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Partner Snapshot


Sierra del Lacandón National Park, Guatemala

Appeal Category:
  • Protected Area Management
  • Wildlife Conservation
Key Species:
  • Endangered Baird's Tapir
  • Endangered Yucatán Black Howler Monkey
  • Jaguar
Challenges and Threats:
  • Insufficient resource allocation for fighting and preventing forest fires
  • Low environmental awareness on the causes of forest fires
  • Poor fire management practices
  • Training firefighters and designing local fires response systems
  • Purchasing firefighters’ protective equipment
  • Improve national conservation communications and capacity of local institutions

The Challenge

Every year, thousands of acres in the Maya Forest are damaged by fires. The Sierra del Lacandón National Park has not been an exception. In the park, approximately 2,800 acres in 2022 and 2,400 acres in 2023 were impacted by fires. It is estimated that at least five ecosystems have been affected, of which the medium-high broadleaf forest is the most impacted. Forest fires are
historically one of the main causes of degradation of ecosystems and biodiversity. There are several causes of the wildfires in this region, including the uncontrolled use of fire for resource extraction from the natural environment, agricultural and livestock activities, and even intentionally caused forest fires. Making things worse, climate events such as El Niño and prolonged droughts can exacerbate and lengthen the effects and duration of fires.

Urgent Solutions

In order to successfully combat forest fires and save the Sierra del Lacandón National Park, it is necessary to coordinate intersectional conservation efforts and promote an adequate allocation of funds. The funds will serve to finance a variety of work, including the training of forest firefighters, designing local response strategies, establishment of camps, and purchasing of necessary conservation equipment. Additionally, support is needed to implement communication and awareness campaigns, which have proven to be important for promoting awareness among Guatemalans about the causes of fires and ways in which they can be prevented. Furthermore, it is necessary to improve the capacities of local institutions in reporting, database management, applied research, and technology development, as well as the establishment of fire management plans. Last but not least, Defensores de la Naturaleza needs your help to invest in the restoration of the remaining key ecosystems and forests that will be affected by fires.

Why your donation matters

The Sierra del Lacandón National Park makes up 24.82% of the core zone of the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Petén, an area internationally recognized by UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program. It is also the second-largest national park in Guatemala. This protected area, located in the Maya Forest, is considered a centerpiece for the conservation of the country’s nature and biodiversity. Guatemala is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which is why it is important to raise awareness about these issues immediately, as climate change may lead exacerbating factors such as El Niño and droughts to worsen in the coming years. Furthermore, more than 35 communities depend on the ecosystem services provided by the Sierra del Lacandón, making the protection of these forests a priority to ensure the community members are able to adapt to the challenges that climate change brings. Forest fires have significant negative effects on both wild animal populations and human health, and they are a major cause of carbon emissions globally. Investing in the prevention of forest fires is extremely important for Sierra de Lacandón National Park’s biodiversity, the Guatemalan population, and the planet.

Partner Qualifications

  • IUCN Member
    A distinguished Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. IUCN Members are each vetted and voted on based on an independent, rigorous assessment and external references. Learn More
  • Verified Partner
    One of Conservation Allies' staff or trusted advisors has visited this organization and verified its work and impact.
  • Legally Constituted
    This organization is formally constituted and is a legally recognized non-profit in its country of origin.
  • Top Accountability
    Our experienced team has rigorously reviewed the organization's annual accounts. Learn More
  • Effective Impact
    We recognize this Partner for their tremendous efforts to make a difference for wildlife and local communities, as well as welcome technical support from Conservation Allies to improve and scale up their impact.
  • Conservation Action Heroes
    We recognize this Partner for their high level of engagement with the Conservation Allies team and their demonstration of a clear commitment to our collective mission of making a real difference and having a major impact on wildlife and communities where it is needed most.