In 2018, Rainforest Trust helped purchase multiple properties including a 119-acre parcel — about the size of Vatican City — to expand the Cerro Amay-Chimel Cloud Forest Preserve in Guatemala. The preserve was just created last year, when Rainforest Trust and local partner Fundación para el Ecodesarrollo y la Conservación (FUNDAECO) purchased six properties totaling 995 acres within the Cerro Amay Cloud Forest, which is among the largest areas of intact forest left in Central America.
“This new land purchase in Cerro Amay is another critical step in our efforts to halt the threats to this unique habitat,” said Rainforest Trust CEO Dr. Paul Salaman. “This project will also benefit local communities as it will help promote ecotourism and implement sustainability initiatives in the surrounding indigenous villages.”
As a tropical montane cloud forest that sits atop a limestone plateau, the Cerro Amay Cloud Forest yields a spectacular and biodiverse refuge for native wildlife and flora. The preserve safeguards threatened species such as the Critically Endangered Guatemala Spikethumb Frog, Yucatán Black Howler Monkey and the Endangered Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey. Several salamanders new to science have also been discovered in this region.
Despite this ecosystem holding significant biodiversity value, extensive road building and deforestation have occurred since protection efforts began in 2008. Loggers currently extract cloud forest oaks at an estimated rate of three to four truckloads per week on the main access road. To combat this degradation, Rainforest Trust and its local partner will continue to make strategic land purchases to expand the Cerro Amay-Chimel Cloud Forest Preserve through 2019.