Seeking Rights for Natural Forests in El Salvador

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. 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 ecosystems. Until forests are recognized as possessing fundamental rights, their health will continue to be secondary to short-term economic interests.

ELC and its partners are working to finalize the declaration and will seek its approval by civil society organizations and the Salvadoran government. With El Salvador’s strong commitment to ecosystem restoration in recent years, we are confident in our forthcoming success.

You can help by subscribing to our newsletter, volunteering, or donating to Earth Law Center.

Read the press release about the Legislative Assembly’s recognition of forests as “living entities.”