Poster session Scaling-up Nature-based Solutions in Latin America

We present the posters developed by our Coastal Solutions Fellows to summarise some of the amazing work they have been doing throughout the Pacific Coast of Latin America to create coastal resiliency and protect shorebird habitat across the Pacific Flyway. These posters were presented during our Special Event “Scaling up Nature Based Solutions in Latin America” held at the Willard Straight Hall, Ithaca, NY, on Thursday 23rd February, 2023 alongside Adaptation Latin America and the Interamerican Bank of Development.

Session Scaling-up Nature-based Solutions in Latin America

You can take a look the presentations and panel discussion of our special event here: 

María Valladares

Fellow CSF 2023 / Chile

Coquimbo Bay: Integrated Strategy for Conservation and Building of Coastal Resilience


Coquimbo Bay, in the central-northern zone of Chile, is considered an important area for the conservation of shorebirds. This area is classified as site 139 in the Pacific Americas Shorebird Conservation Strategy (PASCS), an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) site and is being promoted for the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) designation. In the Bay, 33 species of shorebirds have been recorded, of which 12 correspond to focal species, 3 are considered “Near Threatened” and 2 species nest in this priority site. The La Serena-Coquimbo conurbation has experienced a large population increase and expansion in recent decades, placing it as the fourth urban entity in the country. Urbanization in the coastal area and an economic development approach that promotes sun-and-beach tourism have resulted in a degradation of the coast. Faced with this scenario, multiple protection initiatives promoted by various sectors have emerged, but lacking an articulated governance. This project seeks to promote the conservation and protection of the coastal ecosystems and shorebirds in Coquimbo Bay through an integrated conservation strategy with three strategic lines: strengthening of governance and stakeholders’ articulation; implementation of a monitoring citizen science program to support conservation decision-making; and development of shorebird conservation strategies and human wellbeing. These lines will allow for the development of an integrated management model for the coastal zone; a participatory management plan for El Culebrón wetland; capacity building through the implementation of the environmental and shorebird monitoring citizen science program; protection of American Oystercatcher nesting areas and environmental outreach. Dr. María José Martínez-Harms, an expert in conservation, landscape ecology and planning, will be the mentor, and the Institute of Public Policies of the Universidad Católica del Norte will fulfill the role of host institution. Several intersectoral collaborators from the public, private, academic and civil society sectors will participate in the project.

Ariadna Araúz Ponce 

Fellow CSF 2021 / Chile

Panama Bay Wetlands, Panama City. 

Regenerative Master Plan for Juan Díaz and Don Bosco Area in Panama Bay


The Panama Bay Wetlands, mainly its first 30 km, are of hemispheric importance, on which 80% of the shorebirds of the Pacific Americas Flyway depend for resting and feeding during long-distance migration. However, the city’s urban footprint stretches here, generating a complex coexistence between humans and shorebirds. This shared space includes stakeholders from diverse socioeconomic realities motivated by different interests and aspirations that lead to the conflict, highlighting real estate development due to its strategic location and the perception of leftover space associated with the constant denial of the ecosystem services they offer. Therefore, the purpose of this project is to establish a model to reorient development —focused on water dynamics— to achieve climate adaptation and regenerate the inhabited soil of the bay drainage basin, through low-impact development solutions (LID) adoption. Applying behavioral insights, coastal adaptation strategies, and market-based mechanisms, this project aims to work beyond urban planning and legal instruments to insert a new flow of resources to (i) reach a cost-effective regeneration of critical ecosystems, vitally important for both humans and shorebirds, and (ii) demonstrate the possibility of working in a collaborative model to reach the site sustainability when the divergent motivations of stakeholders converge.

Key words: water dynamics, behavioral insights, climate adaptation, market-based mechanisms, incentives, regeneration, low-impact development solutions. 


Los Humedales de la Bahía de Panamá, principalmente sus primeros 30 km, son de importancia hemisférica, de los cuales depende el 80% de las aves playeras de la Ruta Migratoria del Pacífico de las Américas para descansar y alimentarse durante la migración de larga distancia. Sin embargo, aquí se extiende la huella urbana de la ciudad, generando una compleja coexistencia entre humanos y aves playeras. Este espacio compartido incluye actores de diversas realidades socioeconómicas motivados por diferentes intereses y aspiraciones que conducen al conflicto, destacando el desarrollo inmobiliario por su ubicación estratégica y la percepción de territorio residual asociado una constante negación de los servicios ecosistémicos que ahí existen. Por lo tanto, el propósito de este proyecto es establecer un modelo para reorientar el desarrollo —enfocado en la dinámica del agua— para lograr la adaptación climática y regenerar el suelo habitado de la cuenca de la bahía, a través de la adopción de soluciones de desarrollo de bajo impacto (LID). Aplicando ciencias del comportamiento, estrategias de adaptación costera y mecanismos basados en el mercado, este proyecto tiene como objetivo trabajar más allá de los instrumentos de planificación urbana y las leyes para insertar un nuevo flujo de recursos que permitan (i) lograr una regeneración rentable de ecosistemas críticos, de vital importancia para ambos humanos y 

aves playeras, y (ii) demostrar la posibilidad de trabajar en un modelo colaborativo para alcanzar la sostenibilidad del sitio cuando convergen las motivaciones divergentes de los actores.

