Join Us in Celebrating Biodiversity for Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day from all of us at Amazon Conservation!

We appreciate all you have done over the past weeks to honor nature and support biodiversity protection this Earth Month. In honor of Earth Day, join us in celebrating the one-of-a-kind biodiversity of the rainforest. We invite you to take a moment to reflect on the global and local importance of this region and how you can take action to help protect this unique biodiversity. 

The Amazon gives us up to 20% of the air we breathe, stores 25% of the world’s water, and stabilizes the Earth’s climate. A thriving Amazon matters to the people and wildlife living there, the countries it encompasses, and the world.  Together we can empower people to become champions for our environment, protect millions of acres of wild places, and put science and technology to work for conservation.

How YOU can make a real impact: 

  • Support real work on the ground by making a contribution to honor nature and support biodiversity protection. Better yet, set up a recurring donation this Earth Day by marking your gift as “Monthly” and join our community of conservation heroes working together to build a collective movement to sustain the long-term conservation of the Amazon.
  • Plant your seed today – at no cost to you today – to support long-term conservation goals by including Amazon Conservation in your will or trust. Create your will for free today.
  • Enlist your friends and family in protecting the Amazon by creating a crowdfunding campaign this Earth Month!
  • Spread the word about the importance of the Amazon with your friends and community by including us in your Giving Circle. Reach out to us at info@amazonconservation.org for more information.
  • Maximize your impact on the planet by checking if your contribution is eligible for a match from your employer, by making a contribution from your Donor-Advised Fund, or by aligning your business with our mission by becoming a Business Partner. Learn more about these various Ways to Give here.
  • Did you know we accept donations of stock, cryptocurrency, and Qualified Charitable Distributions? Learn more about these various Ways to Give here or reach out to donations@amazonconservation.org with any questions.

 

By joining our on-the-ground conservation efforts, you are helping us work across boundaries to combat nature crimes to safeguard nature and biodiversity for all who depend on the forest.

By supporting sustainable production, you are empowering local people and strengthening forest-based economies as an essential step in improving the well-being of local communities, safeguarding nature, and protecting the region’s rich biodiversity.

This Earth Day, remember that your favorite local natural spot is connected to ecosystems near and far, including the Amazon. Protecting the rainforest’s diverse ecosystems and biodiversity helps protect wildlife, people, and ways of life across the planet. 

Thank you for standing with us this Earth Day to honor nature, protect biodiversity, and improve the well-being of local people!

 

 

MAAP: Illegal roads and Deforestation in Indigenous Reserves & National Parks of the Colombian Amazon

Primary forests in the Colombian Amazon are at risk from a variety of drivers such as illegal roads, which expose them to further threats of deforestation due to cattle pastures, land grabbing, and coca production. These illegal roads threaten protected areas, national parks, and Indigenous territories (referred to as  Resguardos in Colombia).

Our newest report, MAAP #211, documents these impacts in two important areas in the heart of the Colombian Amazon: the Llanos del Yari-Yaguara II Indigenous Reserve and the adjacent Chiribiquete National Park. In the Llanos del Yari-Yaguara II Indigenous Reserve, the construction of a new road is causing massive deforestation within and adjacent to the territory (856 hectares, or 2,115 acres, in total). In Chiribiquete National Park, we see the expansion of deforestation of 64 hectares (158 acres) along an illegal road penetrating the northwest sector of this important protected area.

In the report, we show a series of satellite images for both cases.

Read the full report here.

 

 

Sustainable Production: Safeguarding Nature to Improve the Well-Being of Local People

This month, we continue to celebrate Earth Month by honoring nature and all of the unique biodiversity and resources that the Amazon offers us. Do you know some of the most exotic, healthy, and sustainable fruits that come to us from the Amazon? From Brazil nuts to açaí berries, the forest is full of nutritious goods that are the key to improving the well-being of local families while also keeping forests intact. 

Sustainable production – which we also refer to as forest-based economy or bioeconomy – means harvesting naturally growing fruits and nuts from forests that are healthy and thriving rather than exploiting monocultures of a single product that quickly depletes the forest. It means diversifying products to support a biodiverse ecosystem that is resilient and able to adapt to the changing climate as well as providing local harvesters with a steady source of income year-round with varying harvest cycles. 

