The goal of the Andes-Amazon Initiative is to ensure the long-term ecological integrity and climatic function of the Amazon basin. According to current estimates, achieving that goal will require that at least 70 percent of historic forest cover remains intact. 

To that end, we have invested more than $350 million in conservation and supporting strategies, helping to bring over 170 million hectares —  or nearly one-third of the original forest cover of the Amazon — under sustainable management.

The Andes-Amazon Initiative is dedicated to promoting conservation and sustainable development by working with and supporting NGOs, indigenous organizations, research institutions, governmental agencies and committed private sector partners.

The evolution of the Andes-Amazon Initiative

The foundation began supporting biodiversity and forest conservation in the Amazon basin in 2001, and launched the Andes-Amazon Initiative in 2003. Funding for the Andes-Amazon Initiative is currently authorized through 2021. 

From the beginning, the majority of our projects have focused on the creation and effective management of indigenous lands and protected areas, with supporting strategies centered on capacity building, science and public policy. We have also tested other complementary approaches:

  • Support for clean commodity supply chains in forestry and cattle ranching — the primary drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in the Brazilian Amazon (this effort informed the creation of our Forests and Agricultural Markets Initiative)
  • Integrated land use planning and governance in the Andean Amazon, particularly in Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia
  • Strategies to reduce or mitigate the impact of infrastructure development
  • The advancement of REDD frameworks to increase the value of standing forest

After testing these approaches, we decided to focus our resources and efforts on accelerating the consolidation of the protected areas we have supported in the past, and addressing infrastructure development in a few target geographies as a key driver of environmental degradation. Between now and 2021, we are committed to ensuring that a core set of protected areas and their surroundings are managed effectively, and conditions are in place for infrastructure development that will safeguard protected area durability and long-term, basin-wide forest cover and free-flowing rivers.

Our approach 

Our work now falls under the following distinct but integrated strategies to consolidate and safeguard the conservation gains achieved so far:

Protected areas

Protected area systems

  • Improve monitoring for adaptive management and establish sustainable finance structures for protected area systems in Brazil, Peru and Colombia.
Integration of protected areas in land-use planning
  • Strengthen the durability of certain protected areas and indigenous lands in priority mosaics in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil by ensuring they are integrated in jurisdictional land-use plans, economic and ecological zoning, and development policies.
Individual protected areas
  • Increase management effectiveness of key protected areas and indigenous lands in priority mosaics in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Drivers of environmental degradation

Knowledge management

  • Develop basin-wide scientific evidence on the socio-environmental impacts of road and dam development.

Infrastructure finance

  • Cultivate a recognition of the social and environmental risks of infrastructure development and appropriate standards as a condition of bank investment.


  • Ensure transparent and participatory processes for more environmentally and socially appropriate infrastructure development.

Click the map for a detailed view of all protected areas and indigenous lands in the Andes-Amazon region.

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