A brief history of CI's work creating parks and protected areas
- CI is founded. The first debt-for-nature swap starts a trend in conservation financing when CI purchases a portion of Bolivia's foreign debt. The debt is redirected to support conservation in the Beni Biosphere Reserve. More than $1 billion in similar deals worldwide follow this swap's example.
- CI's AMISCONDE project begins, providing sustainable economic and conservation initiatives for farmers living around La Amistad Biosphere Reserve bridging Costa Rica and Panama.
- The Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) is launched. A new twist on traditional field research, RAP's quick inventories of the biodiversity of unexplored, threatened areas have provided the biological justification for eight protected areas in four countries, covering more than 8 million acres (3.24 million hectares) of tropical forest.
- CI begins work in Madagascar's Zahamena National Park, helping to provide communities with sustainable economic alternatives and setting conservation goals before handing off park management to local authorities in 2002. CI continues to work with Malagasy partners to create and manage new protected areas that will anchor the Zahamena-Mantadia conservation corridor.
- CI plays a key role in the creation of a marine protected area in the northern Gulf of California-one of the world's richest and most diverse marine areas.
- Bolivia creates Madidi National Park, one of the largest national parks on Earth. A CI RAP team's findings are a significant factor in the decision. In 1998, local community members open Chalalan Ecolodge following several years of work with CI. All shares in Chalalan are transferred to the community in 2001; the lodge continues to generate profits under successful local management.
- Peru establishes Bahuaja-Sonene National Park in an area determined by CI RAP surveys to be a top conservation priority. A CI awareness campaign, including a documentary that reaches 3 million television viewers, is also instrumental in the park's creation. In 2000, CI and its partners convince Peru to expand the park; with adjoining reserves, more than 7.4 million contiguous acres (3 million hectares) are protected. Included in the expansion is the former Tambopata-Candamo Reserve Zone, where CI worked for several years with Mobil Corporation to minimize impacts of its oil exploration.
- CI helps create the Una Ecopark in Brazil's Atlantic Forest hotspot, working with Anheuser-Busch, Citigroup Foundation and Ford Motor Company as well as the Institute for Socio-Environmental Studies of Southern Bahia. Creating economic and conservation opportunities through nature-based tourism, the private reserve also acts as a buffer zone for the Una Biological Reserve, one of Brazil's most biologically diverse areas.
- The government of Côte d'Ivoire, with support from the European Union, initiates a program to strengthen management of its national parks. CI is called in to provide technical support for Marahoué National Park, where a RAP team's 1998 surveys provide critical information for development of management plans.
- A canopy walkway and educational visitor center open in Ghana's Kakum National Park. The ecotourism attractions, created by CI and the local community, provide jobs and reduce reliance on poaching and illegal logging.
- Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park is declared, encompassing the largest stretch of original forest left in the Philippines. As a permanent member of the Philippines' Protected Area Management Board, CI provides scientific input and technical assistance that support park protection.
- CI works with the Suriname government to establish the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, safeguarding from logging an expanse of rainforest close to the size of New Jersey. In 2000, the area becomes a World Heritage Site.
- Hotspots: Earth's Biologically Richest and Most Endangered Terrestrial Ecoregions is published by CI in collaboration with CEMEX and Agrupación Sierra Madre. The book reports that only about 40 percent of the hotspots' remaining intact natural areas are under some form of protection.
- Starbucks Coffee Company and CI debut Shade Grown Mexico™ coffee, grown in the buffer zone of Mexico's El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve. Part of CI's Conservation Coffee SM project, the beans are produced in a way that promotes biodiversity conservation while supporting the livelihoods of local people. In 2001, participating farmers receive a 60 percent price premium over local prices for their coffee; today, nearly 700 farmers are involved.
- CI secures protection for the 19,400-acre (7,851-hectare) Fazenda Rio Negro in Brazil's Pantanal wetland. The ranch-now an ecotourism initiative, research facility and protected area-anchors a conservation corridor that CI and its partners are developing to connect key areas of the Pantanal with Emas National Park and other parts of the surrounding Cerrado hotspot.
- A RAP survey of Guatemala's Laguna del Tigre National Park focuses attention on the potential impacts of oil operations. This leads to cancellation of several oil concessions.
- Defying Nature's End, a conference convened by CABS at CI, brings together top scientists, conservationists and business leaders to stem the tide of species extinctions. Participants develop the first scientifically based, practical agenda combining cutting-edge solutions with cost estimates for saving terrestrial biodiversity, based on the costs of creating and effectively managing protected areas.
- CI and its partners work with Brazil to create the Corumbau Marine Extractive Reserve. The declaration bans commercial fishing in one of the southern Atlantic Ocean's most productive areas, ensuring the livelihoods of traditional fishermen.
- CI, the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility launch the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) to support conservation in biodiversity hotspots. Later, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the government of Japan become CEPF partners. The fund has supported more than 170 projects, including many of the successes highlighted in this Frontlines.
- Brazil's critically endangered northern muriqui monkey finds a safe haven in the Feliciano Miguel Abdala Private Natural Heritage Reserve.
- Peru passes landmark environmental legislation that permits private management of national protected areas, leading to the creation of the Cordillera Azul National Park. CI research gives rise to the regulations, and negotiations among CI, its partners and the Peruvian government bring about their passage.
- Serra Geral do Tocantins Ecological Station is established in Brazil's Cerrado hotspot, based on data from a CI-supported biological survey. The following year, National Park of Parnaíba Headwaters is created. With Jalapão State Park, they form the hotspot's largest protected complex. Several years of effort by CI and its partners — including a 1998 priority-setting workshop that achieves consensus on the area's biological importance — leads to these successes.
