There is ‘hidden’ economic value in protecting forests â€“ people and animals that depend on the forests. When they are protected, sustainable economies develop, and climate change is stopped.
Conservation International (CI) is an organisation dedicated to helping nations and communities find value in protecting their forests. One of CI’s current Africa programmes is in Liberia, a country ravaged after 14 years of civil war.
Liberia is home to half of the Guinean Forests of West Africa and many threatened species including the pygmy hippopotamus and white-breasted guinea fowl. These forests are also a reserve of stored carbon, of enormous value in preventing further climate change.
Conserving forests is a better option
In a nutshell, CI is helping local people generate benefits from carbon markets. When these benefits are added to others that come from the sustainable use of forests â€“ like medicinal plants and food â€“ they can create an economic opportunity that means conserving forests is a better option than burning and clearing them.
Global forest carbon markets have the potential to generate tens of billions of dollars annually and provide forest-rich nations with access to sustainable financial resources. This project is just one example of how CI is working with partners in 45 countries to protect the clean air, fresh water, food, medicines, soils and species that support life on Earth.
Frank Hawkins, VP, Africa & Madagascar Division, www.conservation.org, email: firstname.lastname@example.org