Ground-breaking Conservation Agreement to Save Atlantic Rainforests in Argentina

Missiones Falls
 Yaboti Biosphere Reserve
 Yaboti Biosphere Reserve

An agreement has been signed between conservation NGOs, a local forestry company (that sold a property within the Yaboti Biosphere Reserve), the provincial Ministry of Environment, the Guarani communities, and Rainforest Trust to permanently protect the Yaboti Biosphere Reserve area in Argentina but allow some sustainable development, such as ecotourism activities. This critical habitat is also home to three communities of Guarani indigenous people who are part of the agreement, and the land will be protected as part of an indigenous reserve.

The Atlantic forest once stretched unbroken from the Atlantic coast in the north of Brazil, south and inland through Paraguay and the Misiones Province of Argentina. Today it is one of the most critically endangered ecoregions in the world, with only 7% of its once vast original forest remaining. The Yaboti Biosphere Reserve, within the Misiones Province of Argentina, is home to 116 mammal species, 548 bird species, 124 amphibian species, and 222 fish species. Protecting the Atlantic Rainforest in the Yaboti Biosphere Reserve is a high priority as although it is called a reserve, much of the land within it is privately owned, and severe habitat destruction is taking place in the area.

This agreement is a landmark step towards effective conservation in the overall Yaboti Biosphere Region including the 9,795 acres that Rainforest Trust supporters assisted in purchasing. The agreement was signed by Viviana Rovira (Minister of Environment), three Guarani Caciques (leaders), and Nicholas Laharrague (Director of Mocona Forestal), who thanked the communities living in the area for working towards a consensual agreement. He also thanked Javier Jiminez Perez and John Burton of Rainforest Trust for their assistance in reaching this agreement.

120 Acres Saved for Earth Day 2012

Thank you, thank you, thank you! In one short week Rainforest Trust donors sent in an amazing $6,000 in honor of Earth Day 2012. These donations have been matched, dollar for dollar, thanks to generous suport from Mystic Dreamer Art and our Board members, which means Rainforest Trust raised a total of $12,000, allowing us to purchase 120 acres throughout South America.

Rainforests are the richest places on earth holding the majority of the planet’s biodiversity. 25 of the richest biodiversity hotspots cover just 1.4% of the surface of the planet yet contain more than 60% of all terrestrial biodiversity.

We are losing these rainforests and species at an unprecedented rate due to the devastating effects of deforestation for timber, conversion to farmland, infrastructure projects, and mining.

Rainforest Trust works with local partners to purchase and protect these precious rainforests for just $100 per acre. This Earth Day, show you care by donating to Rainforest Trust to help us preserve rainforest acres.

Thanks to generous support from the Rainforest Trust Board and Ann Kruglak of Mystic Dreamer Art, any gift made during the week of Earth Day 2012 was matched, dollar for dollar, allowing each donation to double its impact! For every $100 donated, TWO acres were saved forever.

Rainforest Trust Receives Grants from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

Cerulean Warbler
Sierra Caral

We are pleased to report that three Rainforest Trust partner projects have been awarded grants totaling almost $330,000 through U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA).

Our Bolivian partner, Association Armonia, has been awarded $100,000 for their work in protecting the critical stopover habitat for the Buff-breasted Sandpiper at the Rainforest Trust-funded Barba Azul Nature Reserve–a critical stopover area for the bird after it crosses the Amazonian rainforest. With this project, partners will protect and manage savanna habitat; restore habitat and conduct law enforcement within the Barba Azul Nature Reserve savanna and river-edge foraging habitat; and manage habitat through a patch burn plan that will create Buff-breasted Sandpiper habitat. Partners will also research and monitor sandpiper populations, movements, and habitat use in the Beni Savanna and use community outreach and education to help increase and improve the quality of foraging habitat on private cattle ranches. You can read more about our partner and their work.

