£1.15 million raised for our Colombia’s Forests of Mist appeal SEARCH NEWS

Thanks to your support and generous donations, we’re delighted to announce that our Colombia’s Forests of Mist appeal has reached its £1.15 million target. Our partner Fundación Guanacas can now expand and protect the remarkable cloud forests of the Guanacas Reserve.

The cloud forests of the Tropical Andes are among the most biodiverse and complex ecosystems on the planet, but only 10–20% of Colombia’s original cloud forests remain. In a time when protecting them has never been more urgent, your donations will expand the Guanacas Reserve by 181 hectares and plant 36,500 new trees in the years to come.

What your donations will do

Since 1990, Fundación Guanacas has been protecting the cloud forests of the Antioquia region in northwest Colombia.

Beginning with the purchase of 120 hectares in the foothills of the Cerro San Jose mountains, the Guanacas Reserve has grown to over 850 hectares of biodiverse habitat. WLT has been by Fundación Guanacas’ side since 2019 and a total of 296 hectares of land is currently under the stewardship of our partner because of the generous donations made by WLT supporters.

With the help of supporters like you, Fundación Guanacas’ incredible work will continue. Your donations to our Colombia’s Forests of Mist appeal will now:

  • Fund a 181-hectare expansion of the existing Guanacas Reserve, bringing the reserve to a total of 1,031 hectares.
  • Plant 36,500 trees between 2024 and 2028 to restore 100 hectares of degraded forest. These trees will be from 26 different native species, and will cover everything from seed collection, to nurturing the saplings, and the ongoing protection of trees as they grow.
  • Employ 4 new rangers from the local community to patrol and safeguard the forest for the project’s first three years.
  • Help to develop ecotourism by going towards the building of nine cabins to host guests at the reserve. These ecotourism activities will be developed in partnership with local communities.

As our eleventh Big Match Campaign, every donation made to Colombia’s Forests of Mist during Big Match Fortnight (11-25 October) was matched to triple its gift value.

With your generous donations, Fundación Guanacas have already been able to secure the first 25ha to be purchased as part of this project. Every donation means so much and will go on to make a huge difference for this remarkable reserve.

A home for threatened species

Reaching heights of up to 2,700 metres above sea level, the cloud forest within the Guanacas Reserve is a delicate ecosystem, boasting an extraordinary concentration of species within a small geographical range. In fact, it is home to 665 species, including 15 on the IUCN Red List.

This includes the Critically Endangered Antioquia Brushfinch, a tropical songbird thought to be extinct until 2018. There are only 40 known individuals, and the Guanacas Reserve is the only protected area where the Antioquia Brushfinch is present. It is vital that we preserve the remaining fragments of the Brushfinch’s habitat to connect isolated populations and ensure the species’ long-term survival – and now your donations to our appeal will help do just that.

Alongside this elusive brushfinch, the reserve is also home to species such as Antioquia Chocolate Frog, which depend upon the puddles and damp terrain of the cloud forest to survive, and Puma, which find safety from human conflict and illegal hunting within the Reserve. Not to mention endemic plant species like the highly threatened Quindio Wax Palm, the tallest palm tree in the world.

There is also much still awaiting discovery in this misty refuge – for example, in just a short 5-day research trip, colleagues of Fundación Guanacas recorded around 120 different orchid species across the project site.

Each hectare that you help Fundación Guanacas save will hand all these species a vital lifeline and a chance to thrive despite the ongoing threats they face.

A legacy of conservation

Rodrigo Castaño Díaz, the President and Founder of Fundación Guanacas, says the reserve “exists to defend life.”

He, his family and the whole team at Guanacas have dedicated their lives to this landscape, and have built an intricate connection with the land they walk, monitor and protect on a daily basis.

According to Rodrigo, “The importance of these cloud forests goes far beyond the trees we see. When this project began, it was simply an altruistic act, something I wanted to do. But today, it is a fundamental project for the sector, the region, and the country. Cloud forests are highly threatened, and without them, there is no guarantee for biodiversity, including flora and fauna, and the most crucial resource for life, which is water.”

Now, thanks to your ongoing support, you too are joining Rodrigo’s mission, and helping to defend the life of the Guanacas Reserve.

From all of us at WLT and Fundación Guanacas, we want to say a huge Thank You!

We are extremely appreciative of every single donation you have made to our Colombia’s Forests of Mist appeal. The Guanacas Reserve is an extraordinary habitat, and your generosity will make a tangible difference to the people, plants and animals that live there.

Together we are actively securing a future for one of Colombia’s threatened cloud forests.

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