SalvaNATURA earns Conservation Impact Award as best in the Americas

Kyle Copas

Director of Marketing and Communications

Published date: 
Wed, 04/25/2012

The NatureServe network recognizes achievements of member program in El Salvador

Portland, Ore. (April 25, 2012)—SalvaNATURA was one of three outstanding natural heritage programs whose achievements earned the recognition of their peers during a ceremony at NatureServe’s annual Biodiversity Without Boundaries conference.

The 2012 Conservation Impact Award recognizes the San Salvador-based foundation's contributions to improved agricultural practices in El Salvador and surrounding countries as well as its advancement of the science and practice of both bird and ecosystem conservation. SalvaNATURA executive director Alvaro Moises received the NatureServe network’s award from Mary Klein, president and CEO of NatureServe

Alvaro Moises of SalvaNATURA receives award from NatureServe president and CEO Mary Klein
SalvaNATURA executive director Alvaro Moises receives the 2012 Conservation Impact Award from NatureServe president and CEO Mary Klein

“Our path of more than 22 years has allowed us to create the solid ground to build the so longed for sustainable development in El Salvador,” said Alvaro Moises, executive director of SalvaNATURA. “This award honors our confidence that the conservation of the biological corridors preserves ecosystem services for the benefit of the population, whether we are working to generate local opportunities through sustainable agriculture, scientific investigation on biodiversity, or increased awareness through environmental education.”

“By promoting sustainable forest stewardship in the coffee industry, SalvaNATURA ensures the protection of habitat for migratory birds flying between North and South America,” said Mary Klein of NatureServe. “This award recognizes the strength of these achievements and powerfully symbolizes how the combined efforts of the NatureServe network can conserve biodiversity across the Western Hemisphere.”

SalvaNATURA shared the 2012 Conservation Impact Award with the Florida Natural Areas Inventory.

Improving Best Practices for Conservation and Agriculture

Forests cover approximately 25% of El Salvador. Coffee plantations account for 10% of these forests, while 3% are natural areas. Since the mid-1990s, SalvaNATURA has embraced a strategy of working to conserve both sustainable coffee forests and protected areas.

In addition to the role it plays within the NatureServe network, SalvaNATURA is a founding member of the Sustainable Agriculture Network, which established and maintains the “Rainforest Alliance Certified” standard for coffee production. The Foundation’s efforts have helped increase the number of farmers committed to these standards, and now guarantees that 18,000 hectares of the nation’s coffee plantations follow environmentally responsible agricultural practices. El Salvador is now the third-largest exporter of environmentally responsible coffee. 

Sustainable coffee farms in El Salvador must maintain at least 40% forest cover—a practice that benefits biodiversity by allowing these agro-ecosystems to function as additional refuges for migratory and resident birds. A recent scientific study by SalvaNATURA highlighted the vital habitat that certified coffee farms provide for migratory birds in the Apaneca Mountain Range Biological Corridor—the primary coffee production area, located in western El Salvador.

SalvaNATURA conducts effective outreach to communities where its staff work, playing a key role in El Salvador‘s sustainable development by making residents aware of environmental issues and teaching them how to use ecosystem services responsibly. The Foundation’s influence also extends beyond its borders through environmental education projects and farm certification in neighboring Honduras and Nicaragua.

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NatureServe is a non-profit conservation organization whose mission is to provide the scientific basis for effective conservation action. The NatureServe network includes member programs operating across the United States, Canada, and Central and South America. By providing scientific knowledge, tools and expertise about the plants, animals, and ecosystems of the Americas, NatureServe and its members enable decision-makers, policy-makers, and others across the public and private sectors to make informed decisions about managing our natural resources.

SalvaNATURA is a non-profit conservation organization recognized nationally and internationally for its successful work in the field of environmental conservation in El Salvador and Mesoamerican region. Founded in 1989 as an ecological foundation initially focused on the conservation of protected natural areas, SalvaNatura now works to contribute to environmental conservation, climate-change adaptation, and sustainable development while improving the quality of life of the people of El Salvador and the Mesoamerican region. Learn more at