Earth Law Center is collaborating with Eneas Wilfredo Martínez Santos and other partners in El Salvador to draft a Declaration of the Rights of Natural Forests in El Salvador, or “Declaración de los Derechos de los Bosques Naturales en El Salvador” in Spanish. The Declaration states that all natural forests in El Salvador are legal entities possessing certain fundamental rights, including rights to life, to integral health, and to a sustainable climate. It also calls for the appointment of legal guardians to represent the rights and interests of natural forests.

El Salvador has lost about 85 percent of its native forests since the 1960s. The planet as a whole has lost about 80 percent of its native forests, resulting in the extinction of countless species and the degradation or loss of many wonderous ecosystems. Until forests are recognized as possessing fundamental rights, their health will continue to be secondary to short-term economic interests.

ELC and partners will now work to finalize the Declaration and then seek its approval by civil society organizations and government. With El Salvador strongly committing to ecosystem restoration in recent years, we are confident in our forthcoming success.

For more information, contact Directing Attorney Grant Wilson at

Photo: Lake Ilopango, El Salvador by Ll1324 [CC0].