Protecting nature in Latin America and ensuring plentiful water, food and energy for the region are not conflicting goals. Nature and human development are both central factors in the same equation. Modern conservation is about finding innovative ways so that both can thrive
From the dazzling blue waters of Mexico’s Baja California to the towering, ancient forests of Chile’s Valdivian coasts, TNC is transforming how lands and waters are used and conserved for the benefit of people and wildlife.
Building on the 60-year land protection legacy for which TNC is known, we partner with indigenous people and local communities to strengthen their rights and roles as environmental stewards. We engage corporations and governments to ensure infrastructure investments flow to projects that meet environmental, economic and community objectives. We spur forward-thinking policies that amplify the scale and speed of conservation.
Protecting nature is our heritage; it is also the only way to ensure our future.
Keepers of the Amazon
Nearly the size of the continental United States, the Amazon is the world’s largest tropical forest, home to 10% of all species, the source of one quarter of the world’s fresh water .
Camera traps helped scientists confirm the presence of the endemic Chilean shrew opossum at TNC’s Valdivian Coastal Reserve. The tiny marsupial—one of four in Chile— is rarely sighted and considered to be facing a high risk of extinction. Monitoring the conservation status of endangered species is a key aspect of TNC’s work in the Valdivian Coastal Reserve, a global biodiversity hot spot that protects one of the world’s last temperate rainforests. The reserve shelters an incredible wealth of endangered wildlife including the Magellanic woodpecker, the pudú (also known as the world’s smallest deer), the mountain monkey (a tree dwelling marsupial considered to be a “living fossil”) and the Guiña cat (the smallest wild felid in the western hemisphere). Around the world, habitat loss is pushing species to the brink of extinction at alarming rates. Protected areas are crucial for biodiversity conservation and are cornerstones for TNC’s global efforts.
Powering Latin America
As Latin American countries ramp up their investments in clean energy, TNC is bringing science to the table to support governments and decision-makers in guiding development to minimize impacts on people and nature. In Mexico, after demonstrating the benefits of scientific siting for hydropower development in the Coatzacoalcos basin, TNC is collaborating with national electricity and biodiversity authorities towards applying these lessons to wind and solar energy development. These efforts will advance Mexico’s renewable energy goals and conserve biodiversity. In Peru, TNC is advising policy reforms to improve energy sector planning with social and environmental standards. In Colombia’s Magdalena River basin, where more than 70% of hydropower and 80% of national GDP is produced, but where fish stocks have plummeted, the application of TNC’s modeling tools has helped avoid impacts on 621 miles of the river and its tributaries.
Tripling Marine Protected Areas
To replenish vital fishing grounds, Belize announced a bold plan to place nearly 12% of its waters under protection—almost tripling its marine reserves. TNC played a key role in this effort, conducting spatial analysis, modeling and consultations with fishers to identify critical areas for protection. By giving fish room to recover, Belize will sustain its coastal economies and secure healthy marine resources across the world’s second largest reef system. This ambitious plan will enable Belize to achieve some of its international commitments of conserving at least 10% of its coastal and marine areas by 2020.
Conserving the World’s Aquarium
Nestled between Mexico’s mainland and the Baja California peninsula, the dazzling sea that Jacques Cousteau once called “the world’s aquarium,” is home to more than 900 species of fish and a wide array of marine mammals like sea lions, dolphins and whales. The region supplies more than 70% of Mexico’s fish catch and is a renowned diving destination. While threatened b unsustainable practices such as overfishing, this is also a place fo hope and emerging opportunities Over the past six years, TN and local partners have helped 25 communities create fish replenishment zones where fish can grow and reproduce. The results are clear: a 30% increase in fish abundance. That’s good news for Mexican fishers and for the area’s extraordinary diversity of marine life. Communities have petitioned to add 247 square miles to the recovery zone network. In addition, the design guidelines are being adopted as a national norm.