Latin Amerrica
Landscape Latin Amerrica © Scott Warren

Latin America Conservation Council

Tackle Climate Change

A Natural Path for Climate Action

We may only have 10 years to avert the most catastrophic consequences of climate change. Time is of the essence.

Climate change is here. How we respond is up to us. Maximizing nature’s solutions is a triple win for climate, for biodiversity and for human development.

DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION STRATEGIES TNC, LATIN AMERICA

Nature is a vital piece of the climate solution. Protecting and restoring nature could provide over 30% of the measures needed to limit global warming by 2030.

In Latin America, TNC is demonstrating the powerful role that nature can play as part of the solutions needed to cut carbon emissions and help communities prepare for and respond to impacts. Our pioneering science, pragmatic approach and legacy of collaboration are helping to translate Latin America’s climate commitments into action. We are galvanizing partnerships to meet ambitious reforestation targets. We are transforming how agricultural lands are used and managed to increase production on already cleared lands while halting deforestation. We are launching creative schemes to restore reefs and floodplains to reduce the impact from storms and rising seas on coastal communities.

This is the decade to save the planet—to restore, regenerate, repair and recover. Maximizing nature’s solutions is a triple win for climate, for biodiversity and for human development.

We must work with nature, instead of against it. We must work together.

The World’s First Reef Insurance

One big highlight this year, and a superb example of TNC’s innovation, was the creation of an insurance framework for reefs. The Meso- american Reef is the world’s second largest coral reef and the star attraction of the Yucatan Peninsula’s$10 billion-dollar tourism industry. And like all reefs, it acts as a natural seawall that reduces wave energy up to 97%, protecting coastlines and tourism. Yet 80% of the region’s live coral cover has declined. Here, TNC teamed up with state and national governments, the tourism industry, and global insurer SwissRe to design and implement the world’s first-ever parametric insurance policy for a coral reef. This means, a Category 4 hurricane hitting the reef will trigger an immediate payout to repair the reef by mobilizing a network of first responders— local people TNC trained as reef guardians. Feasibility studies are underway to explore replication in the U.S. and Central America.

A brigade member learns to use a drill underwater during the second day of coral reef rapid-response training for natural disasters. Following a hurricane, these brigade members would use drills to secure corals to the reef to prepare for repairing reefs following hurricanes. In the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef at Puerto Morelos National Marine Park. Puerto Morelos, Mexico. June 2018.
Underwater drill training A brigade member learns to use a drill underwater during the second day of coral reef rapid-response training for natural disasters. Following a hurricane, these brigade members would use drills to secure corals to the reef to prepare for repairing reefs following hurricanes. In the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef at Puerto Morelos National Marine Park. Puerto Morelos, Mexico. June 2018. © Jennifer Adler

Forestry as a Climate Solution

Argentina’s largest reforestation initiative, ForestAR 2030, has paved the route to success by bringing together, for the first time, the country’s government and forestry industry to collectively craft a common vision and 10 year-workplan to build a new forest economy while delivering on Argentina’s climate commitments. Based on TNC’s science, the inter-agency platform will mitigate climate change by reforesting 4.9 million acres of land by 2030—of which 740,000 acres will be forested using native species—and will help conserve native forests by replacing the demand for their products with commercial alternatives. The platform also launched the trial version of an online tool known as SIR (Integrated Monitoring System for Forest Restoration) that will be used to register and monitor native forest restoration nationwide, reporting on acres restored, carbon mitigated, jobs created and funding invested.

Resilient Central America (ResCA)

From the peaks of the Maya Mountains to the depths of the Mesoamerican Reef, Central America holds an astounding 7% of the planet’s species in barely 1% of the world’s surface. Spearheaded by TNC and financed by the U.S. StateDepartment and the multi-donor platform AgroLAC 2025, Resilient Central America (ResCA) is an initiative that promotes nature-based solutions to strengthen climate resilience, local economies and food security. In coordination with local partners over the last three years, we have trained 8,102 people, strengthened 47 institutions and proposed 151 policies. One of the innovations spurred by ResCA was the implementation of Tally, a pioneering traceability technology designed by ThisFish to foster environmentally and socially responsible seafood production in Belize. This digital tracking technology has already improved efficiencies at the National Fisher’s Cooperative processing plant, allowing the country’s second largest cooperative to monitor catch, improve accountability and transparency from fisher to consumer and positioning it to access premium sustainably harvested seafood markets.

Workers in the processing department weigh lobsters at the National Fisherman's Cooperative on Angel Lane in Belize City, Belize. There are about 500 member fishermen that pay a small fee to be able to deliver product to the co-op and the co-op subsidizes them. They get ice and other services that are then deducted from their catch. The co-op also provides small loans, training, scholarships, and a burial fund.
Sustainable technology in use Workers in the processing department weigh lobsters at the National Fisherman's Cooperative on Angel Lane in Belize City, Belize. There are about 500 member fishermen that pay a small fee to be able to deliver product to the co-op and the co-op subsidizes them. They get ice and other services that are then deducted from their catch. The co-op also provides small loans, training, scholarships, and a burial fund. © © Randy Olson

Carbon Credits Sustain Nature Reserves

The Conservancy’s Valdivian Coastal Reserve in Chile protects one of the world’s last remaining temperate rainforests, which is one of the most carbon-dense forests on Earth. By stopping deforestation in the reserve, TNC developed Chile’s first certified carbon credit project and has avoided an estimated 580,000 tons of CO2 emissions—equivalent to taking over 120,000 cars off the road for a year. To date, the reserve has retired more than $1 million in carbon credits, helping to mitigate climate change while sustaining the conservation of native species. In Belize, the Rio Bravo Conservation Management Area—TNC’s first carbon project—has achieved financial sustainability by retiring carbon offsets. The project has kept 1.6 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) from the atmosphere since 2002, and since 2012 has retired $4.12 million worth of offsets. This has enabled the capitalization of a $2.4 million endowment for the long-term financial sustainability and management of the reserve. Rio Bravo is the second largest protected area in Belize and shelters the largest population of jaguars in the Maya Forest.

Vista aérea del antiguo bosque lluvioso templado en la Reserva Costera Valdiviana de TNC, Chile.
Reserva Costera Valdiviana Vista aérea del antiguo bosque lluvioso templado en la Reserva Costera Valdiviana de TNC, Chile. © Denise Lira Ratinoff

A Force for Nature

This report shows how The Nature Conservancy is responding to this challenge not only in the area of climate change, but in land, rivers, oceans, agriculture and cities.