Program Authorizing Statute: Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531-43) South America is home to some of the most biologically rich sites in the world. The regionâ€™s landscapes host large numbers of endemic species and biodiversity threatened by habitat loss and degradation due to unsustainable land use and high deforestation rates, driven by increased demands of a growing global population for food, forest products, land minerals, and energy. Whereas human activity can be the greatest threat to a regionâ€™s biodiversity, individuals, and local communities and organizations are also the most powerful element for conservation when stakeholders are able to work cooperatively toward shared conservation goals that incorporate the sustainable use of landscapes and natural resources. The challenge is to effectively engage stakeholders at the individual, community, organizational and institutional levels to implement sound conservation actions in a participatory and inclusive way that produces clear conservation results that are sustainable and enduring. Program Goal: Conserve priority species, habitats and ecological processes across landscapes with high biodiversity value in South America. Program Objectives: â€˘ Reduce the underlying threats and address the human elements of biodiversity conservation by supporting the implementation of on the ground projects. â€˘ Conserve flora and fauna by strengthening the ability of local institutions, decision makers and civil society to deliver enduring conservation actions. â€˘ Maximize conservation impact by developing strategic partnerships with key stakeholders at the local, national, regional and international levels. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) funding will be considered for projects that take place in the countries and regions under Geographic Eligibility and that address the priority threats described under Programmatic Funding Priorities, described below. Please review each USFWS funding priority below for specific details, including what USFWS wants to achieve through its funding support (i.e., Desired Results). Each funding priority also identifies factors that, in USFWS experience, are basic requirements (also known as prerequisites or enabling conditions) for projects to effectively implement proposed activities. Applicants should address these factors in the proposalâ€™s Statement of Need. Proposed activities should identify specific conservation actions that have a high likelihood of creating durable benefits. Project activities that emphasize data collection and status assessment should describe a direct link to management action, and explain how lack of information has been a key limiting factor for management action in the past. Proposals that do not identify how actions will reduce threats, or do not demonstrate a strong link between data collection and management action, are not eligible for consideration. Please note that government endorsement is required for all proposals. Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with relevant government authorities prior to preparing applications for USFWS funds. Projects should take place in the countries/regions of South America described under Geographic Eligibility. Please note that projects in Central America are administered through the Wildlife Without Borders â€“ Central America Program, and in Mexico are administered through the Wildlife Without Borders â€“ Mexico Program. Due to other grant programs supported by the USFWS, Wildlife Without Borders â€“ South America will not fund projects related to: Marine Turtles (Marine Turtle Conservation Fund) and Neotropical Migratory Birds (Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act Fund) Geographic Eligibility: The Tropical Andes, including Amazon basin border regions â€“ Center of mega-diversity. Spanning from western Venezuela to northern Chile and Argentina, including all of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, this region contains approximately one-sixth of all plant life in less than 1 percent of the world's land area. The Southern Cone â€“ Landscape diversity and species endemism. Comprised of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, this region is home to a high number of unique species and landscapes found nowhere else on Earth. The following two eco-regions of the Southern Cone are eligible for USFWS funding in FY 2016: The Gran Chaco Americano is the largest dry forest in South America and the continent's most extensive forested region outside Amazonia. It is a vast plain extending from the Andes in the west to the Paraguay River in the east, covering parts of northern Argentina, western Paraguay and south-eastern Bolivia. Map of the Gran Chaco: Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GranChacoApproximate.jpg Patagonia encompasses the southern end of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andean mountains as well as the deserts, steppes and grasslands east of the southern portion of the Andes, including the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean coasts. Map of Patagonia: Source: http://www.destination360.com/south-america/argentina/map-of-patagonia Programmatic Funding Priorities: A) Unsustainable land use Description: The USFWS will support projects that benefit landscapes that are clearly justified to be of 1) high conservation value and 2) under immediate and direct threat from unsustainable land use practices (i.e., expansion of agricultural activity, grazing, deforestation, etc.). Through targeted ecosystem and/or landscape-level conservation actions, projects shall directly link identified threats to key stakeholders. Projects should seek to create or promote actions amongst key stakeholders to work cooperatively to identify conservation problems, diagnose causes and jointly identify and implement best practices for conservation and management solutions through a participatory and inclusive process that acknowledges the legitimacy of partner needs and goals and the advantages of concerted collaborative action to address complex resource management