The Rainforest Trust plays a critical role in protecting the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems—for both wildlife and people—from destruction. Read this story to learn more about how The Rainforest Trust is protecting nature and supporting indigenous people as we partner with local and indigenous communities, NGOs and governments to protect over eight million acres of rainforest.
What is The Rainforest Trust?
Founded in 1989, The Rainforest Trust is the only international conservation organization currently working in all regions of Latin America. Through a hands-on public-private partnership, The Rainforest Trust carries out local initiatives that allow communities to conserve their land, through establishing conservation protected areas, combating illegal deforestation and other threats, supporting emerging and indigenous leaders, and promoting activities that support sustainable livelihoods in and around rainforests.The Rainforest Trust currently protects over eight million acres of rainforest, making it the largest U.S. based non-profit organization focusing on purchasing rainforest land. The Trust is also the only U.S. nonprofit that works in Latin America to protect rainforest land and communities, carry out conservation and education programs, and support emerging and indigenous leaders.The Rainforest Trust’s land protection program is focused on the world’s 24 most biodiverse areas, known as ecoregions. ecoregions are larger areas that contain unique life forms—animals and plants—found nowhere else on earth. The Trust’s goal is to protect at least 2.5 million acres of each of these 24 ecoregions by 2020.Over the past 20 years, The Trust has protected over 1.8 million acres in Latin America alone. All of the land is a combination of working ranches and natural areas protected in perpetuity by in-situ conservation and land purchasing.Nearly all of the Trust’s projects are community-owned and community-managed, which means land is protected for the long-term. Land preservation and management of the area or a region of forest includes indigenous communities with land tenure recognized by the relevant governments.
How does The Rainforest Trust work to protect the Amazon rainforest?
With the largest rainforest ecosystem on earth, the Amazon contains one-fifth of the planet’s plant and animal species. It is also home to over 350 Indigenous Peoples who speak about 400 different languages. Not only are there specific cultural landscapes and indigenous ways of life to be protected and conserved in the Amazon, there are also the extraordinary plants and animals that present the world with its greatest opportunity for life on the planet. The Amazon is a single integrated ecosystem and the solutions to its future living depend on working for its long-term protection. The Rainforest Trust cannot create a future for the Amazon without the many partners who have contributed to the conservation and growth of the region. The recent Amazon wildfires, largely caused by slashing-and-burning agriculture, have shown the depth of the need for the Amazon’s protection. Fortunately, the Amazon is remarkably resilient. An area of rainforest the size of a football field is lost every ten seconds, yet it is growing by the size of a football field every minute. And we have already seen the forest bounce back from devastating wildfires with little evidence of lasting impact. So with your support for the Amazon rainforest, The Rainforest Trust is poised to give back clean water, work for more reforestation and help preserve the areas’ biodiversity. Learn more about the challenges and hopes for the Amazon on our Climate Spin Blog.
What can you do to help save the world’s rainforests?
The Rainforest Trust is a strong supporter of working with indigenous and local communities. Our land acquisition and conservation work occurs in collaboration with communities, ensuring that every aspect of our work complements and supports their long term stewardship. The trust strongly advocates the integrated approach to conservation, viewing local people as the key to rainforest protection. Our conservation efforts certainly are stronger when they include efforts to empower and provide benefits for local people.The Rainforest Trust takes the position that the world’s rainforests must be protected—for its people and nature. It is not a question of saving only the rainforest, but also the people of the rainforest. We work to build local capacity, protecting local habitats with the people whose lives depend on them. We are dedicated to working in a way that respects a local community’s cultural beliefs and promotes optimal long term livelihoods for all the communities we work with.A big challenge to this integrated approach is the fact that the people of the Amazon—and South America’s rainforests generally—face many challenges. According to a recent study by the Institute for Applied Ecology in Cambridge, England, nearly half of the region’s forests have been lost in the last 40 years. Moreover, unlike the rest of the Amazon, in Peru, Brazil and other countries the majority of deforestation is not left to chance and is more deliberate and systematically planned. The indigenous people who live in the Amazon and depend on the land and forests for their livelihoods have been particularly hard hit by deforestation and land degradation.Be sure to read more about our work in the Amazon in our “Rainforest News” column.
What is The Rainforest Trust doing to address deforestation and protect biodiversity in the Amazon?
The Rainforest Trust’s campaign to protect the Amazon has two main components:acquire and permanently conserve rainforest and other lands that local Indigenous Peoples depend on for their livelihood and allow for future development of rainforestprotect the forest’s biodiversityThe Rainforest Trust has a strong history of working with local and indigenous communities, understanding that these are the very people who will protect the rainforest for future generations.
What conservation projects is The Rainforest Trust funding in the Amazon?
Funding has been allocated for conservation projects in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, Argentina, French Guiana, The Guianas, Mexico, Venezuela, Guyana, French Guiana, Venezuela, and the Amazon Basin. These projects include acquisition and protection of land, working ranches, and research projects. In Peru, the majority of the Trust’s project area is located in the departments of Madre de Dios and Puno, most of which are made up of tropical moist forests and rainforests. The Trust also has projects in the departments of Amazonas, Cajamarca, Loreto, Piura, La Libertad, San Martin, and Huancavelica. In Brazil, The Trust is working in the states of Acre and Pará. Outside of Peru and Brazil, The Trust works in Bolivia, Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.
How can you get involved in supporting The Rainforest Trust, South America?
Please make a donation directly or buy Endangered Earth Clothing products to enable The Rainforest Trust to carry on its work of preventing deforestation, protecting biodiversity, and ensuring the long-term survival of the planet’s most amazing rainforests.