- CI communications and education programs address the increasing impact of wildfires on parks and protected areas. The initiatives target farmers, teachers and youth in Mexico's Selva Lacandona reserve and Brazil's Pantanal-Cerrado conservation corridor, areas that have experienced major losses from uncontrolled agricultural burning.
- CI helps establish legislation that allows for the creation of conservation concessions in Peru. The new rules enable conservation groups to lease — and protect — biologically critical regions targeted by extractive industries such as logging and mining. Later this year, the Amazon Conservation Association establishes Peru's first conservation concession by leasing an area of old-growth forest in southeast Peru's Los Amigos watershed.
- The $100-million Global Conservation Fund (GCF) is launched through a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The GCF has become a vital force behind the creation and expansion of protected areas in 26 countries, including many of the parks highlighted in this Frontlines.
- Protected areas in the tropics are overwhelmingly achieving their conservation objectives, according to research by CABS at CI and published in the journal Science. This success is in spite of the fact that most protected areas are underfunded and still threatened.
- An international campaign highlights the Republic of Congo's decision to quadruple the size of Odzala National Park, home of the world's largest population of western lowland gorillas. Media coverage of this unprecedented action, in a region generally known for its conflicts, was key to developing strong political support for conservation.
- The threat of logging is removed from Bolivia's Pilón Lajas Biosphere Reserve and Indigenous Territory when, after lengthy negotiations with CI and the Bolivian Protected Areas Service, logging company Berna Sucesores agrees to give up the last remaining logging concession, not only in the reserve but inside any Bolivian protected area.
- CI collaborates with 18 indigenous communities in Guyana's Kanuku Mountains. The partners document natural resource use and needs, part of a multiyear effort to create a protected area safeguarding the region. This model initiative, led by CI-Guyana, CI's Healthy Communities Initiative and the International Environmental Education program, builds understanding of protected areas and increases community participation in the process.
- Wilderness: Earth's Last Wild Places is published by CI in collaboration with CEMEX and Agrupación Sierra Madre. The book reports that only about 7 percent of the world's wilderness areas are protected by parks and reserves.
- Cambodia permanently safeguards the Central Cardamoms Protected Forest, the culmination of several years of work by CI and its partners.
- The Center for Environmental Leadership in Business at CI, in partnership with the Jatun Sacha Foundation and The Climate Trust, begins reforesting degraded pastureland within Ecuador's Bilsa Biological Reserve. Funding of this CI Conservation Carbon project by a number of Oregon power companies provides a mechanism for them to offset a portion of their CO2 emissions, a leading cause of global climate change.
- CI signs a formal agreement with the Kayapó and the Brazilian government agency for indigenous people's affairs (FUNAI) to implement a protection strategy for the Kayapó Indigenous Territories. This vast area covers 28.4 million acres (11.5 million hectares) in the Amazonia high-biodiversity wilderness area.
- Brazil establishes the Mountains of Tumucumaque National Park — the largest tropical rainforest park in the world. CI and partners, working with authorities of the state of Amapá, play a key role in confirming the biological importance of the area and selecting the site.
- Indonesia's Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park expands to 54,234 acres (21,957 hectares). The park's CI-managed Bodogol Conservation Education Center, located only 90 minutes from the capital of Jakarta, integrates biodiversity research into education programs for local communities as well as business and government leaders.
- CI creates Verde Ventures, a fund to strengthen businesses that protect and restore landscapes bordering protected areas.
- The Klampun Wildlife Management Area is created in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. The designation comes after 7 years of CI work with local landowners to delineate and approve the area. Though small, it is a first step in the establishment of the Nakanai upland conservation corridor in this high-biodiversity wilderness area.
- The government of Guyana, in response to a request by the resident Wai Wai community, commits to the initial stage of creating a protected area in southern Guyana. The commitment is progress toward establishing Guyana's National Protected Area System, which forms a critical segment of a conservation corridor being facilitated by CI across northeastern South America.
- Gabon announces an initiative to establish a 13-park network covering roughly 10 percent of the biologically rich country. Backed by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, CI and its partners are supporting the development of infrastructure, as well as a communications and ecotourism strategy for the park network.
- La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica is one of six field stations selected this year for participation in the Tropical Ecology, Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) initiative, run by CABS at CI. TEAM's network of tropical field stations — ultimately up to 50 spanning the globe — provides accurate, standardized data on species and ecological trends to guide conservation actions.
- Peru creates a trio of protected areas — Otishi National Park and the Ashaninka and Machiguenga community reserves-with support from CI and its partners.
- The European Union provides support for a second phase of the protected area management program in Côte d'Ivoire, and CI and BirdLife International agree to jointly implement conservation activities in West Africa's Mont Peko and Marahoué national parks. The program is now part of a broader effort to conserve some of the last West African forests in a series of conservation corridors.
- CI works with New Zealand's Maruia Trust to develop a community management plan for the Mont Panié Special Botanical Reserve in New Caledonia. This is a step toward protection of this biodiversity hotspot's remnant forests, where more than 75 percent of plants are found nowhere else on Earth.
- The Defying Ocean's End conference is convened by CI in Los Cabos, Mexico, where a coalition of environmental groups, governments, academia and the business community agree to an urgent action agenda to save the world's rapidly declining oceans. Among other recommendations, the conference asserts the necessity of expanding the global system of marine protected areas.