Jon Lyon is associate professor of biology and director of the Environmental Studies and Sustainability Program at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts. He is cofounder of Community Conservation, where he served as codirector for ten years.

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In the mideighties, seven villages in the Belizean rainforest pledged to conserve their lands for the region’s endangered black howler monkey (Alouatta pigra). The agreement was unprecedented and sparked the creation of the first community-led conservation project in Belize. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of similar projects around the …

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