Restoring Habitat for the Conservation of Hummingbirds Western Mexico.

Determine the impacts of fire management on the Sierra de Manantlán Biosphere Reserve (SMBR) in Jalisco, México (hummingbirds as key specie)

Photo of Manantlán Reserva de la Biosfera
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Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
  • I am 18 years old or older.

Initiative's representative name

PhD. Sarahy Contreras Martínez

Initiative's representative date of birth


Initiative's representative gender

  • Woman

Headquarters location: country

  • Mexico

Headquarters location: city

Autlán de Navarro, Jalisco, Mex.

Where are you making a difference?

Autlán de Navarro and Cuzalapa (ingenus community, woman group Color de la Tierra) at Cuautitlan de García Barragán Municipality, Jalisco and El Terrero Community, Tolimán Municipality, Colima.

Website or social media url(s)

Date Started


Project Stage

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working toward the next level of expansion)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €50k - €100k

Organization Type

  • Nonprofit/NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

I have learned that forest fires are a major cause of ecological disturbances in pine-oak forests in Jalisco and Mexico. Despite its importance, there are few rigorous studies on the effects of fire on wildlife and biodiversity in Mexican forest ecosystems. Hummingbirds occur only in the Americas, where they are the second-most diverse family of birds. This project addresses a critical need in bird conservation, which is to understand the importance and management of fire ecology for hummingbird survival. The Western Hummingbird Partnership (WHP) has identified the increasing occurrence of large-scale wildfires and their impacts on breeding and non-breeding sites along their migratory routes as a critical issue in the conservation.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Fire is one of the most common natural and anthropogenic disturbances to wildlife habitats around the world. Predictive models of global warming indicate that risk of large-scale wildfires will increase in western North American, including western zone of the US, Canada and Mexico. And will eventually affect vegetation types historically not directly impacted by fire. Fire management in forests is a controversial issue as many do not view fires as a part of the normal dynamic of these ecosystems

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The research aspect of this project aims to examine the impacts of fire, whether as a naturally occurring event or a management tool, and restore post-fire habitats to examine how to recommend the timing of both to improve the availability of floral nectar resources for migratory and resident hummingbirds in western Mexico. We propose to provide much-needed management recommendations that address the timing of prescribed fires and the restoration of post-fire habitat through a restoration project that will be monitored and used as a model for future efforts. A critical component of this effort will be a discussion of how we implement community-based conservation through our work with the diverse entities that are charged with protecting SMBR.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

Contributions to bird conservation plans: This project will benefit plans at the local, national, and international levels. At the SMBR, it will benefit the Sierra de Manantlán Management Plan and will contribute to the Conservation Program for Sustainable Development prepared by the National Commission of Protected Areas (CONANP-SEMARNAT) and directed by SMBR. The project will benefit plans that guide the protection of natural areas in Mexico, such as the National Commission on Protected Area’s Long-term Planning Strategy as well as its Mid-term Planning Strategy.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

Work with land managers in SMBR to examine effective methods of managing fire to benefit hummingbirds and their habitat. All work will be coordinated with SMBR land managers through regular meetings, including the agricultural communities or ejidos that exist within its boundaries. Community members will be involved in fire management and restoration activities to provide economic opportunities and to offer a hands-on approach to educating people who live within the reserve about fire, its management, and hummingbirds. We will hire 25 people to conduct this work. Implement prescribed fires and post-fire restoration techniques to benefit Neotropical migratory hummingbirds. We will provide two training sessions to improve the technical skills of 30 community members and land managers to increase their knowledge of firebreak rehabilitation, fuel management, prescribed fires, and reseeding after fire.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

This project will impact at regional, national and international scales where the hummingbird stablish their territories to complete the cycle life. Research results will provide recommendations for fire management that benefited long-term migratory hummingbirds. We will work to incorporate the results, recommendations and techniques in the site management plans. The recommendation will be based on long-term data (30 years). Our project is the only one at the country that regularly monitors species of hummingbirds (Trochilidae) since 1990 in which individuals are identified with a numbered bands, very seldom done due to its level of difficulty. Share our results with other agencies and government organizations responsible for managing fires throughout of Jalisco, Mexico and western North America (WHP-EFTA). Our success in working with ejidos will be valuable and create a local awareness of fire management and restoration and technical capacity to participate in activities on the ground

