PADF and Caterpillar Extend Brazil Environmental Program to 2018

  • ConBio project to preserve threatened rainforest areas in southern Brazil
  • To date, ConBio has helped more than 10,000 children, teachers and residents learn about conservation and empowered them to protect green areas
  • Working with local government to create legislation that protects natural areas

Washington, D.C (June 16, 2015) – The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and the Caterpillar Foundation announced a renewed commitment to the protection of natural areas in southern Brazil’s Parana state. With funding from Caterpillar, PADF is extending the Condominium Biodiversity (ConBio) Program with the support of Sociedade de Pesquisa em Vida Selvagem e Educação Ambiental (SPVS), a leading Brazilian conservation organization. 

PADF first launched the ConBio program in Camp Largo in 2012 to promote the protection of the Atlantic Forest in southern Brazil. The project has been extended through 2018 and will continue to increase the number of properly managed urban green spaces in the region by educating the public about good environmental practices.

The Atlantic Forest, currently spanning more than 1,500 square miles (4,000 square kilometers) along coastal Brazil and as far as Argentina and Paraguay, has more than 2,000 species of animals and 20,000 species of plants. This rich rainforest is now fragmented into isolated pockets, and only one percent of its original area remains. ConBio aims to reduce the impact of climate change and deforestation by encouraging public awareness.

PADF and SPVS will continue to support local landowners by offering technical assistance and consolidating a network of stakeholders. A special emphasis in the second phase of the project is on supporting public policies says Luisa Villegas, PADF program director for South America.

“We want to work with the local government to create legislation that deals with the conservation of natural areas. Our goal is to build awareness of environmental issues, providing concrete measures to protect the environment."

Through workshops, community activities and educational events aimed at local residents, teachers and more than 10,000 local children, ConBio highlights the importance of conservation. It also empowers residents to become active protectors of local green spaces.

Since 2012, the ConBio program has:

  • Preserved 3,200 acres of green spaces
  • Planted 1,241 endangered native trees
  • Reached more than 10,400 students with our environmental awareness curriculum
  • Engaged 300 Caterpillar employees in workshops

"Participating in the ConBio program has been a great experience, especially because of the wealth of knowledge about native species that participants provided us,” said Conrado Reichmann Muller, owner of three acres in Campo Largo. “ConBio’s strategies are integral to the preservation of biodiversity in our county."

“The ConBio project shows that an investment in the environment can improve people's lives, including the most vulnerable populations,” says Villegas. “Preserving the habitat will improve the quality of life for everyone living in these regions.”

PADF, which recently incorporated a permanent country representative based in Brasilia, will continue to expand its development work in Brazil.