Maria Teresa Vargas

Executive Director, Fundación Natura, Bolivia

Maria Teresa Vargas is Executive Director of Fundación Natura Bolivia. She works with mayors and councilors from 30 municipalities across Bolivia to help them protect their forested water sources. Together, they have convinced half a million water-users to sign agreements with 4,000 upstream landowners to conserve 200,000 ha of water-producing forests. These conservation deals—locally known as “Acuerdos Reciprocos por Agua” or “Water:Shared”—are in return for alternative development projects such drip irrigation, fruit and honey production and improved cattle management. She leads the transfer of this reciprocity-based forest and water conservation model to municipalities in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Ms. Vargas has a Master’s degree in Forestry from Yale University.