South America is lined with more than 50,000 miles of coastline and contains over half of the world's tropical forests. The continent is home to spectacular natural features such as the Andes Mountains and important Rivers including the Amazon, Orinoco, and Parana-Plata.
Protected areas in South America were being rapidly created in the 1960s, but due to social and economic stress of the 1970s these areas have seen the plight of deforestation and destruction of coastal areas, while conservation initiatives have been assigned lower priority. Changes in land use have initiated an increased concern about environmental problems, escalating conservation activities. As of 1992, officially designated protected areas and reserves grew to 20% of the continent. Much of these parks existed only on paper, with administrations trying to act within inadequate legal frameworks and lack of environmental legislation; these hindrances have prompted the emergency initiative by the Parks in Peril program.
South America Partners
The Nature Conservancy in South America
Photo: Noel Kempff Mercado, Bolivia © Hermes Justiniano