Water & Species Conservation

The Foundation focuses on areas of critical biodiversity that are at particular risk from population growth, human development, and climate change. It supports programs which promote sustainable land use initiatives, more efficient agricultural practices, better fishing initiatives, livelihood alternatives, and enhanced water quality.

Tropical Andes

Considered the richest and most diverse region on Earth, the Tropical Andes region holds nearly 20 percent of the world’s plants and animal species in less than 1 percent of the world’s land area and maintains the largest variety of amphibians on Earth. The Tropical Andes region features habitats of mist cloud forests, high altitude grasslands, mangroves, coral reefs, and dry forests. It still holds ecosystems that are largely intact though it is estimated that no more than 25 percent of the total Tropical Andes region’s original vegetation remains. Climate change, unsustainable agriculture and cattle ranching practices, infrastructure projects, illegal hunting and mining, inappropriate logging and political instability continue to threaten the biodiversity, health, and ecological integrity of the region’s rivers.

Conservation strategies in the area include increasing land areas and indigenous communities under protection, mitigating the direct effects of infrastructure development and resource extraction, providing clean drinking water to urban centers, and working with landowners to implement more-sustainable cattle-grazing, agricultural and fisheries practices, and to conserve freshwater resources.  People depend on the region’s rivers as a source of fresh water, food, and hydropower energy. The DN Batten Foundation is particularly interested in payment for ecosystem services strategies (e.g. downstream users of drinking water paying upstream landowners for practices that keep the water clean), which have been pioneered in this region.

Grantee Spotlight: RARE


Ranked in the top 25 NGOs in the world by NGO Advisor, Rare is an innovative conservation organization that implements proven conservation solutions and trains local leaders in communities worldwide. Through its signature behavior change campaigns (called Pride campaigns), Rare inspires people to take pride in the species and habitats that make their community unique, while also introducing practical alternatives to environmentally destructive practices. Employees of local governments or non-profit organizations receive extensive training on fisheries management, campaign planning and social marketing to communities. They are equipped to deliver community-based solutions based on natural and social science, while leveraging policy and market forces to accelerate positive environmental change through programs in clean water, sustainable agriculture, and coastal fisheries.

At present, Rare has more than 100 community behavior change projects in Columbia, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Mozambique and the Philippines.

The Foundation also contributes to the following organizations in the areas of Water & Species Conservation:

EarthRights International
Forest Trends
Natura Foundation Bolivia
Amazon Conservation Association