Throughout Wallacea, there has been a historical lack of investment in conservation, specifically, and economic development in general. To be relevant, CEPF must make grants that, while promoting conservation, support the economic growth agendas of the hotspot's two countries, Indonesia and Timor-Leste.
CEPF recognizes that local communities and their organizations are the ultimate custodians of Wallacea's biodiversity, but their levels of capacity vary widely. Thus, our strategy focuses on building this capacity through partnerships, networks and mentoring with national and international nonprofits, universities and private companies.
In geographies where customary institutions and management practices still prevail, CEPF takes an approach that supports these first, even if it means not creating formal protected areas.
CEPF grants prioritize the globally threatened species in the hotspot that require specific, immediate action to protect them from either collection or killing for consumption and trade.
First described by Alfred Russel Wallace in 1869, the Wallacea region supports a startling amount of biodiversity. More than half of the hotspot's mammals, 40 percent of birds and 65 percent of amphibians do not occur outside the hotspot. In addition, the region, along with neighboring New Guinea, has more marine species than anywhere else on the planet, forming the heart of the western Pacific area known as the "Coral Triangle."
Some 30 million people live in Wallacea, primarily along the coasts of the more than 1,680 islands found here. They earn their living primarily from farms, forests, wetlands and the sea. Like much of Indonesia, Wallacea reflects the mixing of numerous cultures over the ages—indigenous, Javan, Indian, Chinese, Polynesian, Portuguese, Arabian and Dutch among them—resulting in an interweaving of languages, religions and ethnicities. This is highly significant as governments and civil society make decisions that aim to balance economic growth with the protection of biodiversity.