Central America Program 2015

Total Number of Grants Awarded 13
Total Funds Distributed Through Grants $687,372
Total Partner Contributions Leveraged by Grants $767,436
Total Number of Countries that Received Program Support 7

From the peaks of the Maya Mountains to the depths of the Mesoamerican coral reef, Central America possesses one of the richest concentrations of species and ecosystem diversity on Earth. With less than 1 percent of the world’s land surface, Central America is home to more than 7 percent of the planet’s biodiversity, including spectacular species such as the jaguar, Baird’s tapir, harpy eagle, and scarlet macaw.

For millions of years, Central America has provided a vital link between North and South America’s fauna and flora. The region’s forests serve as irreplaceable flyways for migratory birds, provide important watershed and ecosystem services, and help reduce the severity of climate change impacts. Unfortunately, despite valiant conservation efforts, Central America today is among the most threatened hotspots in the world with nearly half of the natural habitats converted to agriculture or urban areas and high rates of deforestation. At the root of most threats are social, political, and economic factors including human poverty, citizen security, and inadequate policy planning and implementation.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife Without Borders-Central America program provides critical support to conserve priority species and ecosystems across high-biodiversity value landscapes in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor while simultaneously benefiting local communities.

Credit: CATIE

In 2015, the program awarded $687,372 and leveraged an additional $767,436 in matching funds towards 13 projects across 8 priority landscapes throughout the region. Projects include:

  • Belize: Reducing the expansion of the agricultural frontier into Chiquibul National Park by strengthening monitoring and enforcement capacity of park rangers, public education and outreach, and bi-national cooperation with Guatemala.
  • Costa Rica: Creating green jobs for rural communities of the Osa Peninsula to reduce threats to wildlife from illegal hunting, logging and mining activities.
  • Guatemala: Reducing human-jaguar conflict in the Maya Biosphere Buffer Zone through outreach and training programs for local ranchers.
  • Nicaragua: Re-activating a community-based forest ranger program to reduce illegal cattle ranching and poaching in the Indio-Maiz Biosphere Reserve.