Palabras clave: dinámica del agua, ciencias del comportamiento, adaptación climática, mecanismos basados en el mercado, incentivos, regeneración, soluciones de desarrollo de bajo impacto.

Juan Silva 

Fellow CSF 2022 / Chile

Building Resilience for Mataquito & Huenchullamí Coastal Wetlands in Maule Region, Chile


The Mataquito and Huenchullami coastal wetlands comprise more than 2,000 hectares and are internationally recognized for their importance for both resident and migratory shorebirds. This site is seriously threatened by human disturbances and pollution. From a socio-ecological perspective and with the use of participatory methodologies, this project seeks to articulate conservation professionals, government and local organizations around the co-construction of capacities for the conservation of shorebirds and the well-being of human communities in the site. Through the empowerment of key actors, co-learning and the promotion of governance, it is expected to institutionalize programs (birdwatching, environmental education and citizen science), monitoring systems, governance mechanisms, financing strategies, and explore official protection categories to reduce threats from human disturbances and pollution, and ensure the protection of the site in the long term.

Juanita Fonseca 

Fellow CSF 2021 / México

Implementing shorebird-friendly management practices on shrimp farms in Mexico


Shrimp farms in northwestern Mexico dominate the coastal landscape, contributing to the loss of shorebird habitat. Currently, these productive systems are used by thousands of migratory shorebirds as feeding, resting, and even breeding sites for some species. 

If adequately managed, shrimp farms can be an integral part of the solution to supplement the loss of coastal wetlands. Therefore, this project promotes the implementation of shorebird-friendly management practices in shrimp farms in the Ensenada de Pabellones lagoon system, a site of international importance within the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, which hosts more than 300,000 shorebirds in the winter. During the shrimp harvest, water ingress into the ponds contributed to the increase in the feeding sites for 20 species of shorebirds for more than a week. The hydrodynamic model will contribute to water management in the harvested ponds, and we will be able to estimate how many hectares could provide foraging habitat for shorebirds. Monitoring during the breeding season highlighted the importance of these sites for five species, three of which are under some protection category in Mexico. The placement of nest signs contributed to the low loss of nests by roadkill and the hatching success of the eggs. Meetings with producers and workshops with farm personnel highlighted the importance of these sites for shorebirds, leading to an agreement to designate 4,000 hectares to implement monitoring, management, and conservation actions. Finally, we want to promote the interest of the aquaculture sector, which is why various activities are being developed simultaneously to promote certification of farmed shrimp, which improves the quality of these sites for shorebirds and benefits the producer.

Eliana Montenegro

Fellow CSF 2021 / Ecuador

Solutions for a sustainable coexistence between people and aquatic birds in La Segua, Ecuador


La Segua wetland, located in the province of Manabí, has more than 1700 hectares that provide habitat for more than 126 species of resident and migratory birds. Despite being declared a wetland of international importance, it presents latent threats to its ecological integrity and biodiversity. The project “Solutions for Sustainable Coexistence between Humans and aquatic birds in La Segua, Ecuador”, supported by the Coastal Solutions Fellows Program of the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, seeks to maintain the ecosystem functions of La Segua for the benefit of residents and migratory waterbird populations through the implementation of better production practices, systematic monitoring, and local capacity building. To date, the main achievements of the project include: 5 hectares of shrimp ponds intervened with landscape modifications, two shrimp ponds monitored in boreal migration months (October 2021 to February 2022), a native plant nursery for restoration activities, four workshops for local capacity building, monthly counts in four navigable routes covering the entire wetland, and one conservation easement signed with one shrimp farm owner to maintain habitat for migratory shorebirds in the next 20 years. The results showed that shrimp farms could be important habitats for migratory shorebirds such as Least Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Whimbrels, Greater Yellowlegs, and Lesser Yellowlegs, among others. The challenges are enormous. However, these results demonstrate that proper and sustainable management of shrimp farms could become effective actions and opportunities to conserve shorebirds throughout their migratory route in the Pacific.

