This article was originally posted in the Forest Carbon newsletter. Click here to read the original.
7 August 2014 | Five years ago, the Tolo River People of northern Colombia were facing threats from all angles. Externally, wealthy businessmen in a nearby town were expanding their cattle ranches into the community’s forests. Internally, the Tolo themselves were logging the forests commercially to feed their families.
“This wood is worth around three million pesos,” about US$1,500 said Frazier Guisao, a former logger, referencing a giant centennial almendro tree on a walk through the forest with journalist Tanya Dimitrova. Guisao estimates that he could take down the tree in two hours, but today, he’s content to leave it standing.
By teaming up with US-based carbon project developer Anthrotect, Guisao and his community-based organization COCOMASUR were able to create a REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of forests) project that would save the roughly 13,000 hectares of forests that would otherwise be lost to cattle ranching, agriculture and logging. The project verified its first emissions reductions under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) in 2012, and last year it sold 70,000 offsets at $9 apiece on the voluntary carbon market. These financial returns flow much slower than logging revenues, but they may be enough to pay for forest patrollers’ salaries (that’s Guisao’s new gig) and, eventually, to improve the Tolo’s community health care services and send young people to university.
“Our community will always continue trying to protect our forest with or without the project. But having the project gives us the resources to do that,” says community leader Aureliano Cí³rdoba.
Read the full story here, which is the first in a series adapted from “Modern day forest conservation: A Colombian community protecting its rainforest one carbon credit at a time,” by Dimitrova.
And, speaking of projects like these, we’re now in the final stages of data collection for our State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2014 report. This annual report is the only market-wide, freely available benchmark on the forest carbon market, providing transparent information on transactions and project developments. If you are a forest carbon project developer (or know one!) please make sure to get in your response.
The Ecosystem Marketplace Team
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