Elevating Audubon’s work to save birds and the places they need across the Americas
2021 has been a year of “migration” and growth for one of Audubon’s strategic programs, the International Alliances Program (IAP). He not only changed his name to Audubon Americasin recognition that most vulnerable bird species found in the United States spend the majority of their lives in Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, but he also developed an ambitious plan to address conservation gaps in these regions by applying Audubon’s expertise and regional expertise. experience new innovative ways.
Here are some of the achievements we are celebrating from 2021:
Using the latest scientific insights into migration, the Audubon Americas team reviewed our past work, analyzed other impactful programs, and considered various curatorial opportunities to develop and launch Audubon Americas five-year business plan. The plan focuses on strategies that align with market priorities to help expand the conservation efforts needed to conserve the full life cycle of birds in the hemisphere. Audubon Americas will initially focus its work in Chile, Colombia, Panama, Mexico, the Bahamas and Canada, focusing its efforts on four strategies: regenerative agriculture; coastal resilience; Build a constituency for birds and establish and improve the management of protected areas critical to bird conservation.
In 2021 we launched our regenerative agriculture strategy focusing on the Cauca Valley landscape in Colombia through a $400,000 investment from USFWS, which was leveraged against $1 million from private company Arroz Blanquita, and with a co-investment of $120,000 $ from local community NGOs Asoguabas, Fondo Agua por la Vida y la Sostenibilidad, Vivo Cuenca and ICESI University. Our strategy focuses on climate- and market-based solutions that also integrate birds into the agricultural landscape. Specifically, we will work with NGOs, academic institutions, communities, businesses and local governments to integrate bird-friendly trees and shrubs into restoration efforts associated with cattle production in the River Valley watersheds. Cauca. This approach will support birds like the Canada Warbler and encourage crop rotation between sugar and rice for valley bottom birds to create new wetlands for migrating waterfowl like Little Yellowlegs. If successful, both approaches can be extended to Colombia and the region.
Audubon and its partners integrate birds into nature-based solutions through innovative investments to achieve these goals. In one of our main regenerative agriculture projects, we are investing $15 million in the Cauca Valley in Colombia. Funding that will cover crop rotation monitoring, community engagement in conservation planning and best bird management practices over the next 10 years, to name but a few. some. All this in alliance with Calidris, Asocaña, Icesi University, Fondo de Agua por la Vida y la Sostenibilidad, Asoaguas and Ingenio Providencia, leading NGOs and private sector companies who understand the critical need to raise conservation practices.
Improving conservation practices also requires strengthening existing national policies or formulating and implementing new ones. Audubon Americas strives to incorporate bird conservation into national and local economic development programs and funding strategies. In Colombia, with nearly 2,000 species, more than any other country in the world, Audubon has partnered with the Von Humboldt Research Institute and the RNOA (National Network of Birdwatchers) to facilitate and lead the process. We engaged thousands of people across the country, including Indigenous groups, to create a conservation strategy. This plan, which will be finalized and launched in the second half of 2022, aims to influence and support the next government, state authorities and municipalities.
In Chile, we partnered with the Ministry of the Environment and several other NGOs to support the development of their conservation strategy. Finalized in December 2021, with an open consultation of Chilean citizens and launched in January 2022, this plan will be integrated into national policy as part of the new biodiversity fund created last year.
In 2021, building on more than a decade of community work with our local partner, Sociedad Audubon Panamá, Audubon has launched a new three million dollar project to improve the economic and social value of Panama Bay and Parita Bay through carbon mitigation and coastal resilience. This region is one of the most important shorebird migration sites in the hemisphere: it supports over 30% of the Western Sandpiper population, 22% of the Semipalmated Sandpiper population and large groups of Prothonotary Warblers, as well as many other species. . The “Valuing Protecting and Enhancing Coastal Natural Capital of Panama” project is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, the David and Lucile and Packard Foundation and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Last year we also made significant progress with the core strategy of Audubon Americas Conserva Avesthat we launched in partnership with Birdlife International, American Bird Conservancy and the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Environmental Funds (RedLAC). The strategy uses the latest scientific data on migratory birds developed by the Audubon Migratory Bird Initiative, combined with new analysis of resident species and climate strongholds, to identify critical protection gaps.
We are creating a fund that will host calls for proposals focused on these protection gaps. Conserva Aves received a $12 million investment from the Bezos Earth Fund in early December 2021. The grant will help local communities and indigenous peoples establish and strengthen 30-40 new protected sites (totaling 450-600,000 hectares, or 1.11-1.48 million acres), critical landscapes for species of and migratory birds in the tropical Andes, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru — by 2027.
In total, Conserva Aves will support the protection of nearly 4 million acres of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) by establishing approximately 80-100 new subnational protected areas between 2022 and 2027 in Latin America and the Caribbean. The first call for proposals will take place in 2022 in tropical Andean countries such as Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
In 2021, we also made significant progress in our conservation efforts for Canada’s boreal forest., one of the largest intact forests on the planet, a place full of biodiversity and incredibly important for birds. Up to 3 billion migratory birds spend their summers in the safety of the boreal forest before heading out to the backyards, parks and wilderness of the Western Hemisphere in the fall. Additionally, this vast landscape captures and stores enormous amounts of carbon in its soils, peatlands and permafrost, making it an area of global importance to protect from the threats of development and climate change.
Indigenous First Nations have proposed globally ambitious plans to protect and conserve boreal lands through the creation of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) and Indigenous Guardians programs. Supporting and elevating their work to protect tens of millions of acres of bird habitat are key goals of the Audubon Americas Boreal Conservation Team. And in a big win last summer, the Canadian government pledged C$340 million to protected areas and Indigenous stewardship programs across Canada as part of the country’s goal to conserve 25% of land/water by 2025 and increase to 30% by 2030. will create hundreds of millions of acres of new protected areas that are home to hundreds of millions of migrating birds.
An example of how we support Indigenous-led conservation in the boreal region can be found in northern Manitoba, where we partner with the Seal River Watershed Alliance to record the sounds of critical bird breeding habitat. This vital 12 million acre watershed – roughly the size of Costa Rica – is currently being proposed as an IPCA by the Seal River Watershed Alliance – a collaborative effort of the Sayisi Dene and their Cree, Dene and Inuit neighbors. Audubon’s Boreal Conservation Team is supporting their work by partnering with a birdsong project that combines Indigenous knowledge and expertise with new sound recording and analysis technology. The data will then be used to demonstrate the importance of the Seal River watershed as a dynamic ecosystem, thereby increasing public support for the proposal and bringing it closer to protection.
In 2021, we had many significant achievements, and we are building on this momentum as we continue our work in 2022. Stay up to date on all of our projects across the hemisphere by by signing up for our Audubon Americas email newsletter.