Wild Optimism: Insights from the Front Lines of Global Conservation

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The Partner Survey

In November of 2023, Rainforest Trust conducted an anonymous survey of its conservation implementing partners in 50 countries around the globe, using an external agency for this purpose. As a leading funder of local and national conservation NGOs in the tropics and subtropics of the Global South, Rainforest Trust works with organizations around the world to create legally recognized, protected or conserved areas for biodiversity conservation, climate stabilization, and people.

The goal of this survey—the first of an annual series—was to understand our partners’ collective perspectives on the current state of global conservation. We wanted to hear more—in their own words—about the strategies our partners employ to achieve successful conservation results, collaborate with Indigenous and local communities, and address the most significant barriers to conservation.


For Members of the Media

Download the Partner Survey Electronic Media Kit, which includes Rainforest Trust branding information, the official press release, Q&A, Biodiversity Notes, Spokesperson Biographies, and various infographics and photos for media use.

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Respondents identified these key areas of conservation deserving of our focus.

Conservation Practices That Work

  • Protecting standing forests
  • Global initiatives like 30×30 are having a positive impact on their conservation work
  • Reliable, long-term funding
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Climate education and awareness
  • Developing long-term, mutually respectful relationships with Indigenous and local communities

Barriers to Effective Conservation

  • Lack of political will and commitment (both regulatory and financial) from governments to implement conservation
  • Need for more and longer-term financial support from global sources
  • Habitats are under more climate stress than three years ago
  • Species in their region are at near-term or at immediate risk from the impacts of climate change
  • Impact of poverty on local communities

Survey Highlights


Agree that habitats are under more stress from climate change than they were just 3 years ago.


Believe that collaborating with Indigenous and local communities enhances conservation outcomes.


Depend upon funding from NGOs, and clearly indicated the necessity for sustained financial support.

Malayan Tiger, by Matthew T Griffith


Agree that species are in near-term or immediate risk from the impacts of climate change.

An elder Matsés in Peru, photo by CEDIA


Rate their organization's communication and relationship-building efforts with Indigenous and local community leaders as good or excellent.


Indicate their organizations are actively participating or planning to engage in global carbon offset programs.

Strategic Initiatives

At present, our strategic goals reflect the urgency of biodiversity loss and climate change in the Global South. Special focus areas include the largest rainforests still standing on Earth – the Brazilian Amazon, Congo Basin, and Papua New Guinea – where we have grown our pipeline of projects 2,500% from three projects in 2021 to 77 projects in the pipeline currently, to save millions of acres of high-integrity tropical forest.





Study Methodology

The anonymous survey link was distributed to 207 individuals working at local and national NGOs across 50 countries in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The 10-minute survey fielded from October 27 – November 13, 2023. A total of 137 responses were collected (over 65% response rate).

Our partners surveyed range from the smallest local organizations fighting to keep outsiders from destroying their environments to national NGOs creating wildlife corridors spanning millions of acres. But the majority of them fall somewhere in between. Of respondents to the survey, 67% of them work for an organization with fewer than 50 employees. We work with committed conservationists and dedicated local professionals who know the land, species, communities and challenges of their regions.

The individuals surveyed were given the opportunity to share their insights and experiences through standard questions as well as individual (anonymous) comments. Their input was sought by Rainforest Trust to inform our critical conservation activities in important ecosystems around the world.

The survey was managed by an external agency, Coax Insights, to ensure complete anonymity. Neither Rainforest Trust nor any third parties, including the press or host governments, had or will have access to specific responses. The survey results were analyzed for averages and trends.

We are committed to providing lasting, on-the-ground conservation solutions, which cannot succeed without the ongoing partnerships we deeply value. The results of the partner survey are critical to understanding the methods that work, those that don’t, and how to reach the future we aspire to, together.

Jaguar, by Pedro Helder Pinheiro

Read Our Strategic Plan Update

In January 2021, Rainforest Trust embarked on an extraordinarily ambitious five-year Strategic Plan with formidable goals and objectives spanning all aspects of our work. Here we report on progress towards achieving those goals and objectives at the halfway point, June 30, 2023.

Read Our Strategic Plan UpdateRead Our Strategic Plan Update

The Rainforest Trust Impact

Rainforest Trust saves endangered wildlife and protects our planet by creating rainforest reserves through partnerships, community engagement and donor support.

So far, we have protected more than 46.3 million acres by establishing protected areas in partnership with local organizations and engaged communities across more than 72 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia-Pacific.

Our Impact

100% of your money goes to save habitat and protect threatened species.

Our Board members and other supporters cover our operating costs, so you can give knowing your whole gift will protect rainforests.

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