Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sites for Rainforest acre purchase

#1. Beni Savanna, Bolivia

Project Aim

In collaboration with project partner Asociación Armonía, WLT aims to extend the area of savanna grassland by expanding the Barba Azul Nature Reserve.


How WLT is helping

The Barba Azul Nature Reserve in the grasslands of northern Bolivia was created in 2008 by Asociación Armonía with help from World Land Trust-US (WLT-US) and American Bird Conservancy (ABC).
Today the reserve covers 11,555 acres (4,676 hectares). It is the world's first protected area for the Blue-throated Macaw, a critically endangered species with a population estimated at just 350 birds. The reserve’s grassland habitat also protects other species including JaguarPuma and Maned Wolf.
Following a site visit by WLT to Bolivia in 2012, it became clear that another 15,711 acres (6,358 hectares) of ranch land adjacent to Barba Azul could be purchased to further extend the nature reserve.
WLT’s land purchase in Bolivia’s Beni savanna 2013 will be made in association with WLT-US, American Bird Conservancy and IUCN-Netherlands. The Loro Parque Fundación is providing logistical support.

Funding needed

This project is funded by WLT’s Buy an Acre fund from 2013. Funds will be used to purchase land adjacent to the existing nature reserve in order to protect threatened habitats.
Blue-throated Macaw
Blue-throated Macaw, a critically endangered species with a population estimated at just 350 birds, relies on Beni savanna. © Joe Tobias.

Biodiversity of the Beni savanna

The Beni savanna ecoregion is crossed by three major rivers, which flow into the Madeira River, the major southern tributary of the Amazon.
The Beni savanna contains five distinctive habitats: savanna, treed savanna (Cerrado), forest islands, gallery forests and marsh wetlands.
The region is subject to flooding due to seasonal rainfall combined with melt water from the Andes, and it is this cycle of inundation that creates the ecoregion’s distinctive mosaic of forested islands.
The critically endangered Blue-throated Macaw depends on the forest islands: it feeds primarily on the nuts of Motacu palm (Attalea phalerata), and the tree also provides nesting cavities.


Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), Pampas Deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus), Southern Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla), Black Howler Monkey (Alouatta nigerrima), Jaguar (Panthera onca), Puma (Puma concolor), and Capybara(Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris)


Blue throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis), White-bellied Nothuras (Nothura boraquira), Greater Rheas (Rhea americana), Southern Screamers (Chauna torquata), Plumbeous Ibis (Theristicus caerulescens),Crowned Eagles (Harpyhaliaetus coronatus), Long-tailed Ground Doves (Uropelia campestris), Golden-collared Macaws (Ara auricollis), Monk Parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus), and Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia)

Threats to the Beni savanna

For centuries the Beni savanna has suffered from logging and cattle ranching. The grasslands have been depleted by overgrazing and regular burning. Agribusiness has ‘enriched’ the savanna with non-native grassland species and the likely expansion of industrial farming for biofuel is another threat.
Forest island, Barba Azul Nature Reserve
Forest islands in Barba Azul Nature Reserve are found in higher ground and make up c15% of the reserve. The islands are dominated by palms, Attalea phalerata, which provide food and nesting cavities for the Blue-throated Macaw.

The reserve

Barba Azul

In 2008 World Land Trust-US (WLT-US) and American Bird Conservancy (ABC) helped Asociación Armonía to buy an 8,785 acre ranch (3,555 hectares) to create the Barba Azul Nature Reserve in the grasslands of northern Bolivia.
In 2010 Armonía extended the reserve by acquiring a second ranch, also with help from WLT-US and ABC. Today the Barba Azul reserve, which includes the river between the ranches, covers 11,555 acres (4,676 hectares).
Barba Azul Nature Reserve is now a focal point for research into the Blue-throated Macaw. The addition of another 15,711 acres (6,358 hectares) to the reserve is an exciting prospect, and the extra land will greatly improve the chances that this critically endangered species will survive and thrive.

