Our Strategies

Latin America


From scientists to project managers to public policy experts, we are are a team of more than 300 people working in 15 countries throughout the region.

From Mexico’s Baja California in the north to Argentina’s Patagonia in the southern tip, we are respected as an effective, trusted partner, rooted in sound science and adept at bringing people of different views and interests together to find and implement solutions to challenges facing Latin America and our planet. The Nature Conservancy’s legacy of collaboration with governments, rural communities, indigenous leaders, businesses, NGOs and multilateral organizations allows us to mobilize public-private collaboration and to leverage our science and expertise, taking successful models to scale.

Our work focuses on four conservation priorities:

  • Lands: Increasing agricultural activity productivity while reducing the rate of habitat conversion.
  • Water: Employing nature to safeguard freshwater for Latin America’s most water stressed cities.
  • Infrastructure: Designing major energy, mining and transport infrastructure to have no net impact on natural capital.
  • Oceans: Catalyzing sustainable use and conservation of Latin America’s coasts and oceans.

Xikrin women gathering papayas and bananas

Lands

The Challenge: Latin America is losing iconic landscapes like the Amazonian rainforest and the Patagonia grasslands at alarming rates due to the advancing agricultural frontier. The massive expansion of food production is degrading Latin America’s natural systems with severe consequences for global food security and the region’s prosperity and stability. Food production cannot continue to encroach into the forests, grasslands and other habitats that people and nature need to survive.

The Solution: We need to mobilize agriculture and ranching, along with industry, governmental and financial institutions to boost production on lands already cleared of native vegetation, and protect intact natural habitats from being cleared for food.

Where: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru


 Local fishermen casting nets for "Mojarra"; (the main fish species) in the Totumo Lagoon (in the lower Magdalena River basin), a freshwater lagoon near the town of Lamorita, Colombia. The Magdalena River is the principal river of Colombia.

Water

The Challenge: Latin America has a third of the world’s freshwater, yet millions of people in the region’s cities face growing water scarcity due to climate change, deforestation, unsustainable agriculture and ranching, pollution and droughts. Water is crucial to the region’s growth path in the coming decades, and its nations must decide how to boost water security and increase resilience to climate change.

The Solution: We will use nature to secure clean water for 40 of Latin America’s most-at-risk cities. Our Water Funds will bring together large water users from the private and public sectors and civil society to invest in protecting and restoring the forests, grasslands and wetlands that enable watersheds to function. These natural solutions—green infrastructure—will improve water quantity and quality for cities.

Where: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru


The Salve Paccha auquaduct (green pipe) transports water from Cayambe Coca to Quito; photographed in the paramos landscape at the foot of Ecuador's Andean range (a neotropical ecosystem, high-altitude grasslands, located in high elevations.

Infrastructure

The Challenge: Latin America needs dams, roads, energy, ports and mines. Investment in 10 Latin American infrastructure sectors will top $37 trillion (U.S.) in the next decade, bringing significant environmental risks to massive tracts of largely undeveloped landscapes. We must plan smart infrastructure development that can advance without depleting the region’s forests, rivers, grassland and coasts.

The Solution: We will design Latin America’s major energy, mining, and transportation infrastructure to have “No Net Impact” on natural capital, meaning that negative environmental impacts from infrastructure projects are avoided, minimized or compensated. This will require engaging businesses, governments and lending agencies in early, science-based planning for infrastructure projects, balancing development, conservation and social needs.

Where: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru


Baja California.

Oceans

The Challenge: Oceans provide half of our oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide, generate food for millions and sustain coastal economies. Human activity and climate change are straining Latin America’s coastal habitats, and almost half of fish stocks range from fully exploited to depleted. As the region continues to grow, communities will look to the oceans to provide more resources, opportunities and protection from coastal storms and flooding.

The Solution: We will protect Latin America’s oceans and coastal habitats and improve their capacity to provide fishing resources and ecosystem services. Our fisheries management approach promotes sustainable seafood, secures livelihoods, and conserves marine habitats. We will support coastal communities by supplying tools to protect coastlines and identify risk-reduction solutions. Balancing conservation with economic and social objectives, we will improve ocean and coastal governance and management throughout Latin America.

Where: Belize, Chile, Mexico, Peru

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