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Forming a land bridge between two continents, the Mesoamerica biodiversity hotspot features species representative of North and South America, as well as its own unique wildlife.
The jaguar, spider and howler monkeys, Baird's tapir, and the unusual horned guan are found here. The region is a critical flyway for at least 225 migratory species. Three of the Western Hemisphere's four migratory bird routes converge in Mesoamerica.
Mesoamerica exhibits some of the highest deforestation rates in the world. Other direct threats include conflicts in legal frameworks; illegal logging and occupation of land; uncontrolled tourism; oil drilling and pipelines; unsustainable corporate and small-scale mining; unsustainable agriculture and hunting; and uncontrolled forest fires.
The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) has separate but complementary strategies for the northern and southern regions of the Mesoamerica hotspot.
In Northern Mesoamerica, CEPF focuses predominantly on Belize, Guatemala, and Southern Mexico.
The partnership targets two priority areas for conservation: the Selva Maya conservation corridor which extends throughout the southeast of Mexico over the province of Petén in Guatemala and throughout Belize and the Selva Zoque and Chiapas/Guatemala Highlands corridor which includes the key biodiversity areas of the Selva Zoque in Oaxaca; Chiapas and Veracruz; the Sierra Madre of Chiapas; and Cuchumatanes and the Sierra de las Minas in Guatemala.
Four strategic directions guide CEPF's approach in the northern region:
In Southern Mesoamerica, CEPF focuses on Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama.
The partnership targets three priority areas: the Cerro Silva-Indio Maiz-La Selva corridor between Nicaragua and Costa Rica; the southern Talamanca region connecting with the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica; and the northern Talamanca-Bocas del Toro corridor between Costa Rica and Panama.
Four strategic directions guide CEPF's approach in the southern region:
- foster civil society participation in regional decisionmaking on select policies and investments to promote the conservation and sustainable development of the Selva Maya and the Selva Zoque and Chiapas/Guatemala Highlands corridors
- collaborate with other donor-funded projects to facilitate and operationalize successful conservation activities in Northern Mesoamerica’s eight most important key biodiversity areas
- support priority conservation actions in three priority key biodiversity areas
- prevent the extinction of Northern Mesoamerica’s 106 Critically Endangered species (including in El Salvador and Honduras)
- strengthen key conservation alliances and networks within integral corridors
- integrate connectivity among key, critical areas through economic alternatives
- promote awareness and conservation of flagship species
- support improved management of key protected areas