#2. Chocó and other Rainforest, Colombia

Project Aim

In collaboration with programme partner ProAves, WLT aims to protect threatened Chocó Forest in Colombia and create a network of wildlife reserves.


Other projects in Colombia:

How WLT is helping

In 2009 the WLT helped to support the purchase of an extension to the El Pangan reserve. In 2011 ProAves became one of the partners to benefit from the Buy an Acre fund. Donations through this appeal now help purchase and protect reserves in some in the most threatened and most biodiverse areas of the Chocó. The purchase of strategic, pristine areas will ensure protection against further deforestation and habitat fragmentation, and so far through the Buy an Acre appeal, the WLT has funded the purchase of the Zamarritos de Pinche reserve.

Urgent funding needed

This project is funded by the Buy an Acre fund. Funds are needed to continue to purchase and protect threatened habitats identified by ProAves.
Spectacled Bear by Paul Salaman
The Spectacled Bear is one of the many species found in this diverse habitat. Photo © ProAves

Biodiversity of the Chocó

The Chocó is known to be the wettest environment on the planet and contains one of the highest concentrations of endemic species. The forests are also known to hold an extremely high number of species unknown to science.
Particular species in the area include:


Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus), and Jaguar (Panthera onca).


The Endangered Baudo Guan (Penelope ortoni), Chocó Vireo (Vireo masteri), Banded Ground Cuckoo (Neomorphus radiolosus) and Vulnerable Long-wattled Umbrellabird (Cephalopterus penduliger).

Threats to the Chocó

Increased access to the area has led to a significant increase in threats such as: gold-mining, clearing of forest for colonisation, unsustainable timber and natural resource exploitation. The area is also under threat from illicit drug cultivation.
El Pangan Reserve, Colombia
El Pangan Reserve protects sub-tropical Chocó rainforest in southern Colombia. © ProAves

The reserves

El Pangan

El Pangan Reserve protects sub-tropical forest in the Chocó rainforests of southern Colombia . The reserve also protects the Spectacled Bear,Jaguar and the Blue Pangan Poison Arrow Frog, which is restricted to the area.

Zamarritos de Pinche

The reserve contains habitats ranging from lowland tropical forests to paramó habitat at higher elevations and lies within the heart of the Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena biodiversity hotspot creating an important biological corridor. The reserve protects the Critically Endangered Gorgeted Puffleg (Eriocnemis isabellae) which was discovered and described in the area in 2007.

Rana Terribilis

In westernmost Colombia, WLT helped create the Rana Terribilis Amphibian Reserve in early 2012 to protect the Golden Poison Frog – considered the most poisonous vertebrate on Earth. The reserve lies in the Chocó Rainforest, situated along Colombi's pacific coast, one of the wettest tropical rainforests in the world. 


Giles-Fuertes Nature Reserve in an area of cloud forest in Central Colombia protects one of only two tiny surviving populations of Fuertes Parrot (Hapalopsittaca fuertesi). Despite the protection of the parrot’s core breeding colony, the encroachment of pasturelands into sensitive cloud forests surrounding the reserve further threatens key foraging and nesting areas. In 2012 WLT and other conservation organisations helped ProAves double the size of Giles-Fuerte Nature Reserve by adding 363 acres (147 hectares) to the existing reserve. 

Las Tangaras

Las Tangaras is one of the most diverse tropical forest sites on earth. It consists of humid forest, wet forest and lower montane forest ranging from 1,250 to 3,400 metres above sea level. The reserve was formed in 2009 to protect the Black-and-gold Tanager (Bangsia melanochlamys) and the Golden-ringed Tanager (Bangsia aureocinta). In 2013, funds donated to WLT have been used to  extend the reserve.

#3. The Ecuador Rainforests

Project Aim

The Ecuador Rainforests project aims to purchase and protect some of Ecuador's most threatened and biodiverse forests for conservation and management by WLT's partners.
The project safeguards critically important habitats for many of Ecuador's rarest bird species including the Jocotoco Antpitta, as well as a wide variety of other animals such as Jaguar and Howler Monkey.


