The Amazon plays a major role in regulating regional and global climate. Some models suggest that if the Amazon experiences 20 percent to 25 percent deforestation, some forested areas would convert to tropical savanna, impacting global climatic stability. Deforestation is currently at 17 percent, making the Amazon’s protection and management critical for both the people who call it home and for the rest of the planet.
Long-term protection of the Amazon requires active participation and leadership from the communities that live within and near it. These communities are often deeply reliant on forest resources and also often have an intricate understanding of local ecological relationships that can influence the success of conservation efforts. Numerous studies have found that lower levels of deforestation are associated with Indigenous territories versus other protected areas. Sustainable forest conservation requires empowering and supporting these communities, enabling them to maximize the effectiveness of their conservation efforts while also improving their own lives and futures.
To that end, the National Geographic Society has issued an Amazon Conservation Capacity RFP. Through the RFP, grants of up to $150,000 will be awarded in support of projects that build the capacity and effectiveness of community-based organizations and Indigenous peoples groups that are engaged in efforts to enhance forest conservation and sustainable forest management. NGS has identified the following categories:
Capacity Building — Activities that build core organizational capacities and knowledge of community-based organizations and Indigenous peoples groups that are engaged in forest conservation and sustainable management. Core capacities may encompass skills such as grants and proposal writing; partnership development; organizational leadership and management; designing, managing, and monitoring projects; evaluating and reporting on projects; engaging the media; assessing land tenure and other legal issues; and leveraging data and technology (for instance, to better understand local drivers of deforestation and better monitor forest resources); as well as introducing scientific and technical knowledge that will complement traditional knowledge. Projects may focus in-depth on one group or on multiple groups, be compatible with local cultural values, and address local needs, ideally determined through inclusive processes that broadly engage a diversity of individuals within the focal communities.
Empowerment Through Networks — Activities that build or strengthen networks of local leaders, enabling them to share knowledge and best practices directed at improving sustainable forest management, and leverage networks to elevate the voices of local communities in multi-stakeholder dialogues with government, the private sector, and other key parties.
Support to Community-Led Conservation — Projects that increase the impact of existing forest conservation projects with the potential to increase carbon storage and/or community and forest resilience to the impacts of climate change. This category encompasses efforts to reduce pressure on forests through livelihood diversification, such as harvesting of sustainable non-timber forest products and ecotourism, introduction or scaling of climate-smart forest management practices, and other approaches to forest protection. Projects should be led by local and Indigenous leaders and be consistent with community goals and values.
See the National Geographic Society website for complete program guidelines, application instructions, and an FAQ.