Last month, we reached a milestone in our efforts to conserve the biodiversity and cultural integrity of the Andes and Amazon – 100 areas protected!
And now, in celebration of World Environment Day, we reflect on this accomplishment, and the challenges ahead.
As studies have shown, securing legal status either as a protected area or indigenous titled land is a cornerstone of biodiversity conservation. And ecosystems in the Andes-Amazon interface are of particular importance. They house a spectacular array of species and capture and recycle the most significant source of freshwater on the planet. A disruption to this environmental service would change the world’s climate, but we continue to see progress and clear signs of hope.
In January of last year, we celebrated reaching 20 million acres conserved. Since then, we’ve had the privilege to celebrate the conservation of an additional 5.8 million acres of diverse ecosystems.
Together, they add up to an area larger than the country of Iceland.
Since our inception in 2015, we’ve witnessed the exceptional achievements that are possible when a passion to protect wild places and the people who depend on them is met with a drive to work together to make it happen. The relationship between our partners, hard-working grantees, local leaders and communities, along with the support of governments and donors, has led to the creation of this spectacular array of conservation areas that range from national parks to community-managed reserves.
On this World Environment Day, we at Andes Amazon Fund want to join the celebration with the pride and excitement of contributing with our mission to the care of the planet. We also want to celebrate our partners, because without them, our efforts would remain as only aspirations. But there is so much more still to be done to keep these areas protected over time and to conserve many more special places before they are lost. Our commitment to safeguarding the communities, species and resources of the Andes and Amazon will only grow stronger from here.