Sites of high biodiversity value in Latin America and the Caribbean are often divided into small, privately owned parcels, and land purchase has proved an effective way of conserving species and habitat, and the ecosystem services these provide.
Purchasing land for protection is one way in which species and ecosystem services can be conserved. Protected areas have for example been linked with lower species extinction risk (Butchart et al. 2012), increased climatic suitability in future climate scenarios (Araujo et al. 2013) and important “establishing centres” for newly colonising birds (Hiley et al. 2013).
BirdLife Partners in the Americas have identified priority areas for land purchase, including the Bahoruco-Jaragua dry forest corridor in the Dominican Republic, and San Rafael in the Atlantic Forest of Paraguay.
At the end of 2010, the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation agreed to support the purchase and management of at least 474 hectares of land in these areas. The AVJCF grant has enabled the BirdLife Partners to obtain matched funding from other sources.
By the end of 2012, 17 hectares of excellent natural forest had been purchased in the Bahoruco-Jaragua corridor, with another 44 hectares close to completion. BirdLife Affiliate Grupo Jaragua is negotiating with the owners of forest adjacent to these properties, and with the extra funds that have been raised, they expect to reach their target of 168 hectares. In Paraguay, BirdLife Partner Guyra Paraguya has acquired 274 hectares of San Rafael's Atlantic Forest under system of co-ownership (condominio) with Indigenous people resident in the forest.
Long-term management of the purchased lands will be funded through the development of sustainable financing mechanisms. At San Rafael, already-secured private sector support for a Payment for Ecosystem Services scheme, and a mix of private and foundation funds are being used to establish a trust fund. Eco-tourism opportunities are being investigated at all three sites.
Co-management structures for local governance are being developed with the Indigenous community at San Rafael and the national parks agency in Dominican Republic. At both sites, the BirdLife Partners are working closely with local stakeholders, including the local communities, to build a strong constituency to support conservation of the remaining forest, and to ensure that they share in the benefits.
Compiled: 2015 Copyright: 2015
BirdLife International (2015) Purchasing and protecting key forest sites for nature conservation in the Americas. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/06/2018