New & Notable on Guatemala Group Unites with Other NGOs to Save a Warbler

Project Name: Golden-cheeked Warbler Conservation

Managing NGO, country: Defensores de la Naturaleza, Guatemala

Project directors: César Leonel Tot, Edgar Selvin Pérez

Photo by Texas Parks & WildlifeSynopsis: The golden-cheeked warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia) is an endangered species because its primary nesting habitat in Texas, tall juniper and oak woodlands, has been cleared for buildings, roads, farmland, and cattle pasture. This gold-and- black songbird migrates as far south as Nicaragua during the northern winter months. One of its most important tropical habitats is the high-altitude pine forests of Guatemala’s Sierra de las Minas reserve, which is managed by the conservation group, Defensores de la Naturaleza.

To secure more habitat for the warbler, Defensores is working with local farmers and with Q’ueqchi and Pocomchi indigenous people living in Sierra de las Minas to plant pine trees, decrease use of forest trees for firewood, and to grow more crops among standing trees, rather than clearing forest for farmland. Biologists with the nonprofit group are also doing research to better understand the birds’ tropical habitat needs. Defensores shares information with Pronatura Chiapas, in southern Mexico, and with the Autonomous University of Honduras; both organizations are also working to conserve golden-cheeked warbler habitat.

Annual budget & donors: $75,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; Nature Conservancy of Texas; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Fondo Nacional para la Conservación en Guatemala.

Goals for this year: 1) Maintain already reforested lands and plant about 250 additional acres (100 hectares) with pine encino in Sierra de las Minas and proposed biological corridors. 2) Continue with species monitoring in Sierra de las Minas and other highland areas. 3) Continue research related to available food supplies for D. chrysoparia and other resident and migrant bird species. 4) Work more closely with organizations involved in the conservation of D. chrysoparia in Texas and northern Mesoamerica.

Read this project’s lessons learned and more in the Eco-Index:


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