Mesoamerica & Western Caribbean

Only 0.5 percent of the world's land surface, Mesoamerica is home to about seven percent of the planet's biological diversity. This rich landscape historically served as a land bridge linking North and South America's fauna and flora. It's also a region where natural and cultural heritage overlap, with numerous community and indigenous protected areas, the vestiges of ancient civilizations, and a number of World Heritage sites.

Challenges

Human influence has become so pervasive that in many places the landscape has been completely fragmented and even core wildlife strongholds are being rapidly deforested and degraded. Deforestation in favor of cattle ranches and oil palm plantations, forest fires, and other hazards threaten both the integrity of the region's parks and the connectivity between them.

Deeper societal issues such as drug trafficking, organized crime, the impacts of climate change, and the proposed construction of a canal across Nicaragua exacerbate the region's shared challenges to both conservation and sustainable development. Northern Central America claims the highest murder rates in the world—far surpassing even those of war-torn areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan—and systemic violence, lack of economic opportunity, and landlessness are fueling migration to frontier forest areas in Central America, as well as to the U.S.

Our Goal

Assess and conserve some of Mesoamerica's largest wild places and key wildlife species and inspire people to take action on their behalf.

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

How Will We Get There?

Our strategies include:


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