Biodiversity Conservation in the Caribbean
January 11, 2005 | Press Release | Conservation & Sustainable Development

MacArthur has announced 13 grants totaling more than $3.2 million in support of biodiversity conservation work in the islands of the Caribbean.


The Caribbean is a region of breathtaking biodiversity. Yet due to its diverse culture and varying levels of economic development among the 24 island countries and dependent territories that make up the region, the Caribbean represents a special challenge to those who seek to build a region-wide approach to conservation, said Jonathan F. Fanton, president of MacArthur. Elements of our grantmaking are focused on the Greater Antilles the islands of the northwestern Caribbean while other grants have been awarded for work throughout the region. The MacArthur Foundations first conservation grants made outside the United States were awarded 17 years ago to organizations at work in the Caribbean. Because of the long-term nature of conservation work, nearly two decades later we continue to provide support designed to help preserve the land and we are expanding efforts focused upon the sea.


Caribbean Region

  • RARE, a Virginia-based organization that promotes ecotourism worldwide, received a grant of $325,000 over three years to help develop ecotourism in Grenada and to explore application of the approach elsewhere in the Caribbean.
  • The World Resources Institute, based in Washington, DC, received a grant of $300,000 over three years to study the value of goods and services derived in a sustainable way from the coral reefs of the Caribbean.
  • Eugene, Oregon-based Environment Law Alliance Worldwide (E-LAW U.S.) received a grant of $285,000 over three years to work with public interest lawyers in Jamaica and elsewhere in the Caribbean to expand their knowledge of environmental law and policy and its potential for use in protection of biodiversity.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Centre received a grant of $250,000 over three years to teach Marine Protected Area managers in the region the process for acquiring World Heritage status, which provides international recognition of a site as an important world resource deserving of protection. Marine Protected Areas have been established throughout the Caribbean to protect sensitive ecosystems, especially coral reefs and other similar habitats. Particular emphasis in the project will be placed on supporting preparation of a serial marine World Heritage nomination of Southern Cuban coral reefs.
  • A grant of $200,000 over three years was awarded to the Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit of the United Nations Environment Programme in Kingston, Jamaica, to increase the number of trained Marine Protected Area managers in the Caribbean region under the MPA Training Programme of the Protocol on Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife(SPAW) and the MPA network CaMPAM.
  • A grant of $60,000 over one year was awarded to the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), based in Trinidad & Tobago, to update its strategic plan for building conservation alliances and strengthening participatory conservation and sustainable development initiatives in the region.

Dominican Republic

  • Grupo Jaragua received a grant of $375,000 over three years to complete a conservation plan that will help link protected areas in the southwest Dominican Republic through development of biological corridors, building scientific understanding of the ecology of the island, and enhancing local livelihoods and environmental stewardship through eco-tourism and improved agro-forestry practices.


  • The Nature Conservancy received a grant of $195,000 over three years to test regional and national databases that will facilitate the co-management of the countrys national parks and reserves by the Jamaican government and national nongovernmental organizations (NGO). The grant will also be used to develop an Internet-based communications tool for national NGOs working on biodiversity conservation.


Subject to the satisfaction of applicable U.S. government regulations, five grants will be awarded to organizations in the United States, England, and Canada to support conservation work in Cuba:

  • A grant of $350,000 over three years will be made to New York-based Cornell Universitys Lab of Ornithology to help Cuban resource managers, scientists, and training specialists apply the latest conservation innovations. Grant funds will also be used to build a baseline of biological data and conduct ecological monitoring in and around the remote mountain parks and seashores of southeastern Cuba, which are of regional importance.
  • The Wildlife Conservation Society, based in the Bronx, New York,  will receive a grant of $325,000 over three years to help improve conservation management of the Cienaga de Zapata wetland in south central Cuba. Grant funds will be used to assess the current environmental state of the landscape, evaluate the impact of local water policies on plant and animal diversity, and provide recommendations for long-term conservation goals.
  • A grant of $250,000 over three years will be given to New York-based Environmental Defense Fund to help Cuba respond to the growing pressure of development along its coast. Environmental Defense will help strengthen conservation policy skills of resource managers, scholars and others in the conservation community.
  • World Wildlife Fund-Canada is slated to receive a grant of $245,000 over three years to help advance sustainable tourism in Cuba focusing on both the islands rapidly developing sun & sand tourism, and on small-scale, community-based tourism near important marine/coastal conservation sites.
  • Birdlife International, based in the United Kingdom, will be given $95,000 over three years to help improve management and establish processes for monitoring three key coastal wetlands in southeast Cuba and on the nearby Isle of Youth.
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