challenges. Desired results: Increased conservation and management of threatened landscapes of high conservation value including both protected areas and multi-functional landscapes. Proposals should address one or more of the following: â€˘ Reduction of unsustainable land use activities (e.g., habitat degradation or loss due to the expansion of agriculture and/or cattle ranching/pastures, road and infrastructure) that lead to improved alternative livelihoods, climate change resilience, and/or sustainable food production systems in the biodiversity conservation project area; â€˘ Reduction of threats to highly endangered wildlife and plant species (e.g., harvesting, hunting, fishing, habitat destruction by land use change, wildfires, other); and â€˘ Integration of both human and biological dimensions into conservation policies and programs at the local, national, and/or regional level. Additional desired results related to management or establishment of high value conservation areas: â€˘ Legal declaration of conservation areas (if not formally protected). â€˘ A management plan with clear authority, responsive and flexible enough to be adapted as needed, and implementation of plan by relevant wildlife authorities and other stakeholders. â€˘ Illegal activities curtailed at the conservation area, and public use of the site is consistent with conservation goals. B) Trafficking of illegal species (wildlife, plant and/or timber) and/or illegal wildlife pet trade Description: The USFWS will support local, national and regional (transnational) activities designed and implemented to reduce species (wildlife, plant and/or timber) trafficking and illegal pet trade. Proposals should focus on reducing the market for wild animals, plant and/or timber resources that are illegally and unsustainably harvested. This opportunity will consider both field- and legal system-based projects. Eligible proposals include both projects to combat poaching and habitat degradation in high value conservation areas, as well as projects that increase national political will and legal capacity to improve compliance with anti-trafficking laws and law enforcement. Example activities include disruption of illegal trade networks and control of illicit trade routes; support to national judicial systems and law enforcement offices to apply wildlife-related law; augmentation of the national governmentâ€™s capacity to protect high value sites, including protected area management or establishment; and reduction of threats and/or targeted recovery of species that are clearly identified to be threatened. In the project narrative section, proposals should describe current conditions that will enable proposed activities to be successful, including the status of government resources and political will to support field protection missions and/or wildlife law enforcement, existing intelligence and informant networks, and existing project strategies that support good governance and ensure the legal process is not undermined by corruption. Overall desired results: Reduced illegal and/or unsustainable distribution of species (wildlife, plant, and/or timber resources). Decreased availability and commercial activities relating to illegal species. Increased application of wildlife protection laws by in-country decision-makers and law enforcement agents. Regional, transnational and/or international actions that lead to direct cooperation and communication to combat wildlife trafficking. Effective messaging in the media and development community regarding the link between wildlife declines and illegal trade. Proposals should address one or more of the following: â€˘ Identify and address the key human behavior(s) to be changed related to the unsustainable or illegal trade; â€˘ Define credible measure(s) demonstrating effectiveness of project activities, and â€˘ Produce benefits for other species and/or habitats within the project area. Additional desired results related to the legal system: â€˘ Sufficient investigative capacity to identify wildlife traffickers and the evidence that can be used to assist their arrest and prosecution. â€˘ Arrests and prosecutions of suspected wildlife traffickers, and appropriate legal penalties for convicted traffickers. â€˘ National and/or international news and media related to wildlife trafficking law enforcement, and a public awareness that wildlife law is being enforced. â€˘ Items confiscated during anti-trafficking efforts do not re-enter wildlife trade and are stored securely. Additional desired results related to field missions: â€˘ Tactical deployment of field missions to detect and deter illegal activities, including apprehension of poachers and perpetrators of other illegal activities. â€˘ Items confiscated during field activities are appropriately destroyed and/or do not re-enter wildlife trade or poaching activities. â€˘ Reduction in hunting for the illegal trade in wildlife. C) Human-wildlife conflict Description: The USFWS will support local, national and regional (transnational) activities designed to mitigate and reduce conflicts between people and wildlife due to predation on livestock, domestic animals and game species, wildlife disease, and overall damage to human lives and livelihoods in agricultural and multi-use areas located within or near protected areas. Desired results: Reduction or elimination of conflicts between humans and wildlife, including livestock predation, and damage to human lives and livelihoods. Proposals should address one or more of the following: â€˘ pre-emptive techniques to reduce or eliminate conflicts between humans and wildlife, â€˘ reduction of retaliatory attacks and killings of wildlife, â€˘ engagement of relevant constituencies (e.g. ranchers, decision-makers, community or opinion leaders) for peaceful co-existence with wildlife through education, outreach and social marketing campaigns, â€˘ integration of sustainable mechanisms and/or policy incentives for owners to prevent livestock predation at the local, national, and/or regional level, and â€˘ produce benefits for other species and/or habitats within the project area.