‘We can do this with your help’: FUNDAECO’s Marco Cerezo writes to WLT supporters as Big Match Fortnight enters final days SEARCH NEWS


With CEO Marco Cerezo at the helm, FUNDAECO have spent decades saving ecosystems and improving local lives in Guatemala. This year, they can triple the size of their Laguna Grande Reserve – and your donations to our appeal can make it possible. Credit: WLT

World Land Trust (WLT) would like to thank everyone who has donated so far to our Guardians of Nimla Ha’ appeal, our campaign to fund the tripling of FUNDAECO’s Laguna Grande Reserve. With our Big Match Fortnight still doubling your donations until the end of Tuesday 19 October 2021, there is still time to save thousands of acres of this tropical paradise of Caribbean Guatemala. Today, FUNDAECO CEO Marco Cerezo wanted to tell you about this incredible landscape, and what WLT supporters like you could achieve if you donate to help them save it from logging.

Almost a decade ago, WLT provided vital financial support for FUNDAECO to create the Laguna Grande Reserve, a 1,668-acre (675 ha) property that was about to be sold to cattle ranchers in the region. This timely and critical support allowed FUNDAECO to launch a region-wide conservation effort in Caribbean Guatemala that has continued uninterrupted ever since.

In 2021, and again with support of WLT supporters like you, FUNDAECO has a chance to expand the Laguna Grande Reserve through the acquisition of three additional properties (to the east and west of the original property) encompassing 3,293 acres (1,333 ha) of natural ecosystems, thus tripling the reserve to a size of 4,942 acres (2,000 ha).

With help from the doubling of your donations during WLT’s Big Match Fortnight, the expanded reserve will protect a unique assemblage of tropical ecosystems, including rivers, mangroves, wetlands, lagoons, seagrass meadows, karst caves, and lowland and inundated forests. If protected, these ecosystems will harbour in perpetuity a unique diversity of freshwater fish species (threatened at a global scale), populations of jaguar, endangered manatees, howler monkeys and more than 30 species of bats, among many other beautiful and threatened species of flora and fauna. The expanded reserve will also secure vital stopover and wintering habitats for more than 100 species of Neo-tropical migratory birds as they journey all along Central America.

Achieving this reserve expansion together could not be more necessary. Less than 20% of Caribbean Guatemala’s lowland rainforests remain, the rest having been replaced by cattle ranches and year-long agricultural crops. The habitats still standing play a unique ecological role at the regional and hemispheric level: not only do they harbour a high diversity of species; they are also true “biophysical connectors” along the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, linking altitudinal gradients and ecological niches across the region, and supporting a “Ridge to Reef” conservation approach at the regional level.

Into the future, the long-term protection of Laguna Grande will be secured with the support of local communities as well as in their benefit, as FUNDAECO provides green jobs, develops conservation agreements and provides much-needed support to local people, particularly young women and girls, who can make use of health services, scholarships and technical training.

If this is conservation driven by local people, its benefits will be felt globally. Scientists tell us that the loss of tropical rainforests contributes more than 20% of the carbon emissions that are heating up our planet. By saving Laguna Grande’s carbon-storing forests, wetlands, mangroves and seagrass meadows, we will be contributing another “Dot of Hope” in the global efforts against global warming – the foundation of a better future on this planet.

With more than 30 years of work behind us, we at FUNDAECO can protect Laguna Grande in perpetuity and consolidate this beautiful network of coastal marine ecosystems into a wildlife reservoir for future generations. We can do this, with help from nature lovers such as yourself.

With you on board, together we can protect the great waters or nimla ha’ of Caribbean Guatemala!

Marco Cerezo,


The home of 700+ species, a major carbon sink, a hurricane barrier for Guatemalans – you’re still in time to protect Laguna Grande for posterity, to be its guardian in its time of need.

Our partner FUNDAECO has spent decades saving ecosystems for the benefit of local people in Guatemala and this year, they can triple the size of their Laguna Grande Reserve – if you join us. Our Big Match Fortnight will be doubling your donations but not for long: contributions will only be matched until the end of Tuesday 19 October 2021.

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