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Click through the countries below to learn about our activities, partnerships, and results in Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, China, Ghana, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Ethiopia.


Peru Incubator
Project Partner: Peruvian Ministry of Environment (MINAM), Peruvian National Superintendent of Water and Santiation Services (SUNASS), Ecodecisión, Consorcio para el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Ecorregión Andina (CONDESAN), Amazónicos por la Amazonía (AMPA), Aquafondo

Since its establishment in 2012, Forest Trends has partnered with the Ministry of Environment (MINAM) on the Incubator for Ecosystem Services Mechanisms, through our key regional partnership with EcoDecision and with the local technical support and coordination of CONDESAN. The Incubator is a platform that aims to enhance investments in nature by society through providing technical, financial, and economic expertise; building capacity; and contributing to the development of national policy.  Since it was established, the Incubator has supporting the development and implementation of a national ecosystem services law that facilitates public investment in ecosystem services projects; has worked closely with SUNASS, Peru’s water regulator, to develop technical and policy tools needed to implement a water sector reform that strongly encourages water utilities to invest in watersheds to ensure supply and mitigate risks; and has provided provided targeted support to priority sites including the Jequetepeque, Rimac, and Alto Mayo watersheds.

In coordination with the Incubator, we have deepened our engagement in the Alto Mayo watersheds, working with AMPA to suggest a potential design for the an integrated strategy and financing model for improving coffee production and conservation through multiple benefits framework in the Amazonian region of San Martin, Peru. This strategy builds on the integrated approach to development that was articulated in 2014, at the 20th Katoomba Meeting, Climate, Forests, Water and People: A Vision of Sustainable Development for Tropical America in Lima and San Martin, Peru, organized by Forest Trends and the Peruvian government.

We have also worked closely with Aquafondo, the water fund for Lima, Peru, on strategies for securing public and private funds, including as a pilot of the Water Benefit Credits. In 2014, we carried out a study of the cost-effectiveness and potential impact of green infrastructure interventions for the water supply of Lima.


Project Location: Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Partner: Fundación Natura Bolivia

The city of Santa Cruz, Bolivia and surrounding upland communities are facing a serious water crisis precipitated by growing populations and expansion of agriculture. In response to this crisis, Fundación Natura Bolivia has developed Acuerdos Recíprocos por Agua (ARAs) —or Reciprocal Water Agreements. Under the ARA model, municipal water committees enter into agreements with land owners living in the upper micro-watersheds of Santa Cruz to stop deforestation and contamination of water sources. Forest Trends and Fundacion Natura Bolivia are working to scale up this approach in Bolivia and around Latin America, including through the new ARAs School (“Escuela de ARA”) for green infrastructure practitioners.

  • Contact us to learn about opportunities to attend the Escuela de ARA


Project Location: Marismas Nacionales, Mexic
Partner: Pronatura Noroeste, SuMAR, Nuiwari A.C.

Marismas Nacionales, the largest mangrove complex on the Pacific coast of Mexico, is disappearing at an alarming rate. Local organizations Pronatura Noroeste, SuMAR, and Nuiwari are leading work to design an equitable and sustainable response to the threats to the Marismas Nacionales. Local partners are increasing the local and scientific understanding of drivers and benefits of mangrove health, creating a common vision and theory of change for ensuring the health of Marismas Nacionales, and identifying new livelihood and water management financing opportunities with the government and private sector.


Project Location: Beijing, China
Partner: Beijing Forestry Society

Water is the single most critical resource bottleneck to China’s continued economic growth, and the city of Beijing faces a particularly acute crisis. Forest Trends is partnered with the Beijing Forestry Society to encourage a performance and monitoring based water management approach for the Miyun watershed, the principal source of drinking water for Beijing. The Beijing Municipality is investing heavily in this approach through Beijing Forestry Society in an effort to improve forest structure and water quality in watershed pilot sites. With Forest Trends, Beijing Forestry Society is improving the monitoring and evaluation of pilot interventions and develop financing and management mechanisms that are based on measured water impacts.

The Beijing eco-compensation program has already set an example for the potential scale of city leadership on watershed protection, which inspired the establishment of the Partnership for Mega-Cities and Watershed Protection by BFS, Forest Trends, and IUCN China in May 2013 at the 18th Katoomba Meeting held in Beijing. The Partnership facilitates sharing of lessons and best practices between major Chinese and international cities proactively working for water security through watershed management.


Project Location: Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Area and Cape Coast, Ghana
Partner: Nature Conservation Research Centre

Ghana’s rapidly-growing urban centers face an acute water shortage due to growing populations and land use, including deforestation, extensive agriculture, and informal mining, that generates overwhelming amounts of heavy metals, nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment in the waterways supplying Ghana’s major population centers. To address this problem, Forest Trends and The Nature Conservation Research Center have worked with Ghanaian officials to convene a national-level Technical Working Group to develop watershed investments to address these problems, using a methodical, consensus-driven model.

  • Read the Technical Working Group’s assessment of challenges to the Pra and Kakum watersheds in Ghana
  • Read the Technical Working Group’s vision for the Pra and Kakum watersheds in Ghana


Project Location: Paraná, Brazil
Partner: Universidade Federal do Paraná

The Tibagi watershed in the state of Paraná is experiencing increased levels of phosphorous contamination from agricultural and industrial sources which is causing algal blooms in reservoirs throughout the watershed. The private sector is increasing investment in the region, with plans to build hydroelectric dams and paper plants in the pipeline. The time is ripe to develop a mechanism to curb phosphorous contamination and increased the quality of the river for all. Forest Trends and the Universidade Federal do Paraná are collaborating on efforts to identify private sector partners and develop the incentives and mechanisms to reduce contamination of the Tibagi river.

Costa Rica

Project Location: San Jose Metropolitan area, Costa Rica

Costa Rica has a world-renowned system for payment for ecosystem services that has protected thousands of hectares of important forests; however, they do not have a PES mechanism focused solely on hydrological services. With the metropolitan area of San Jose experiencing rapid population growth and development expanding farther into sensitive upland aquifer recharge areas, the region is facing a water crisis. Local partner FUNDECOR is taking the lead on uniting the private sector with government agencies and public utilities to address this issue by financing the protection of important aquifer recharge zones, through the establishment of a new water fund, Agua Tica. Forest Trends has supported exchanges with experts from Ecuador and elsewhere around the world on designing fund’s the institutional and financial arrangements.


Project Location: Benishangul-Gumuz region, Ethiopia
Partner: Water and Land Resource Center Ethiopia

Forest Trends is collaborating with Ethiopia’s Water and Land Resource Center to strengthen local capacity to design and develop water management efforts and their financing around large-scale hydroelectric dam projects with the goal of extending their lifespan and reducing their environmental impact. As part of these efforts, WLRC is organizing high level exchanges between Ethiopia and countries like China to allow Ethiopian officials to see the hydrological and livelihood benefits of landscape restoration around mega-projects.