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

Social: focus on community members, youth and adults, who understand the impacts of fire on habitat, the needs of migratory hummingbirds, and ways they can contribute to fire management Using elements and tools communication: local meetings to share the project in communities, brochures, hummingbird festivals, World Migratory Bird Day events, social media and radio, training through workshops. Ecological: study and evaluate the changes in habitat, diversity and abundance of floral nectar resources for migratory hummingbirds, specifically before and after the prescribed fires, four times a year. The importance of this data will produce documents and technical reports to be able to replicate the program in other nature reserves.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

This project will benefit the conservation for all migratory, resident and endemic hummingbirds and their habitats, through the use of information generated by research to raise awareness about the use of fire management and the interactions between humans and nature. We will work continuously sensitizing groups of indigenous and rural women, land owners and users of natural resources. By conserving hummingbird species as indicators of environmental quality, we are also conserving the integral functioning of ecosystems and regulating human activities that impact environmental services such as disturbances caused by forest fires due to inappropriate use of natural resources.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

There is currently an initial investment base for the next 15 months obtained by the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act of the Fish and Wildlife Service. However, through efforts already initiated with applied research for fire management and the creation of habitats for hummingbirds, we need to cover new areas for ecological and restoration management, in communities where they want to participate in the project over the next two years.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

The staff is former by a Project officer from the University of Guadalajara (full time), Technical Coordinator of the Western hummingbird Parnership (WHP), three professionals from the Biosphere Reserve Sierra de Manantlán, two people from the Intermunicipal Board of the Ayuquila River (JIRA). The team is composed of specialists in bird and fire researches, ecological restoration, environmental educator, wildlife monitoring and environmental management.

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Word of mouth

Evaluation results

7 evaluations so far


Yes, absolutely! - 28.6%

Yes/maybe - 42.9%

Maybe - 28.6%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%


5 —Absolutely! It’s crystal clear how the solution is directly contributing to preserving and/or restoring biodiversity. - 71.4%

4—Yes, it establishes a clear connection to biodiversity. - 28.6%

3—Somewhat, the entry speaks to biodiversity but the direct impact is not well established and/or it is focused on a single species without considering its impact on the broader ecosystem - 0%

2—Not really, the connection to biodiversity is weak - 0%

1—No. The entry does not reference the solution’s impact on biodiversity. - 0%

3. 3) Is this entry IMPACTFUL?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 14.3%

4- Yes, I think so. - 57.1%

3- Maybe. - 28.6%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

4. 4) Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 0%

4- Yes, I think so. - 28.6%

3- Maybe. - 57.1%

2- Probably not. - 14.3%

1- No. - 0%

5. 5) Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 14.3%

4- Yes, I think so. - 14.3%

3- Maybe. - 57.1%

2- Probably not. - 14.3%

1- No. - 0%


5 -Yes, absolutely! - 0%

4- Yes, I think so. - 57.1%

3- Maybe. - 28.6%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 14.3%

7. 7) Does this entry value COLLABORATION WITH OTHER STAKEHOLDERS in its approach?

5- Yes, absolutely! - 28.6%

4- Yes, I think ko. - 42.9%

3- Maybe. - 28.6%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

8. 8) FEEDBACK – Highlights

INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions - 50%

IMPACT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 100%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: You have a thoughtful plan for growth and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 50%

VIABIBLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 25%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You value thinking around how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 75%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: You have a clearly defined plan on how to maximize shared value across multiple sectors and stakeholders - 25%

WRITING STYLE: Your writing style is concise, descriptive, clear, and specific - 0%

Other option - 0%

9. 9) FEEDBACK - Areas for Improvement

INNOVATION: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 50%

IMPACT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 33.3%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 50%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 50%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: your plan can benefit from more thought on how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 100%

WRITING STYLE: Try to be more concise, descriptive, clear, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 0%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: Try to provide more insights into how you are activating changemakers and empowering them to innovate through your product or programming - 33.3%

Other option - 0%


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