Support Sustainable Production to Protect Biodiversity

As an integral part of our work to prioritize a forest-based economy across the region, sustainable production also means empowering local producers and families by providing the capacity, tools, and infrastructure that support a sustainable forest-based economy, higher and more stable income, safer harvesting conditions, and improved well-being for local families. As we expand this successful economic model to more communities across the Bolivian Amazon, we have simultaneously supported the growth of local producer associations and their resilience to the impacts of climate change by helping develop local platforms like the Amazon Fruit and Climate Change Observatory

Supporting sustainable production also greatly benefits the Amazon and its vast biodiversity by promoting the sustainable use of natural resources and reinforcing the value of keeping forests healthy and standing. In addition, the success of forest-based economies across the region demonstrates their viability as an alternative to destructive economic activities like mining and logging. A successful forest-based economy centered on sustainable production goes hand in hand with improving the well-being of local people while protecting the sustainable resources of the Amazon for generations to come. 

Learn more about the benefits of building a forest-based economy here.

Your contribution this Earth Month strengthens sustainable production and protects biodiversity across the Amazon

Over the next decade, Amazon Conservation aims to create a true forest-based, climate-resilient economy across 37 million acres of the Amazon by strengthening local communities to fully benefit from the sustainable production of forest-friendly products provided by these rich forests. 

To achieve this goal, we are working on the ground alongside local Amazonian communities to optimize the sustainable production of Brazil nuts, acai berries, and other potential goods by helping add value to the products they harvest, diversifying their economic activities, and establishing climate-smart strategies that build resilience and adaptability for them and their forests.

Thank you for standing with us this Earth Month to honor nature, protect biodiversity, and improve the well-being of local people by supporting sustainable production!

 

 

 

Combating Nature Crimes: Safeguarding Nature and Biodiversity

April is not just a time for spring blossoms and warmer weather—it’s also Earth Month, a time to reflect on our planet’s incredible biodiversity and the urgent need to protect it. The Amazon’s rich biodiversity and all that depend on it – including local families, wildlife, and the world’s ability to regulate climate change – are under threat from a variety of drivers, one of the most significant being nature crimes. These illegal activities, ranging from illegal wildlife trafficking to deforestation, not only pose a severe threat to the overall forest cover of the Amazon and ecosystems worldwide but also undermine the conservation efforts and progress that have taken decades to put in place. 

As we delve into Earth Month, we want to highlight how combating these nature crimes is essential for safeguarding biodiversity and how our working as a founding member of the recently-established Nature Crime Alliance is a crucial next step in protecting biodiversity across the Amazon.

Deforestation: A Global Challenge

Some of the leading drivers of deforestation in the Amazon are criminal forms of logging, mining, fishing, wildlife trade, and land conversion. These nature crimes frequently converge with each other and other forms of international criminal activity. 

The region’s forests are biodiversity hotspots, teeming with life found nowhere else. However, rampant deforestation threatens this biodiversity, pushing species to the brink of extinction.

Combating deforestation requires a multifaceted approach since local law enforcement and environmental agencies responsible for addressing nature crimes are often underfunded, understaffed, overworked, and exacerbated by how commonplace corruption is. With this myriad of challenges in fighting illegal activities, joint efforts between civil society organizations, local communities, and governments are crucial to effectively combat the alarmingly increasing rates of illegal deforestation and nature crimes through real-time satellite monitoring, swift action on the ground, and reinforcing local land and territorial rights.

Through our Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Program and our integral role with the Nature Crime Alliance, we are working alongside local families, Indigenous communities, and regional governmental agencies to quickly identify and halt harmful economic activities that contribute to deforestation, offering a path toward both climate action and biodiversity preservation.

The Price of Biodiversity Loss

Biodiversity is the foundation of all healthy ecosystems. It encompasses all living organisms from microscopic bacteria to towering trees — each of which plays a vital role in maintaining ecological balance. When biodiversity is lost, ecosystems become vulnerable. This vulnerability extends to the well-being of humans, impacting our food security, water quality, and resilience to natural disasters.

Nature crimes drastically affect biodiversity loss by directly targeting unique species and key habitats. Poaching, for example, decimates populations of iconic species like the jaguar, Andean bear, and tropical birds. Deforestation, often driven by illegal logging, destroys the homes of countless plant and animal species. These crimes don’t just harm wildlife; they disrupt entire ecosystems, leading to a domino effect of environmental degradation.

