Conservation of Guianas Forests...

Geographical location:

Latin America/Caribbean > South America > French Guiana (FR)

Latin America/Caribbean > South America > Guyana
Latin America/Caribbean > South America > Suriname

Cascade river in the tropical rainforest 's Nature Reserve of the Nouragues. French Guiana.
© WWF-Canon / Roger LeGUEN

Summary

The Guianas Forests and Environmental Conservation Project (GFECP) focuses on the conservation of the Guayanan Forest Ecoregion. Its primary targets are the forest ecosystems of the Guianas (Suriname, French Guiana and Guyana).

The overall objective of the project is to conserve the region's distinct natural communities, maintain viable populations of species, sustain important ecological processes and services that support biodiversity, and protect large blocks of habitat.

Background

Suriname and its 2 neighboring countries, Guyana and French Guiana, contain more than 400,000km2 of undisturbed rainforest. Together with adjacent forest zones in Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia, this area comprises the Guayanan Forest Ecoregion. It has a rich biodiversity with an extremely high level of endemism. It is estimated that 40% of the flowering plant species in the Guayanan Forest Ecoregion are found only there.

Furthermore, there is still much to be discovered. Each new expedition or forest inventory reveals a new species to science. In addition, the coastline of Suriname and the 2 neighboring Guianas is of high international value due to its importance for migratory birds and nesting sea turtles.

WWF has supported conservation in the Guayanan region since the mid-1960s. Its support consisted of providing funds for, among others, sea turtles protection, anti-poaching measures for hunting species, biological surveys, educational materials, publications, technical support, and travel grants.

At present, the region faces serious threats from increasing requests for mining and logging concessions. Some concessions have already been granted by the government, and others are under consideration. Another pressing danger are the imminent plans for additional hydropower reservoirs with their concomitant flooding of large parts of the forest.

The project aims at mobilizing conservation action on an ecoregional scale, especially in the Guayanas, protecting key sites and species, shaping forest use in the region to support conservation, and laying the groundwork for lasting conservation through increasing environmental awareness and training.

It also seeks to promote partnerships among local communities, private and public sector institutions, international NGOs and funding organizations to achieve nature conservation and sustainable use of the region's natural resources.

Objectives

1. Mobilize conservation action on an ecoregional scale.

2. Protect key sites and wildlife populations.

3. Shape regional development to support conservation.

4. Lay the foundations for lasting conservation.

Solution

WWF will carry out a variety of different activities in this programme, primarily acting as a broker (facilitating local players in the region), using its network, expertise and funds to bring together the various parties (i.e. local communities, private sector, government) and assist in the development of innovative ways of achieving nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.