Aurelio Ramos Sees the World Via Birds

Two years in the past, Aurelio Ramos joined Audubon as Senior Vice President of Audubon Americas. Audubon Americas, or what was once referred to as the Worldwide Alliances Program, focuses on conservation points all through the hemisphere, from Canada and Mexico to South American nations like Chile and Colombia. And simply this week, the Bezos Earth Fund dedicated $12 million to the Conserva Aves program, a partnership between Audubon Americas, BirdLife Worldwide, American Hen Conservancy, and RedLAC members. I talked to Ramos about what he has deliberate for Audubon Americas, and the way his personal experiences rising up in Colombia will assist obtain these targets.

Inform me concerning the new Audubon Americas technique. What are this system’s total targets and what techniques will the workforce and companions use to realize them?

The very first thing that we would have liked to determine was our scope: Did we need to do hemispheric conservation of simply migratory species? Or did we need to additionally embody resident, endemic, and globally threatened species? Then we would have liked to determine the locations the place all of these completely different sorts of birds overlap, and at what scale and stage would we have to work to essentially make a distinction.

We spent the final 12 months doing all of those analyses and planning and we recognized these locations. We got here up with a objective from Mexico all the best way right down to Argentina and Chile of round 126 million hectares that wanted to be conserved. We put a goal on the following 5 years to do 10 million hectares. After which, within the subsequent 10 years we’d preserve one other 40 million hectares. It’s an enormous objective. To realize it, we developed 4 conservation methods that can take us to that stage and scale. 

The primary one focuses on protected areas. We’ve got an initiative known as Conserva Aves, which is a coalition between Audubon, BirdLife Worldwide, American Hen Conservancy, and RedLAC, which is a community of environmental funds in Latin America that has greater than 25 environmental funds. We’re partnering by this coalition to take a look at protected areas in our focus nations. We’re within the course of proper now of structuring these funds that can enable conservation in seven nations by 2025. So, an enormous chunk of these 10 million hectares is coming from Conserva Aves. We hope to do our first requires proposals from native communities in Could or June of subsequent 12 months.

The second technique focuses on agriculture and cattle ranching, as these two sectors have been the principle reason behind biodiversity loss in Latin America. For any technique to achieve success, it should present monetary and social advantages to these farmers, along with creating environmental advantages. Our technique right here is to take a look at present finest practices in sustainable agriculture and convey the fowl element into it. For instance, some tasks are pursuing silvopasture programs, through which you place extra timber within the land. We can assist direct what kind of timber needs to be used. With cropland, which sorts of crops are going to be extra helpful for birds? 

The third one is coastal resilience. Greater than 60 % of Latin Individuals stay 60 kilometers away from the ocean, and there’s a lot of improvement taking place alongside the coasts. Sadly, many issues are altering in coastal areas with sea-level rise and flooding. We can assist implement confirmed nature-based options: mangroves and coral reefs and sea grasses—all of which help large numbers of birds with meals and shelter—are significantly better at sustaining coastlines when in comparison with constructing extra partitions. So once more, we need to assist these confirmed options to scale up, and we’re bringing the fowl element to the answer.

And the fourth technique is what we name “broadening our constituency for birds.” There are a terrific many fowl lovers in Latin American, and we’re going to channel this wonderful power into coverage adjustments in a lot the identical approach that Audubon does in the US with its chapter community. We’re working in our our precedence countriesto develop nationwide methods for fowl conservation and cement fowl conservation into nationwide insurance policies.

What are a number of the most vital issues that one should take into account when working throughout the Americas? Are there nation particular points that that you must deal with? 

We’re taking a look at methods that could possibly be utilized wherever, however after all there are particular issues to every nation and locality. For example, proper now we’re working with Indigenous communities of First Nations in Canada. However we’re additionally taking a look at which elements of that work could be taken and adopted in locations like Colombia or Mexico. We’re trying on the nationwide framework with constructing our constituency for birds on the nationwide stage the place we perceive there’s a completely different dynamic at a rustic stage, that is the place choices are made financially and on the coverage stage.

Why did this system identify change from Worldwide Alliances program to Audubon Americas? What does this new identify “Audubon Americas” signify to you?

‘Worldwide program’ divides what’s the united statesand what is occurring in all places else. With “Audubon Americas,” we’re saying that we’re trying from Canada all the best way right down to Chile and Argentina—intentionally bringing that kind of connectivity of the Americas. We’re all Individuals. Folks from Chile are Individuals. Folks from the U.S. are Individuals. We’re saying one thing that birds remind us of: We’re all a part of the identical hemisphere, and the conservation work we do in a selected nation has repercussions on the life cycle of species in different areas of the Americas. We need to elevate a easy however highly effective idea for biodiversity: Defending wildlife and the locations they stay means working throughout the hemisphere, throughout disciplines, throughout areas, languages, ethnicity, cultures. That’s what makes the Americas distinctive.