The Link to Climate Change

Beyond the immediate loss of species and habitats, nature crimes have broader implications, including their contribution to climate change. Deforestation, for instance, not only destroys biodiversity-rich ecosystems but also releases stored carbon into the atmosphere, intensifying the effects of global warming. 

Unchecked agricultural activities can also speed up the destruction of critical ecosystems, as experienced by communities in the Andean Highlands when over-grazing for wild alpacas and vicuñas destroyed a vulnerable wetland ecosystem. Preserving forests and other natural habitats is a vital strategy for mitigating climate change and protecting biodiversity simultaneously. 

Individual Actions for Collective Impact

While these challenges may seem daunting, individuals can make a difference! Making a donation to Amazon Conservation’s sustainable conservation efforts and joining our Wild Keepers community of monthly givers are tangible ways to make an impact this Earth Month.

As we celebrate Earth Month, let’s remember that protecting biodiversity is not just an ecological issue; it’s a human imperative. Combating nature crimes, whether through tackling illegal wildlife trade, stopping illegal gold mining, or preserving forests, is fundamental to this mission. By safeguarding biodiversity, we not only protect the incredible variety of life on Earth but also secure a healthier, more resilient future for generations to come. This Earth Month, let’s stand together as stewards of the Amazon and of our planet, committed to halting nature crimes and to preserving the rainforest’s precious biodiversity for all.

Your contribution this Earth Month helps protect biodiversity across the Amazon

New MAAP Report Shows Before and After Photos of Mining Raid in Venezuela

Last year,  in collaboration with the organization SOS Orinoco, we published an urgent report about illegal mining on top of a sacred tepui in the heart of Yapacana National Park in the Venezuelan Amazon (MAAP #169). These Tepuis are stunning table-top mountains found in northern South America and are considered sacred by indigenous groups of the region.

MAAP #169 documented 425 illegal mining data points (consisting of mining camps and machinery) on top of the tepui, indicating an organized and large-scale operation. Given the importance of this finding, the Washington Post published a high-profile article on the subject in December of 2022, further exposing the severity of the illegal mining on the tepui. In response, the Venezuelan government conducted a military operation against the illegal mining activity on the tepui.

Here, in MAAP #207, we show a series of very high-resolution satellite images taken during the raid (December 2022) versus one year later (January 2024). The images reveal that all illegal mining camps and equipment on top of the tepui have been dismantled.

While this removal of illegal mining activity from the tepui marks an important victory for Amazon conservation in Venezuela, we also show illegal mining continues in surrounding areas within and outside the Yapacana National Park.

Read the full report here.

 

Honor Nature and Support Biodiversity Protection this Earth Month

Thank you honoring nature with us this Earth Month!

Throughout April, we are stepping outside and taking the time to appreciate all the beautiful flora and fauna that surrounds us. In line with appreciating our environment this Earth Month, we are asking our supporters to help us protect the incredible biodiversity of one of the planet’s most critical ecosystems: the Amazon.

A thriving Amazon matters to the people and wildlife who live there, the countries it encompasses, and the entire world. As the single largest tropical rainforest on the planet, the Amazon is an immensely diverse region that serves key roles both locally and globally. Not only is this forest home to more than 10% of the world’s known wildlife species and the ancestral homelands to more than 400 tribes, but it is also a vital resource for traditional and modern medicine, including vaccines and cancer treatment, and a major force as a global climate regulator and carbon sink.

Your favorite local natural spot is connected to ecosystems near and far, including the Amazon. Protecting the rainforest’s diverse ecosystems and biodiversity helps protect wildlife, people, and ways of life across the planet. 

 

What happens in the forest doesn’t stay in the forest; it affects all of us across the globe. Now is the time to take action for nature and biodiversity

 

To honor nature and protect biodiversity this Earth Month, explore these 5 quick and easy ways that you can make a difference:

1. Create your legacy today to honor the Amazon for generations to come: This Earth Month, you have the unique chance to cultivate a lasting legacy, one that provides a protective canopy for plants, animals, and communities for generations to come. By including Amazon Conservation in your will or trust, you’re not just sowing seeds for change; you’re nurturing a future where the vibrant ecosystems of the Amazon and the diverse communities that call it home thrive together, safeguarded by your foresight and generosity. Plant your roots for the future by creating your free plan today. If you have already included Amazon Conservation in your will or trust, let us know by filling out this quick form!

