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Our Strategies: How We Do It

We believe that the survival of the forest depends on the fate of its guardians. We protect both.

For a forest to survive and thrive, it needs biological diversity, clean and abundant water, and large stretches of connected lands. For the guardians to be healthy, they need not only basic things such as food, water, and medicine, but also security and stability. Self-determination and strong traditional cultures allow forest people to flourish and protect their lands.

Our efforts begin in the field. We ask our partners what they want, what they need, and what they envision for their future. They identify which lands are most important to them, and they tell us what they need to protect them. From these discussions, we develop strategic courses of action - what we call initiatives - that lead us together towards our goals.


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Land: Safeguard the forests and all that is in them

Land Initiatives

Our Land initiatives are focused on ensuring that the forest, including its biodiversity, waters, and resources, is managed and protected for long-term health. Along with local communities, we combat threats to the land. We give our partners tools to closely monitor and care for their ecosystems. We encourage sustainable land-use practices. We seek to increase legally recognized protected areas, such as indigenous reserves, as a further shield against forest destruction.

Land: The Connected Forest

Satellite images of our work areas are very powerful tools to track deforestation, revealing patterns we might not otherwise notice.

Images of the great Caquetá and Putumayo rivers, as they flow east from the Colombian Andes, show us how forests have become increasingly fragmented over the years. A mosaic of indigenous reserves, endangered forests, mega-agricultural projects, national parks, and degraded lands exist side by side. Some parks are too remote to be effectively guarded. Some reserves are too small to sustain their communities.

How can we reconnect the rain forest?

A Land strategy for Colombia creates connected corridors of protected areas. We work for the legal expansion of indigenous reserves, especially as buffer zones alongside the parks, and we help create detailed land management plans to ensure sustainability. With proper support, communities can often reclaim their ancestral territories, and restore their forests and river valleys.

The work of connectivity is a slow and deliberate process, involving collaboration on a massive scale. A corridor of protected areas along more than thirty-seven thousand square miles of Amazon watersheds was connected, via legal reserve expansions, in December of 2017.