South America



Creating new protected areas for threatened species in rainforests, cloud forests and savannas, and uncovering new species in unexplored reaches of the continent.

South America



Creating new protected areas for threatened species in rainforests, cloud forests and savannas, and uncovering new species in unexplored reaches of the continent.

South America has a distinctive backbone in the form of the Andes, the longest continental mountain range in the world. This corrugated topography has provided fertile grounds for the formation of species, resulting in exceptional levels of richness of animals and plants found nowhere else in the world. If the Andes form the backbone, the Amazon is undoubtedly the lungs – one estimate indicates that around a fifth of the world’s oxygen is produced by this immense rainforest. The Atlantic Forest, stretching the entire length of Brazil, adds to the forest biodiversity, containing 5% of all the vertebrates on earth including the charismatic golden lion tamarin. And let’s not forget the savannas – an important ecosystem home to a rich diversity of unique and threatened species.

When it comes to amphibians – the most threatened vertebrate group – South America boasts the top four countries in the world in terms of numbers of species, but also four of the top five countries in terms of threatened species, making it a high priority for the conservation of this group.

Our understanding of the status of these species is relatively advanced because of an impressive capacity in this region for biological research. This baseline of knowledge helps us to effectively identify and target those sites that are in urgent need of protection. We have worked with partners to create new reserves in Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador, and we continue to forge new partnerships and work with existing partners to protect critical habitats.

There are also vast tracts of uncharted territory, and we are exploring some of the lesser-known forests in Guyana and Suriname. One of our recent surveys in Suriname resulted in a staggering 60 species unknown to science, highlighting the need for ongoing exploration of these unknown areas to identify areas of conservation priority.

 

Conservation Impact


By the Numbers

7

New Protected Areas

GWC has worked with local partners to protect key sites for biodiversity

​South America’s Andes, the longest mountain chain in the world, come to a spectacular finish in northern Colombia’s Serranía de Perijá Range. Until recently, the mountains’ remote location, combined with decades of civil conflict, discouraged not only scientific study, but also colonization and logging. Today, nearly 98% of the mountain range’s tropical forests have been destroyed. In 2014, GWC, Rainforest Trust, and local partner ProAves created the first protected area in the Serranía de Perijá, a permanent sanctuary for the area’s many rare and endemic species.

Conservation Impact


​South America’s Andes, the longest mountain chain in the world, come to a spectacular finish in northern Colombia’s Serranía de Perijá Range. Until recently, the mountains’ remote location, combined with decades of civil conflict, discouraged not only scientific study, but also colonization and logging. Today, nearly 98% of the mountain range’s tropical forests have been destroyed. In 2014, GWC, Rainforest Trust, and local partner ProAves created the first protected area in the Serranía de Perijá, a permanent sanctuary for the area’s many rare and endemic species.

By the Numbers

7

New Protected Areas

GWC has worked with local partners to protect key sites for biodiversity

By the Numbers

7

New Protected Areas

GWC has worked with local partners to protect key sites for biodiversity

South America Projects