The Guiana Shield is still largely covered by tropical rainforest. The region represents 18% of the world’s tropical forest carbon and 20% of the world’s fresh water. The area is characterized by long stretches of coastal mangroves, wetlands, productive marine and coastal nursery and feeding grounds that attract great numbers of fish, birds, sea turtles, dolphins, sharks and rays. It has a small human population mostly living near the shore. Increasing population, high levels of poverty, unsustainable economic development through forestry, mining and agriculture and a massive influx of external investment in infrastructure, are putting the natural resources of the Guiana Shield under threat. The region is prone to rapidly expanding mining activities, mainly from medium and small-scale operators, causing deforestation and pollution of rivers from the use of mercury in the extraction process. Other threats include the expansion of infrastructure, such as roads and dams, especially in coastal areas, sea level rise and the foreseen development of large cattle farms in the Rupununi savannah in Guyana. While oil reserves in the deep sea present economic opportunities, they pose a challenge in terms of conservation of marine habitats and risk of pollution.