2. Spread appreciation for nature and the Amazon’s biodiversity through your Giving Circle: Are you part of a Giving Circle or community of Doers committed to making the world a better place? Share why you want to help protect the Amazon with your friends, family, and followers to maximize our conservation impact. Even better, invite us to speak with your group about how we are working for a thriving Amazon! Send us an email to find out more.

3. Become a Wild Keeper to honor nature and protect biodiversity throughout the year: When you donate to Amazon Conservation every month, you are providing the sustainable support we need to ensure the longevity of our programs on the ground across the rainforest. Starting your monthly donation of any amount in honor of nature and Earth Month facilitates your giving plans and deepens your impact because recurring gifts help us plan for ongoing support of our most essential conservation efforts with long-term impacts. By becoming a Wild Keeper, you are joining a global community of champions of biodiversity working together to take collective action for nature and to protect biodiversity in the Amazon and beyond. Learn more about what it means to join our community of Wild Keepers here.

4. Honor nature through your business and grow your brand’s impact: Being a business supporter of Amazon Conservation’s mission is a great way for your businesses to give back to the planet and leave a lasting positive impact on nature. Our business partners support our work in a variety of ways, from corporate donations and fundraisers to events and workplace giving. Find out more about business partnerships here or send us an email to start giving back.

5. Find other ways to honor nature and grow your impact for Earth Month: Do you know the variety of ways you can make your contribution to Amazon Conservation count? Check out our Ways to Give page and explore if your contribution might qualify for a match from your employer, explore other donation means that could mean bigger tax benefits, or consider sharing your love for nature and the Amazon by selecting “I Want To Fundraise for This” on our Donation Page to start a Peer to Peer Fundraiser to raise funds to protect biodiversity in the Amazon.

Honor Nature and Support Biodiversity Protection Today!


 

Giving Amazonian Animals a Voice Through Children’s Comics

“What’s your favorite animal?”

This is the question that team members from our Bolivian sister organization Conservación Amazónica – ACEAA asked children from local communities in the Amazon to understand how they are connected to their environment. To their surprise, most of the answers they received were elephants, giraffes, and lions, as opposed to locally found species such as the jaguar or giant otter.

To encourage these children to learn more about their local environment, Conservación Amazónica – ACEAA created a series of comics to tell the stories of Amazonian animals called “Once Upon a Time in Your Forest.” In these comics, these animals in the Amazon tell stories of their habitats, and how certain conflicts with humans affect their food sources, shelter, and overall environment. By telling these stories from the animal’s perspective, these children can gain a better understanding of respecting their habitat and learning to coexist with these species. Executive Director of Conservación Amazónica – ACEAA Marcos Terán explained that “it is important to encourage children’s relationships with nature. The educational curriculum should promote this with the support of the teachers, with the aim that future generations respect their environment by making conscious use of natural resources.”

The most recent comic No. 5 tells the story of the Anteater, who details his role in the ecosystem, threats to his species, and the importance of conservation spaces to protect their habitats.

English copies are now available to download! Copies in Spanish can be found here.

 

View the rest of Conservación Amazónica – ACEAA’s comics

Conservación Amazónica – ACEAA Teaches Young Students the Importance of Protecting Water Resources

Our Bolivian sister organization Conservación Amazónica – ACEAA recently organized an environmental education training workshop with the Cobija Municipal Environmental Brigade and the Cobija Water and Sanitation Company (EPSAS) to educate young 4th and 5th-grade students about the importance of caring for their water systems that stem from Arroyo Bahía: the main water source for Cobija and surrounding communities. 

This workshop was part of an ongoing project to help protect and manage water resources from the Arroyo Bahía Conservation Area (a conservation area we helped create in 2022 known as the Natural Area of Comprehensive Management of the Arroyo Bahía Basin – ANGICAB). Since the creation of ANGICAB in April of 2022, the Autonomous Municipal Government of Cobija, in alliance with Conservación Amazónica- ACEAA and funded by the World Wildlife Fund – Sweden, launched the project titled Protegiendo el Arroyo Bahía, Garantizamos Agua para Cobija (Protecting the Arroyo Bahía, We Guarantee Water for Cobija). Through this project that began in April 2023, they intend to continue helping the residents of Cobija apply measures and actions that promote the conservation of ANGICAB, take advantage of non-timber forest resources, and collect solid waste in the ANGICAB and its area of influence for subsequent recycling. 

