informed future governance and conservation science, WCS will continue to implement and expand important conservation actions in Yasuní National Park in Ecuador to protect Amazon river turtles while developing a more long-term and visionary conservation strategy for the species whose numbers have been declining at an alarming rate due to demand for turtle eggs resulting from human consumption.
In response to the absence of comprehensive data throughout the region on broader species trends, poaching hotspots, and trafficking routes and actors, WCS, working in partnership with Mongabay Reporting Network – one of the world's most popular environmental science and conservation news sites – will implement a fact-finding and gap analysis effort The ultimate goal of this work is to produce a white paper synthesizing the state of knowledge on wildlife trafficking across Latin America to disseminate to policy-makers, partners, and the international community. In implementing this project, WCS will be working to ensure an enabling environment exists at the international policy level to support and shape anti-trafficking actions in Latin America.
Proactively Addressing Emerging Threats to Mesoamerica’s Forests and Wildlife - $82,500 (first payment of a two-year grant)
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a US nonprofit organization established in 1895 that saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. WCS has been working for more than 25 years to protect Mesoamerica’s forests, coral reefs, and wildlife, with targeted initiatives to address wildlife trafficking and engage communities in conservation. This project is focused on proactively addressing two major emerging threats to Mesoamerica’s forests, biodiversity, and people: 1) the spread of illegal wildlife trafficking - especially trade in jaguar parts and products, and 2) the impasse with respect to negotiating solutions for legally unrecognized and marginalized human populations within protected areas. First, WCS will focus on reducing wildlife trafficking by understanding and addressing the emerging threat of trafficking in jaguar parts and products, compiling and systematizing information from across the region, intensively examining markets and illicit trade pathways through surveys and investigative reporting, and raising awareness through a regional public campaign. Second, through a broad partnership with Guatemalan institutions, WCS will re-engage the key forest community of San Miguel within Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve through a community-based Conservation Agreement to give local people a viable and legal source of income and subsistence and protect the area’s forests and wildlife. Through these two initiatives, WCS will directly protect biodiversity, forests, and local livelihoods, while generating lessons and approaches with potential for replication far beyond the specific sites of engagement.