Protecting natural areas has always been a major part of our organization. ADOPTA was created in an effort to save a rare tropical cloud forest habitat on a mountain called Cerro Chucantí that was quickly being deforested for lumber and agriculture. In the early 2000s, our founder, Guido Berguido, managed to buy a 100-acre plot of land near Chucantí’s peak with the help of friends and family. Today the 1,500-acre Cerro Chucantí private natural reserve is protected from poachers and deforestation by rangers that live on the property year-round to patrol the area and members of Panamá’s environmental police force. Previously deforested areas within the reserve are also now in the process of reforestation, increasing the habitat available for the unique flora and fauna present on the mountain.
Even already legally protected areas can be in danger of destruction, however. As forest cover declines throughout the country, invasive plants are able to establish themselves and outcompete native species to create large areas that are nearly unusable by native animal species. Since this form of ecosystem change can have widespread negative effects on a wide variety of environmental factors, from species diversity to water quality, we are focusing on reducing or eliminating these species from already protected areas as well as actively pushing for legal protection of endangered habitats. With deforestation and habitat loss being some of the largest environmental risks in Panama, we have additionally partnered with the Alliance For a Million Hectares in their efforts to reforest one million hectares (2.5 million acres) in Panamá by 2035 in order to improve existing habitat quality and protect the species still surviving in those areas.
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We’re joining the Alliance For a Million Hectares to restore degraded forest habitat in Panama.