Audubon Americas: How We Work
Audubon’s new strategies are designed to address the most significant threats to bird habitats and deliver lasting environmental and economic benefits to people.
Historically, bird conservation plans have been primarily species- and science-driven, without the input and engagement of diverse stakeholders. As a result, bird conservation is often not considered in decisions about infrastructure, land use, and development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Our strategies address this gap by incorporating bird conservation into national and local development agendas and involving a range of NGO partners, business interests, policymakers, and community leaders. By employing market-based approaches we encourage local buy-in, scalability, and long-term conservation sustainability.
Our Strategy For Success
To achieve conservation impact at scale, our strategies draw from Audubon’s deep well of expertise in science and policy, and our extensive experience in the Latin America and Caribbean region. Our efforts also capitalize on and link to national conservation efforts already underway, many of which are driven by each country’s existing international conservation commitments. By demonstrating how bird conservation can support national contributions to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and 30x30 agendas on biodiversity, we can help to secure a healthy future for wildlife and people.
Want to know more? Read our business plan executive summary on our strategy for success.
Well-managed protected areas are essential to sustaining bird populations and reversing their decline. They also serve to mitigate climate change and help local communities thrive sustainably.
The core of our protected-areas strategy is Conserva Aves, an innovative partnership among Audubon, BirdLife International, American Bird Conservancy, and the Network of Latin American and Caribbean Environmental Funds (RedLAC). Conserva Aves aims to establish more than 80 new protected areas covering 2 million hectares (4.9 million acres) and improve management of an additional 2 million hectares. Stretching from Mexico to Chile, the initiative targets sites where priority areas for migratory birds overlap with Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and climate strongholds.
A cornerstone for the success of Conserva Aves is the $12 million grant the project received from the Bezos Earth Fund that other resources from partners and organizations will match. This grant will support local communities and indigenous peoples to establish and strengthen 30-40 new protected sites (totaling 450-600,000 hectares, or 1.11 to 1.48 million acres) critical for threatened and migratory bird species in the Tropical Andes—in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Perú—by 2027.
Audubon’s Working Lands Strategy is designed to create healthier habitats for birds and other wildlife on nearly 5 million hectares (12 million acres) of agricultural lands, providing habitat and connectivity across landscapes. This will boost the overwinter survival rate of migratory birds while increasing the abundance of local wildlife, including endemic and threatened species.
Enhanced agricultural lands can serve as migratory corridors between forest blocks and protected areas, and can improve environmental benefits to people. Bird-friendly practices include habitat restoration, silvopastural systems for cattle ranching, and crop-rotation models that create artificial wetlands on sugar and rice plantations. By incorporating trees and shrubs into ranch lands and reducing chemical use, we can protect wildlife, soil, and water while improving farmers’ productivity and profitability. Already prototyped in Colombia, these systems are boosting yields and income for farmers and communities while demonstrating significant environmental benefits.
All along the coast lines of the Americas, the rapid disappearance of mangroves, mudflats, other wetland habitat is threatening shorebird populations. The situation is especially dire along the Pacific Americas Flyway, where at least 36 percent of shorebird populations demonstrate long-term declines.
Natural coastal ecosystems also provide benefits to people, including protection from coastal erosion and storm damage, natural filters for pollution and sediment, carbon sequestration, and nurseries for commercially harvested fish. Through our Coastal Resilience Strategy, Audubon and partners are working to restore or improve the management of 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres) of coastal bird habitat. Our programs encourage smart development, quantify and articulate the economic value of coastal bird habitat, and convene diverse stakeholders and advocates around the common goals that unite them.
Building a Constituency for Birds
Birds are persuasive ambassadors. Over the past half-decade, the explosion of awareness and popularity of birds and birding in Latin America and the Caribbean has been extraordinary, especially among young people. Audubon and its partners will continue to build momentum and public commitment to bird conservation by harnessing public enthusiasm and building a strong economic case to advance conservation agendas.
By demonstrating the economic value of biodiversity we can build local and regional support to protect the habitats that birds and other wildlife depend on. We will deploy our communication, policy advocacy, and community-engagement expertise to promote awareness of the vital link between the environment and human health. We will support the development of National Plans for the Conservation of Birds and mainstream their value into development agendas. We will also continue to strengthen the wildlife tourism sector following our successful bird-tourism model that has been applied in five countries in the region. Read more about work in Colombia and Chile.