Non-profit Scientific Research
The Foundation for Anthropological Research and Environmental Studies (FARES) is a non-profit scientific research and conservation organization that is focused on defending the unique biodiversity and cultural heritage found in the “Mirador-Calakmul Basin” in Petén, Guatemala. The Mirador-Calakmul Basin is more than an environmental wonder, it is also the cradle of one of the greatest ancient societies in the world. Anthropological and archaeological research suggest that the Mirador Basin is the literal birthplace of Maya civilization and is home to many of the largest and earliest Maya cities, boasting impressive ancient architecture and other cultural remains. These sites have great significance to our understanding of the human story and the ancestral legacy of Guatemalan culture and history.
We still have much to discover and learn about the rise and fall of this magnificent civilization and the tropical forests it inhabited, and it is our goal to bring this saga of human and environmental history out of the forest and present it to the world.
Although no one lives within the Mirador-Calakmul Basin, it is surrounded by native communities, who have inhabited the region for decades. FARES is dedicated to improving health and education in these communities, as well as providing vocational training and sustainable employment. By integrating these villages into a potential “Eco-tourism” economic model we can preserve the unique natural beauty and historic significance of this region, without leaving the local communities out of the tourism revenue generated by these projects. Pursuing eco-tourism in the Mirador Basin will result in: enhanced incomes for local populations, a reduction in poverty, less dependence on logging, looting, or poaching, as well as create a reduction in illegal trafficking. We at FARES believe that such a future for this suffering region can be permanently established through scientific research, strong conservation methods, and community development.
Despite the historic and environmental significance of the Mirador-Calakmul Basin, it is under severe threat. Looting, poaching, logging, deforestation, and organized crime are a constant and expanding threat. Organized criminal enterprises are laundering money through large cattle operations. Tragically, the need to pasture the cattle leads to massive deforestation. Further, overwhelming poverty has continued to encourage looting and poaching. The objective is to develop an economic model that will more fully incorporate the local communities into a vibrant new economy and at the same time, provide real and permanent conservation procedures that will effectively protect and preserve this unique treasure. Based on more than 40 years of research and exploration of the area, we believe that the formation of the first Wilderness Area in Latin America, is a real possibility. A Cultural and Natural sanctuary would provide all the desired benefits and ensure sustainability and management for the region by working with cooperative concessions. Our vision at FARES is that in 100 years, there will still be tropical forests shrouding the great civilizations of the basin. Such an environment will provide permanent employment for local communities, thwart the efforts of organized crime, provide verdant grounds for scientific research, and maintain the biodiversity for local communities, and awe-stricken visitors alike. It is our goal at FARES to protect this small portion of the human story, and together we can make conservation and management of the Mirador Basin a reality.