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A Direct Approach to Marketing the Environmental Services of Tropical Forests

By Richard Rice - Conservation International
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A survey by Conservation International of 93 protected areas in 23 tropical countries found that
protected areas do work: 83% were unaffected by agricultural clearing. However, parks are
difficult to establish and maintain due to the perceived cost of foregoing economic development
and the lack of consistent funding. A new instrument, the conservation concession is being
developed to compensate local resource owners for conserving their forests, just as a logging
company might range from 20-40 years, depending on regulations in the host country. The
conservation concession is especially suitable for land with relatively low opportunity costs. It
enables park creation to be handled as business transactions and monitored through carefully
designed performance metrics. The first such concession has been established on 200,000 acres
in Guyana, in order to evaluate the model.