The Beginning of Rainforest Trust
Officially incorporated on December 8, 1988, Rainforest Trust celebrated its first conservation success less than a year later. In the Sierra de Las Minas Mountains in Guatemala, a vital expanse of virgin tropical forest was at risk of clearing and conversion into cropland. Home to one of the largest remaining cloud forests in Central America, the area provided critical habitat to many rare and endangered species of amphibians, plants and birds. Some of these species lived nowhere else on Earth, and their fate intertwined with the fate of this forest.
The organization identified an experienced local Guatemalan partner called Defensores de La Naturaleza (Defenders of Nature) and raised the funds needed to carry out its first conservation project. At a cost of only $4 per acre, Rainforest Trust supported the purchase of the 11,000-acre Sierra de las Minas Reserve. This initial protection then catalyzed the creation of one of the most important protected areas in Central America, the 600,000-acre Sierra de Las Minas Biosphere Reserve. Today, this reserve is still managed by the same local partner. The reserve’s mountains span and protect a variety of ecosystems, from subtropical thorn forests to majestic cloud forests.