What was the re-envisioning course of like, and what sorts of points did you contemplate as you and your workforce created the brand new marketing strategy? 

Among the issues that we have been taking a look at is how can we determine the methods and tasks that we’ll get the best return on funding. 

The assets that we convey internationally, together with Audubon’s, are very small in comparison with the assets obtainable domestically in every nation. However our investments are designed to be catalytic to assist kickstart coverage and behavioral adjustments on the native and nationwide stage. As such, after we have been revamping Audubon’s hemispheric work, we requested ourselves how can we be very strategic, to make the adjustments and catalyze the adjustments which might be vital?

a group of people facing the camera, many looking up at a bird that is not in the photograph.

Whereas constructing our marketing strategy, we needed to perceive which locations are actually vital. After figuring out these 126 million hectares which might be actually vital, we needed to determine the ten million hectares which might be tremendous essential, after which outline these methods which might be going to permit us to associate with the important thing stakeholders to make that work occur. 

Does the technique have a base focus in grassroots or in native NGO partnerships?

We’ve got been growing the methods involving grassroots, native, nationwide, and worldwide organizations. It’s the solely approach that we will accomplish the targets for local weather change and biodiversity. 

What we have now recognized is what’s the valued mixture or the valued proposition from Audubon whereas bringing the ability of birds into these processes.  Through the enterprise planning course of, we consulted with BirdLife companions on the bottom, together with Calidris in Colombia, Panama Audubon, CODEFF in Chile, and the ProNatura community in Mexico. Every of those organizations offered inputs into our present marketing strategy and what our strategy will likely be in every of their nations.

The Migratory Hen initiative has an enormous function to play, too. We’ve got been partnering with them on figuring out the locations most vital to birds throughout the hemisphere, nevertheless it’s the ability of storytelling round fowl migration that will likely be essential for us. If we will elevate the enjoyment of migration utilizing the Migratory Hen Explorer—if we will current that info, and that imaginative and prescient, to native organizations and grassroots—we have now an unimaginable device to help adjustments on the bottom. So, as we’re advancing as one Audubon between Audubon Americas, the Migratory Hen initiative and we join the Americas by Audubon Americas, we’re going to be partnering and connecting communities not solely in Latin America and the Caribbean, however Canada and the US, multi function single hemispheric strategy.

How do your private experiences—rising up in Colombia, working for U.S.-based conservation organizations like The Nature Conservancy and Audubon—inform how you’re employed, and the way you suppose different U.S.-based organizations would possibly strategy working in Latin America? 

My first job was with Humboldt Organic Assets Analysis Institute in Colombia. It was very informative as a result of it helped me perceive how finance and coverage function at a nationwide stage, and what it takes to make issues occur at that stage. Then I labored on the Latin American stage with CAF, also called the Latin American Growth Financial institution, as an economist serving to the financial institution affect how biodiversity could possibly be mainstreamed below finance work and improvement. Then I joined the Nature Conservancy and in a while Audubon. Altogether, I’ve labored for Latin America for nearly 30 years now.

The significance has been, as a Colombian, as a Latin American, I’m able to convey that native and nationwide information and understanding to a world group just like the Audubon. It was bringing in that cultural and behavioral understanding of how issues occur and choices are made at completely different ranges and in numerous contexts. However I believe it is a double circulate—the information goes each methods. Understanding how issues work in Latin American nations, and the way issues work within the U.S., is the important thing to success while you’re primarily based within the U.S. however working hemispherically.

One actually vital reality I’ve discovered: It takes time for organizations to develop into actually world or worldwide. It’s a complete means of understanding, respecting, and dealing along with organizations, and being very inclusive of all of the variations and the work that’s wanted. And that doesn’t occur in every week. Or perhaps a 12 months.

What’s your favourite fowl? OK, your three favourite birds?

The primary fowl that I actually began to grasp the idea of ‘the enjoyment of migration’ was the Dickcissel. I used to be working with the Nature Conservancy in Venezuela to assist handle all of the challenges this fowl confronted when it arrived to the grasslands of Venezuela. We labored with the farmers, discovering methods to handle these challenges in a approach that unduly burden them. 

One other inspiring fowl has been the Cerulean Warbler and all of the analysis that scientists are doing in Colombia throughout its migration.  

I’m positively additionally fascinated by raptors. I’ve been studying concerning the Broad-winged Hawks, and the way they use wind channels as they migrate.

The chance of seeing the world by birds has been wonderful. I’ve been round fowl lovers, and studying little by little, and I by no means thought I might be mainstreamed into this. The ability of birds is fascinating!

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