Ballantyne Puin Castaño

Fellow CSF 2023 / Colombia

Territorial Center for Conservation: a community-scientific led tourism effort based on bioeconomy


Punta Soldado Island (PS) is a strategic place for the development of conservation strategies in the Colombian Pacific. PS Island has a regional priority category for the shorebirds’ conservation and their habitats within the American Pacific Migratory Route. Additionally, it is a place where relevant scientific developments have taken place, such as the discovery of the first observations of some migratory birds and their behavior. PS Island is part of the National Protective Forest Reserve of Anchicayá. However, the economic needs of the communities living there have caused unsustainable changes in land use driven by conventional tourism and impacting shorebird habitat. This situation led to the creation of a new alternative known as ‘The Territorial Center for Conservation’: a community-scientific led tourism effort based on bio-economy. This center seeks to transition from conventional tourism towards scientific and nature tourism, enhancing the conservation of shorebird habitat and economic support for the community. This project focuses on 3 points to consolidate the center: 1) strengthening local capacities, 2) consolidating a community enterprise and complementary financing strategies, and 3) a monitoring plan for the protection and maintenance of shorebird habitats. In the long term, this project will help structure the territorial center as an articulation between different sectors such as the community, academia, businesses, and the public sector.

Onil Rodríguez 

Fellow CSF 2023 /  Honduras

Habitat conservation initiatives in the reserve Punta Condega – Jicarito System: safe sites for shorebirds in Gulf of Fonseca, Honduras


The “Punta Condega – Jicarito System” located in the Gulf of Fonseca, Honduras. It is the unification of four Habitat Management Areas by Species (AMHE – for its acronym in Spanish) that includes 45,393 hectares and is an integral part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor “Pacific of Honduras”. It was recently named as part of the Western Hemisphere Network of Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) as a reserve of regional importance for shorebirds. It is home to a diversity of habitats including sandy and gravel beaches, shrimp farms, and natural salt flats. The main threats that this project addresses are the loss of habitat due to inappropriate practices, as well as the absence of regulations or guidelines that do not allow communities to be encouraged into conservation issues and environmental education.Shorebird monitoring will also be implemented as an indicator of ecosystem health.The five solutions and products proposed are: I) a habitat conservation action plan supported, II) a manual of good practices in shrimp farming, III) the creation of legal regulations that allow access to economic incentives to motivate communities to participate in conservation initiatives, IV) a report of standardized annual monitoring to increase knowledge about shorebirds in Honduras, V) accompanied by an environmental education campaign. 

Iniciativas de conservación de hábitats en la reserva del Sistema Jicarito – Punta Condega: Sitios seguros para aves playeras en el Golfo de Fonseca, Honduras

Gabriela Contreras

Fellow CSF 2022 /  Chile

Conservation through zoning and local involvement in the Coihuín Marine Wetland, Puerto Montt, Chile


The Coihuín marine wetland is located in southern Chile, in the Los Lagos Region. It is an intertidal wetland internationally known for hosting essential percentages of resident and migratory shorebirds (Whimbrel, Hudsonian Godwit, and American Oystercatcher) ), being part of the IBA, WHSRN, and the American Pacific Flyway sites. This site is currently in the process to be recognized as a Coastal Marine Space for Native People (ECMPO – for its acronym in spanish) by Huilliches Lafkenches indigenous communities. Still, to date, it does not have any official protection and presents several threats associated with urbanization. This locality represents an area of high population growth in the absence of land management plans, which is manifested through land subdivisions, illegal takeovers, irregular construction, pollution, the presence of free-living dogs, vehicle traffic in unauthorized areas, poor tourism and recreational practices. In this context, this project seeks to conserve shorebird habitats through integration and local participation in decision-making and the development of sustainable production practices with shorebirds and their habitats. We will employ strategic lines based on governance and articulation with key stakeholders, site management through planning and zoning, mechanisms to promote good production practices, and capacity building through education and empowerment of local groups. The main advances to date relate to i) identification of relevant stakeholders of the site and their historical habitat, ii) formation and capacity building of a group of local monitors, c) diagnosis of productive practices of shore collectors, and d) effective involvement in local educational centers. 

Varinia Sagastume

Fellow CSF 2020 /  Guatemala

Participative strategies in the development of Best Management Practices for the shrimp industry in Guatemala


Thinking of the producer as an opportunity for conservation is an approach that allows us to understand beyond the impact of the shrimp industry. Through the application of best management practices (BMPs), we can collectively build solutions that integrate both the needs and interests of producers and those of shorebirds and their conservation.

We use the methodology of Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation to design strategic planning in a participatory manner that establishes actions within production practices to favor the availability and quality of habitat for shorebirds with potential benefits for producers and local communities. Through workshops, we implemented various participatory methodologies to understand the shrimp production system and identify threats and opportunities for the conservation of shorebirds. In addition, the purpose of planning is to inform, built capacity and involve key stakeholders in making conscious decisions within their production process.

These strategies allow us to design and monitor BMPs that will be used to support informed decision-making and improve the practice and effectiveness of conservation actions in the Guatemalan shrimp industry.