Fundación Jocotoco has been awarded $80,109 for their work conserving the Cerulean Warbler in Eastern Ecuador at the Rainforest Trust-funded Narupa Reserve. The subtropical and foothill humid forests of eastern Ecuador are a highly threatened vital wintering area for the Cerulean Warbler and other priority migrants. This project will strengthen the protection and management of one of the key wintering sites for the species: the Fundación Jocotoco’s Narupa Reserve in eastern Ecuador, covering nearly 600 hectares of primary and secondary forest. Public outreach and ecotourism will be used to increase public support for the conservation of migratory species and their habitats. You can read more about our partner and their work.

In Guatemala, our partner FUNDAECO has been awarded $149,446 for their conservation of stopover and wintering habitat at the Rainforest Trust-funded Sierra Caral Forest project.
With funds through the NMBCA and a broad international partnership including Rainforest Trust donors, FUNDAECO will purchase two adjacent parcels of forest in the Sierra Caral mountains in the Caribbean region of Guatemala. These lands will become the core of a larger protected area at Sierra Caral, a critical wintering and stopover area for at least 33 species of neotropical migrants. Funds will also be directed to train, equip, and support personnel to prevent unsustainable activities and to provide outreach and education to local communities. Bird monitoring efforts will be expanded to assist management objectives. Check back for updates on the creation of this new reserve.

Click here for more about the NCMBA grant program through U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Critical New Nature Reserve Established in Colombia

Ribbon Cutting at the reserve

Fundación ProAves, with the support of Rainforest Trust and American Bird Conservancy, has established a new 7,076-acre nature reserve to protect the Chocó rainforest and buffer the threats to adjacent Embera indigenous communities. Located in Colombia, the rainforest contains one of the highest concentrations of endemic biodiversity in the world with many birds, plants, and amphibians at risk of extinction. The area is home to several rare and threatened bird species, including the Endangered Chocó Vireo and Gold-ringed Tanager, as well as other threatened species such as the spectacled bear and jaguar.

The Las Tangaras Nature Reserve is one of the most diverse and important tropical forest sites on earth and will protect a great elevational gradient–from 2,000 to 12,900 feet above sea level. This area protects the watershed of the Rio Atrato, the Chocó’s most important river which serves as a vital economic resource for tens of thousands of inhabitants living in poor rural communities. A total of sixteen private colonist properties in the area were acquired to create the 7,076-acre reserve.

“We are strategically acquiring and protecting a critical area of privately held rainforest to create a buffer zone against colonization and strengthen the protection of adjacent indigenous communities that are besieged by gold-miners and ranchers,” stated Dr. Paul Salaman, Chief Executive Officer of Rainforest Trust, a champion of conservation action in the mega diverse Chocó Hotspot.

The Las Tangaras Nature Reserve, owned and operated by Fundación ProAves, is expected to be a major attraction to visiting birdwatchers and nature tourists. The area boasts remarkable opportunities for birding (over 250 species documented at the reserve so far) in a country that is home to more avian species than any other on the planet. A spacious, eight-bedroom lodge; a house for staff; and a restaurant featuring a balcony overlooking the Atrato river were just constructed. Other important species found in the reserve include the endangered Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, Yellow-eared Parrot, the vulnerable Black-and-Gold Tanager, and Toucan Barbet.

At the end of March, Dr. Salaman traveled to Colombia to participate in the Reserve launch. We hope all of our supporters will consider visiting the Reserve if they have occasion to be in that area of Colombia so they can see first-hand what they helped to create.

“Visitors will be astounded how easy it is to see an incredible diversity of rare and little known biodiversity, including a dozen endemic bird species. We hope people will come from all over to visit and appreciate what the Colombian Chocó has to offer, be they from nearby Medellin or from Miami or London,” commented Lina Daza, Executive Director of Fundación ProAves.

Visitor information:
Located four hours by highway from the city of Medellin, the Las Tangaras reserve lies at the gateway from the Andean highlands into the Choco lowlands and offers spectacular scenery, lush forests, and some of Colombia’s rarest wildlife attractions, all conveniently located around the spacious Mary Giles lodge in a meandering loop of the Rio Atrato.

For more information and bookings, please contact at Conservation Alliance.