2009 was a year of challenge and change, and of opportunities amidst the challenges. Internally we made a significant change, consolidating into a single unit that integrates nature and culture in all our programs. We now also have a dedicated ECCo Committee of the Board of Trustees with whom we are building a strategic plan.
In the Andes/Amazon political shifts put up complex roadblocks to our work. We succeeded in reaching a delicate agreement with Peru’s Ministry of Environment and resident Awajun and Wampis to use our upcoming inventory of the isolated Kampankis mountains to build lasting protection for the region. But violence erupted, forcing us to postpone our inventory. Despite deep disappointment, the freed-up time allowed us to respond immediately to a request from the Maijuna people to inventory their forests in northeastern Peru. Discoveries from our inventory are now helping argue for protection of the area and relocation of a proposed road that would tear open intact and culturally important forests. Meanwhile in Pando northern Bolivia, before politics halted our travels, our efforts culminated in wide consensus on a 2050 vision of Pando with 90% of its forests intact. And despite intensifying challenges, we saw the establishment of two new protected areas in 2009: Reserva Nacional Matsés, Peru (1,039,412 acres we inventoried in 2004) and Área Ecológica de Conservación La Bonita-Cofanes-Chingual, Ecuador (172,973 acres we inventoried last year).
The greatest challenge clearly is climate change. Throughout 2009 we adjusted our programs, in the Andes/Amazon and Chicago region, to address global warming. We continue to advance our REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) pilot in Peru, aiming to enter the voluntary carbon market by 2010. Success of REDD will provide a strong incentive for countries to invest in living forests. And we now focus our Andes/Amazon inventories in areas that will allow plant and animal communities to move upslope or north/south with changing conditions.
In the Chicago region ECCo’s social inventories are helping the City directly engage diverse audiences in implementing its Chicago Climate Action Plan. And the complementary Climate Action Plan for Nature that we just completed with Chicago Wilderness will become the road map for conservation in the region.
We thank you for your interest and support. Many of you contributed significantly to our ability to respond to the change and challenges of 2009.
|John W. McCarter, Jr. |
President and CEO
|Debra K. Moskovits |
Senior Vice President, ECCo