Yale Conservation Finance Camp – June 6 – 10.
Economic Tools for Conservation – 2011 International Course at Stanford, August 15 – 26.
A group of wealthy Chinese entrepreneurs have started an experiment in private nature conservation, shaking up China’s traditional, government-led approach to protecting landscapes and wildlife.
Late last year, 16 of the best known figures from China’s business world applied to the provincial government of Sichuan, western China, for permission to establish the “Sichuan Nature Protection Fund”. Their names will be familiar to anyone with a passing knowledge of Chinese industry: Jack Ma, chairman of the Alibaba Group, Ou Yaping, founder of Sinolink Worldwide Holdings, Huang Nubo, chairman of Beijing Zhongkun Investment Group, and Hu Zuliu, of Chunhua Capital are all involved. So too are Guo Guangchan, co-founder of Shanghai Fosun High Technology, Niu Gensheng, founder of the Lao Niu Foundation, and Zheng Yonggang, chairman of Shanshan Investment Holdings.
A list like this makes it one of China’s richest philanthropic groupings. To become an executive director of the board, you need to make “an initial donation of at least 3 million yuan [US$457,000]”. After the project is formally launched, “a voluntary donation of at least 5 million yuan [US$762,000]” will be required. Read the rest of this entry »
Before getting all excited about using REDD funds for conservation, read this recent letter in Conservation Letters,
Risky business: an uncertain future for biodiversity conservation finance through REDD+
Jacob Phelps, Edward L. Webb, & Lian P. Koh
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation and through the conservation, sustainable management, and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+) offers unprecedented potential funding for forest conservation and associated biodiversity. However, as a growing number of biodiversity conservation projects link with carbon emissions mitigation efforts, they might also be exposed to significant financial risks. REDD+ projects currently face uncertainty over future demand for carbon credits, the potential for inconsistent donor support in the long-term, carbon market volatility, investor preference for low-cost emissions mitigation over cobenefits, and the possibility of a shortlived REDD+ mechanism. The private sector is aware of the associated financial risks, which remain largely unaddressed within the conservation literature. Biodiversity conservationists need to identify a balance between maximizing near-term REDD+ opportunities and insulating themselves from long-term financial risks. We describe some of the prospective financial risks for biodiversity conservation efforts linked with REDD+, and propose initial strategies for financial resilience.
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) was set up to reduce greenhouse gases, with biodiversity conservation as a “co-benefit”.
It is therefore encouraging to see this project in Kenya, the Kasigau Corridor REDD Project,
WWC’s first project at Rukinga, Kenya, has been operating since 2005 protecting local wildlife and forests. The aim of this project is to bring the benefits of direct carbon financing to surrounding communities, while simultaneously addressing alternative livelihoods. Human-wildlife conflict has been a problem in the past, as local agents are reliant on flora and fauna as a means for subsistence. The Rukinga project directly addresses such sources of conflict in a holistic, sustainable approach. An additional goal is to secure a contiguous wildlife migration corridor between Tsavo East and West National Parks.
The project is being carried out by Wildlife Works Carbon LLC.
Our first REDD project in Rukinga, Kenya builds on a successful decade long track record, of bringing much needed jobs to a community that was being forced to destroy their magnificent wilderness in order to survive. In the last ten years we have turned back time, and restored a huge piece of land to a healthy vibrant ecosystem, full of elephants, lions, and 50 other species of large mammal. At the same time, the community has received 18 new classrooms for their children, and the employees and their families have received full health care benefits in a community with incredibly high HIV incidence. Wildlife Works also founded an organic greenhouse to promote healthier farming practices, to provide local farmers with cash generating citrus trees and free agroforestry trees to use for building and fuel wood. Wildlife Works Carbon will provide the financial additionality to ensure long term sustainability of Wildlife Works efforts in Kenya and beyond.
What seems to be missing here is a clear description of the distribution mechanism to a local contracting party (village council, group ranch, or other organization) the revenue stream the local party can expect over the life of the project. And how was free, prior and informed consent obtained?
This video illustrates what Dan Brockington aptly called Fortress Conservation,
Key Resources from Conservation International’s Economics and Planning Team.
From the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre,
This EXPERIMENTAL information system is part of a first attempt at a large scale assessment of protected areas using objective continent-wide data sets and methodologies as opposed to case studies on individual parks or global assessments (e.g. Chape et 2005 et al.). The website contain information on 741 protected areas, across 50 countries, and includes information on 280 mammals, 381 bird species and 930 amphibian species, and a wide range of climatic, environmental and socioeconomic information.
The site is here.
The trend towards greater corruption in South Africa is worrying,
JOHANNESBURG – Sometime early in 2009, the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) granted mining prospecting rights over substantial portions of a private game reserve. Ditto a national game reserve.
The reserves are adjacent; the private one, the Welgevonden Wildland Scheme, is one of the most acclaimed nature conservation areas in the country and internationally. The other is Marakele National Park; covered, as such, by section 48(1) of the Protected Areas Act, which prohibits commercial prospecting or mining activities within a national park…
The rights were apparently awarded to Salestalk 443 (Pty) Ltd, which, according to the national company database Cipro, has never had any directors (apart from one Christiaan Gouws, whose name appears on the register of numerous shell companies, which he apparently sells). At one point, on June 4 2008, Welgevonden’s legal representatives telephoned one Raisibe Francina Phosa, who had purported to be a director of Salestalk. Phosa confirmed her identity and that she was a director of Salestalk.
Upon enquiries regarding the application for the prospecting right, Phosa was said to be “unable to respond coherently”. In another attempt to contact Phosa, one Faizel Yusuf answered the telephone. Yusuf refused to disclose his involvement (if any) with Salestalk and/or with Phosa. And that was that.
Read the story here.
This sounds whacky, but we need more experiments in conservation,
Feb 16 (Reuters) – Stuart Bray, a City of London financier turned environmentalist, is using his fortune and skills to develop novel ways to fund conservation, starting with teaching tigers to hunt in the South African bush.
From the Protected Planet website,
There are well over 150,000 protected areas in the world and our goal is to ensure that accurate information about all of them is stored in an open format through protectedplanet.net.