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Rainforest Trust and Partners Have Protected More Than 1 Million Acres so far in 2022 alone!

Rainforest Trust and Partners Have Protected More Than 1 Million Acres so far in 2022 alone!
Source: Stephanie Wester/Rainforest Trust

US non-profit Rainforest Trust overcame the many challenges caused by the pandemic to protect invaluable acreage in Belize, Ecuador, Guatemala, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.

Rainforest Trust plans to protect a further 125 million acres by 2025

The US non-profit Rainforest Trust has protected over one million acres of habitat across Belize, Ecuador, Guatemala, Bangladesh, and Myanmar in 2022 alone. Since inception the trust has protected 38 million acres of habitat with 99% of forest area still standing post-protection. The trust is well on its way to achieving its pledge of an additional 125 million acres by 2025.

The broadleaf forests of central Belize connect two of the largest swaths of intact protected habitat in Mesoamerica, forming the most expansive forest block north of the Amazon. Photo: Francis Canto.
Yellow-headed Amazon in Belize. The broadleaf forests of central Belize connect two of the largest swaths of intact protected habitat in Mesoamerica, forming the most expansive forest block north of the Amazon. Photo: Francis Canto. Source: Francis Canto/Rainforest Trust

Acres protected include projects in Belize, Ecuador, Guatemala, Bangladesh, and Myanmar

In Belize, Rainforest Trust worked with partner Re:Wild, to protect the Maya Forest Corridor. The Critically Endangered Central American River Turtle, endemic to this area, is the only living species in its family. The species is known to reside in wetlands of the Maya Forest Corridor, and researchers have identified this site as the most important location in Belize for the protection of the species.

Rainforest Trust worked with Sumac Muyu Foundation and Fundación de Conservación Jocotoco in Ecuador to protect acres in the Bigal Biological and Rio Canandé Reserves respectively. The Río Canandé Reserve has been identified as an Important Bird Area and serves as a refuge for more than 350 different bird species. This area is also critical for the Mache Cochran Frog, as it’s one of the few sites where the species is found. The largest surviving population of Brown-headed Spider Monkeys–which has been listed as one of the 25 most endangered primate species on earth–can also be found here.

Source: RainforestTrust.org

Several species of newly described salamander have also been discovered in this region, highlighting the importance of the location, and the biodiversity that resides here. Photo: Helge Zabka.
The Endangered White-bellied Spider Monkey, Guatemala. Several species of newly described salamander have also been discovered in this region, highlighting the importance of the location, and the biodiversity that resides here. Photo: Helge Zabka. Source: Helge Zabka/RainforestTrust

Rainforest Trust protects important habitat for many endangered species

In Guatemala, Rainforest Trust worked in collaboration with Fundación para el Ecodesarrollo y la Conservación (FUNDAECO). FUNDAECO and Rainforest Trust protected important habitat for species like the Guatemala Spikethumb Frog, Endangered Yucatán Black Howler Monkey, and the Endangered Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey. Several species of newly described salamander have also been discovered in this region, highlighting the importance of the location, and the biodiversity that resides here.

In Bangladesh, Rainforest Trust worked with Wildlife Conservation Society Bangladesh to establish the Teknaf Coast and St. Martin Island Marine Protected Area, a total of nearly 430,705 acres. Protection of this area safeguarded a number of key species including sea turtles, a wide Critically Endangered Ganges Shark, Largetooth Sawfish, and Spoon-billed Sandpiper, as well as Endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin, Longhead Eagle Ray, Mottled Eagle Ray, and Critically Endangered Staghorn Coral. 

Source: RainforestTrust.org 

The Bay of Bengal supports incredible marine species, with dolphins, sharks, rays and turtles cruising these waters along Bangladesh’s coast. Unfortunately, unsustainable fishing practices and the effects of climate change put intense pressure on these species.
Critically Endangered Spoon-Billed Sandpipers, Bangladesh. The Bay of Bengal supports incredible marine species, with dolphins, sharks, rays and turtles cruising these waters along Bangladesh’s coast. Unfortunately, unsustainable fishing practices and the effects of climate change put intense pressure on these species. Source: RainforestTrust

Rainforest Trust made a $500 million commitment to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030

In Myanmar, Rainforest Trust worked alongside partner Friends of Wildlife to establish Zalontaung National Park and Maharmyaing Wildlife Sanctuary, for a combined total of nearly 350,188 acres protected.

Studies show that protected areas are one of the most cost-effective ways to safeguard nature, vulnerable human populations, and climate–provided they are well-managed and respect the rights and needs of Indigenous populations and local communities. Strong working relationships with local partners is critical to Rainforest Trust’s conservation work. 

Together, Rainforest Trust and its partners develop plans to establish and maintain protected areas that are based on science and best practices for each location. Ninety-nine percent of the forest area Rainforest Trust has protected remains standing post protection.

In September of 2021, Rainforest Trust made a $500 million commitment to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, joining the largest ever private funding commitment to biodiversity conservation. This pledge highlights the increasing importance of protected areas, and the role they play in the future of conservation, and species loss. The organisation has protected more than 38 million acres since its inception and is well on its way to protecting 125 million additional acres of habitat by 2025. 

Source: RainforestTrust.org 

As a country, Myanmar has a greater diversity of ecosystems than any other nation in mainland Southeast Asia, with some of the most intact natural habitats and communities of species remaining in the entire region – including many endemic and globally threatened species. Photo: Dennis Jarvis/Flickr
The Endangered Asian Elephant, Myanmar. As a country, Myanmar has a greater diversity of ecosystems than any other nation in mainland Southeast Asia, with some of the most intact natural habitats and communities of species remaining in the entire region – including many endemic and globally threatened species. Photo: Dennis Jarvis/Flickr Source: RainforestTrust
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