Other projects in Ecuador:

How the WLT is helping

WLT has already helped all four of our partners in Ecuador save thousands of acres of tropical forests and other vital habitats that are now protected as nature reserves. This is providing a safe haven for a wealth of wildlife – from the Spectacled Bear to the Jaguar.

Urgent funding needed

Although WLT has previously supported all four Ecuadorian partners with Buy an Acre funds, WLT is currently only funding land purchase in southern Ecuador through Buy an Acre. These funds are being used in partnership with NCEcuador to create new nature reserves or extend existing ones.
Donations to support the conservation work of Fundación Jocotoco, Fundación EcoMinga and Fundación Pro-Bosque can be made to the Action Fund, with the partner's name in the comments box.
This successful expansion of reserves means our partners need greater support in ensuring the protection of the nature reserves and all their wildlife. Through the Keepers of the Wild appeal, WLT is putting more rangers in the field to protect the reserves from illegal loggers and hunters.
WLT's support for all four of our partners across Ecuador is creating a strong foundation for country-wide conservation success.
#4. Biodiversity of Sierra Gorda, Mexico

Project aim

The aim of the project is to permanently protect the biodiversity of Sierra Gorda by purchasing areas of threatened habitat that are still under private ownership to create wildlife reserves.


Other projects in Mexico:

How WLT is helping

WLT has already enabled GESG to purchase many reserves within Sierra Gorda and is continuing to raise funds to help GESG purchase and protect more wildlife habitat in this area of high biological importance.

Urgent funding needed

This project is funded through Buy an Acre. Funding is needed to purchase and protect more areas within Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve to ensure this unique habitat and its diverse wildlife remain protected.
White Eared Hummingbird
A White Eared Hummingbird flies past some Agaves flowers in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve © Roberto Pedraza Ruiz



2,300 species of vascular plants have been recorded within the reserve, including: Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Quaking Aspen(Populus tremuloides), Ceiba, Mayan Breadnut (Brosimum alicastrum), Tree Cholla, Elm, Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus echinocactus), Chapote (Diospyros texana) and Peyote (Lophophora diffusa).


Mexico’s richest area for mammal diversity with 131 recorded species including: Black Bear (Ursus americanus), Neotropical Otter (Lutra longicaudis), Porcupine (Coendu mexicanus), Kinkajou (Potus flavus) and Queretaro Pocket Gopher (Cratogeomys neglectus).
Sierra Gorda is home to all six cat species found in Mexico: Jaguar (Panthera onca), Puma (Puma concolor), Bobcat (Felis rufus), Margay (Leopardus wiedii), Ocelot (Felis pardalis) and Jaguarundi (Felis yagouaroundi).


327 species of birds have been recorded including: Military Macaw (Ara militaris), Great Curassow (Crax rubra), Bearded Wood-Partridge (Dendrortyx barbatu) and the Maroon-fronted Parrot (Rhynchopsitta terrisi).

Threats to Sierra Gorda

Although called a reserve, much of the land inside Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve boundaries is in private ownership and therefore unprotected.
  • Threats include: cattle ranching, slash and burn forest clearance, illegal hunting, timber extraction and inefficient agricultural practices which lead to soil erosion.
  • Mining and associated pollution, together with urban sprawl also threaten this biodiverse habitat.
El Jagueycito
El Jagueycito was the first reserve purchased through buy an acre funding. Wild Turkey, Turkey Vulture and signs of Puma have all been sighted on or near this reserve

The reserves

Las Arenitas, San Jose, Las Canalitas, La Tinaja de Climente, El Jagueycito, El Canón del Fresno, Cerro Prieto-Cerro La Luz, Cerro del Pino, Hoya Verde

Total Area supported by WLT: 5,596 acres (2,264 hectares)
As the habitat is so diverse these reserves cover a wide variation in terrain, plants and animal species.
GESG's work in Sierra Gorda also includes programmes with the local communities, such as community improvement and environmental education. In addition, GESG is involved with Sierra Gorda Eco-tours, an eco-tourism programme that reinvests the revenues generated back into the Reserve's environmental protection and community development programmes.