Forest protection in Paraguay benefits climate and wildlife

San Rafael Forest © Guyra Paraguay

Guyra Paraguay (BirdLife in Paraguay) is combining carbon financing and payments for ecosystem services to cut emissions by more than 120,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent by 2030, as well as protecting 69,300 hectares of forest from agriculture in the San Rafael Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA). Communities are encouraged to practise sustainable farming, which enhances yields on cultivated land, thus increasing income and reducing the incentive for further forest clearance.

Land conversion and associated loss of primary forest within the San Rafael IBA, Paraguay, is occurring at concerning rates. The primary driver of land use change is soya cultivation, with the area being used for this crop having increased by 375% in the past 25 years. Forest cover in one community—La Amistad—has decreased by 52% in the past 12 years, with net emissions due to land use change being 286,030 tCO2e between 1997 and 2009. This level of habitat loss is also of concern as the San Rafael IBA is home to 329 bird species, representing 48% of the national species count and 79% of the countries forest endemic species (The Paraguay Forest Conservation Project 2010).

In order to prevent the emission of over 120,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent by 2030 within the La Amistad area—a contribution to the full project which hopes to prevent the emission of 800,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent across the San Rafael region—a payment for environmental services system has been set up within the Al Amstad community. It is hoped that this system will enable forest conservation, with an annual payment being given for standing forest, and a lesser rate for reforestation of areas. It is proposed that 75% of the payment will go to the landowner, whilst 25% will go to a community collective, with the aim of creating a sense of communal ownership over the forest (The Paraguay Forest Conservation Project 2010).

This case study is taken from ‘The Messengers: What birds tell us about threats from climate change and solutions for nature and people’. To download the report in full click here

Related Sites



The Paraguay Forest Conservation Project (2010) Reduction of GHG emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in the Paraná Atlantic ecosystem - Forest Projection in the La Amistad Community, San Rafael. Available at:

Compiled: 2015    Copyright: 2015   

Recommended Citation:
BirdLife International (2015) Forest protection in Paraguay benefits climate and wildlife. Downloaded from on 10/12/2023

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