José F. González-Maya
Award winner 2015
Mammals
Location: Costa Rica

José González-Maya

José F. González-Maya is a scientist and a conservationist through and through. He is a biologist, anthropologist, fieldworker, author, teacher, the director of ProCAT and the Scientific Director of the Sierra to Sea Institute. He is committed to protecting habitats of several animals, preserving species and to improving the living conditions of local populations.

“José is one of the most prominent new Latin American leaders in biodiversity conservation. He works on a wide variety of species and ecosystems, is an excellent scientist, and is effective in situations ranging from the local field project to international networking. His proposal project is extremely impressive, covering the complexities of ecosystem connectivity, flagship species, local community engagement, education, conservation planning, and policy development” – 2015, Simon Stuart, International Selection Committee

Vision and Approach

José’s goal is to produce and translate good-quality science to support decision making to maintain as many species as possible and to improve human well-being, so conservation actions can have real impacts on long-term wellbeing and sustainability. José won the Future For Nature Award for his efforts to ensure connectivity and habitat conservation for two of the most threatened and unique eco-regions in Latin America: the Talamanca Mountains in Costa Rica and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia.

Impact of the Future For Nature Award

  • Winning the Future For Nature Award led to international recognition and to an increase in the reach and impact of José’s work; he is now part of multiple international committees to discuss global to local conservation issues and expanding collaboration networks to tackle some of the most pressing ones.
  • For José’s job, winning the Award meant a giant jump in conservation. His work, that expands from endangered frogs to jaguars, is now among the top of the conservation actions in Costa Rica and Colombia, and is well-known in Latin America, influencing conservation work in multiple countries.
  • The financial support of the Future For Nature Award allowed José to expand his work into more complex areas and secure some if its ongoing initiatives: Jaguar Friendly coffee is now a reality in Costa Rica and Colombia and with an expanding market internationally and the one last remaining population of the harlequin frog is now safeguarded and its population increasing.

“The Future For Nature Foundation is unique in many ways, by providing amazing support to young conservationists, by raising awareness and recognition for the nominees and winners and by representing a goal, inspiration and light of hope for many people around the world. That is important for society support and raising awareness of environmental problems, together with solid conservation science will improve decision-making and society involvement.” – José F. González-Maya