The workshop carried out by the Cobjija Municipal Environmental Brigade  and EPSAS aimed at educating these young students to understand where their water comes from, the value of the ANGICAB protected area, and impactful changes they can implement in their daily routine to save water in their homes. The following topics were also covered during this workshop: 

  • Getting to know the ANGICAB Protected Area
  • Economic importance of Amazonian species 
  • Managing forests, water resources and watersheds 
  • Reducing pollution in water sources
  • Climate change, resilience and adaptation

Since Arroyo Bahía is the main water source  for the entire city of Cobija, its protection and correct  management of existing natural resources is very important to guarantee access to clean water for its residents. Teaching them the values of ANGICAB highlights the importance of conserving these bodies of water and the forests that surround them to ensure a healthy and natural ecosystem, along with the fauna and flora that inhabit them.

Multiple education trainings and workshops meetings have been held for teachers, educational students and young people from different groups since the beginning of this project, and has shown relative success in changing attitudes towards the integrity of ANGICAB. By raising awareness for this protected area, surrounding communities can help keep their water sources safe and protected for both the residents and wildlife that depend on them. 

Conservación Amazónica – ACCA Receives Approval for Phase One of New Conservation Area in Puno

Photo by Conservación Amazónica – ACCA

On March 15th, the first stage of the creation process for the Selva Verde – Santo Domingo de Puno Regional Conservation Area was approved by the Peruvian National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (SERNANP). This marks the completion of one of four stages defined by SERNANP to create a conservation area, which begins with the systematization of physical and biological information, cartographic analysis of the area, and a financial sustainability commitment letter signed by the Regional Governor of Puno. The Manager of the Regional Government of Puno, Wilman Mendoza Quipe, indicated his agreement and joy at achieving this important milestone as part of the process of establishing this regional conservation area.

This proposed conservation area consists of 109,000 hectares of forests located in the buffer zone of the Bahuaja Sonene National Park, and overlaps the “Bahuaja Sonene” Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) and two regional priority sites, known as “Selva Verde” and “Santo Domingo.” Among the most notable characteristics presented by this proposal, a representative sample of pristine forests of the Bolivian Yungas Ecoregion will be protected, which only exists in the Puno Region, and is the habitat of various endangered species such as the woolly monkey, the woolly night monkey, the jaguar, the spectacled bear, and the tapir among others.

Photo by César A. Vega / PromPerú

Although no notable human activity has been identified within the proposed area, an increase in deforestation has been observed in adjacent areas, destined mainly for illicit coca growing and the presence of mining activity on the left bank of the Inambari River outside the proposed conservation area, which poses a threat to the integrity of the surrounding forests.

Ronald Catpo, Conservation Director of Conservación Amazónica – ACCA, stated that this approval of the first phase marks a significant step towards the conservation and protection of biodiversity in the Puno region. Likewise, he reaffirmed the commitment of all parties involved in the protection of our natural resources.

Helping a Local Community Consolidate Cacao Production for the International Market

Our Peruvian sister organization Conservación Amazónica – ACCA has been helping the Agroforestry Association of the Infierno Native Community in Madre de Dios, Peru, strategize ways to advance their cacao production to enter the international market. On February 16th, the association held an exchange of experiences at the facilities of the Agrobosque Cooperative to develop a strategy to increase production volumes and access international markets. This meeting followed a recent meeting with the directors of the Agrobosque Cooperative on February 12th, in which they established purchase agreements for cacao produced by the community. 

The Agroforestry Association of the Infierno Native Community has 21 hectares (about 52 acres) of agroforestry systems dedicated to the cultivation of cacao, in addition to having a processing plant with the capacity to process 19 thousand kilos (41,888 pounds) of cacao pulp per month.  Partnering with the Agrobosque Cooperative would help provide them with technical support in the post-harvest processes, delivery of quality cacao, and the opportunity to obtain and maintain organic certification for crops associated with their agroforestry systems. Additionally, this exchange of experiences helped them open doors to jointly participate in various trade promotion activities and business conferences at the national level.

Thanks to the technical advice provided by Conservación Amazónica – ACCA and funding from the EROL Foundation,  the Infierno Native Community can develop a solid commercial strategy, enabling them to make their agroforestry production profitable and actively participate in fairs and business roundtables at the national level, such as local fairs and the ExpoAmazónica. This articulated work in collaboration with Agrobosque is important for local communities, such as the Infierno Native Community, to potentially increase profits upon entering the international market.