Climate Action Plan for the Americas

A conservation network across Latin America and the Caribbean will support people and birds in the face of climate change.

Andean Flamingoes, Bolivia. Photo: Saxlerb/iStock

Latin America and the Caribbean encompass a dazzling array of landscapes, from the peaks of the Andes to the beaches and mangroves of the Caribbean, and from the sweeping grasslands of Mexico and the Southern Cone to the tropical rainforests of the Amazon. The region holds an astounding 40 percent of the world’s biodiversity: almost half of the world’s tropical forests, one-third of its mammals, one-third of its reptile species, half of its amphibians, and two-fifths of its birds. But this rich mosaic of vibrant ecosystems—and the well-being of the millions of people that depend on them—are at unprecedented risk from climate change.

Our Climate Action Plan for the Americas unites partners in 12 countries to deliver nature-based solutions that increase the climate resilience of people and biodiversity throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, while supporting carbon sequestration and storage. It draws its strength from a continental-scale scientific analysis and the contributions of a cohesive network of partners with a deep connection to the region’s socio-economic, political, and environmental context. The plan complements and was developed in parallel with 12 individual national plans, one from each partner.

Our Science

At the heart of our Climate Action Plan for the Americas is a continent-wide scientific analysis, which was led by Audubon, BirdLife, and Durham University. We explored the potential impacts of climate change on 3,801 species at 1,139 sites most critical for birds and other biodiversity. Our science shows that:

 

■ Ranges across all species are projected to decrease 56 percent by mid-century, on average. 
■ Climate change will put many currently common birds at risk. The majority of species with the greatest projected range loss have not yet been identified as species of high conservation concern.

 

 

The analysis also tells us which sites are priorities for adaptation or monitoring in the face of climate change.

 

Our Strategies

Coastal Wetlands
The BirdLife partnership will deliver conservation action and evidence-based advocacy to protect, restore, and sustainably manage coastal wetland IBAs. We will ensure that coastal development recognizes and supports the multiple benefits provided by natural wetlands, and promote better management of upstream land uses. By doing this, we will enhance coastal resilience for cities, communities, and biodiversity, as well as nature’s capacity to store carbon.

 

Grasslands
Building on 10 years of work, the BirdLife Partnership in the Americas will enhance the resilience of vulnerable ranching communities in the Southern Cone, Bolivia, Colombia, and Mexico, and the native grasslands upon which these communities and 848 bird species depend. We will also work with and expand our rancher coalitions to support the adoption of ranching practices that increase productivity and have lower emissions. We will support access to markets and work to incorporate best practices into policies and investment strategies.

Inland and Highland Wetlands
Working with governments, local communities, and other NGOs, we will identify, share, and put in place best practices for restoring and managing inland/highland wetlands to increase their resilience. Based on science and socioeconomic analyses we will guide and support policy and investment, and advocate for critical sites to be placed under formal protection or other effective area-based conservation measures.

 

 

Forests
Working with local conservation groups and governments, the BirdLife Partnership will help ensure that critical areas of natural forest are conserved, and degraded forests restored. We will leverage our science to guide protected area policy and planning and to secure protection for additional sites. We will promote adoption of sustainable, climate-smart agriculture (cofee, cocoa, and yerba mate) in buffer zones and corridors in order to reduce pressure on forests, enhance forest resilience, and increase connectivity between forest fragments.

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