|Black howler monkey (Alouatta pigra), Lachuá Ecoregion, Guatemala. Credit: ORCONDECO|
John Muir, one of the founding fathers of conservation in America, understood how interdependent we are with the wildlife and habitat that surrounds us. As he said, “when one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
Nowhere is this more evident than in Mesoamerica, which encompasses the nations of Central America and the vitalland bridge that has linked the wildlife and plants of North and South America for millions of years.
Today, Mesoamerica’s natural landscapes still support incredible biodiversity, critical ecosystem services, and diverse local human populations. Many of the migratory birds we enjoy every summer in our backyards depend on winter habitat found only in Mesoamerica – including the wood thrush, ruby-throated hummingbird, Baltimore oriole, western tanager and indigo bunting.
But these landscapes are increasingly threatened by global conservation challenges like climate change – as well as by poverty, social unrest and political instability across the region.
That’s why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has joined with the Organization of American States to build and strengthen conservation partnerships through the MESOAMERICA 2020 partnership, which just celebrated its first anniversary.