Catherine Woodward
Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation
1202 Williamson St.
Madison, WI 53703
Tel: 608-230-5550
Fax:  608-227-0141

Madison Nonprofit Protects Tropical Forest to Combat Climate Change

Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation enrolls more than 12,000 acres in Ecuador’s Forest Partners program

MADISON, WI.  August 26, 2010 – A Madison-based conservation organization is protecting Ecuador’s tropical forest as part of a larger effort to halt deforestation and combat global climate change.  The Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation, culminating a year-long partnership with Conservation International – Ecuador, has set aside 12,000 acres of tropical forest as part of Ecuador’s ground-breaking Forest Partners program (called “Socio Bosque” in Spanish).  In 2009, Ceiba became the first non-profit organization to sign a memorandum of understanding with Ecuador’s Environment Ministry to implement the program.  Forest Partners provides financial compensation for 20 years to landowners who commit to protecting their forest.  Although not specifically tied to any particular ecosystem service, the payment recognizes the value of forests in protecting water quality and preventing CO2 emissions from deforestation.  The Ceiba Foundation is one of several conservation groups doing the field work to implement the project.  The work can be very demanding.  “We’ve gone through more than one field technician!” laughs Ceiba’s President and project director Catherine Woodward.  “It isn’t easy to find someone tough enough to penetrate the thick vegetation in tropical heat and among biting insects to map these forest parcels.”  Thirty-seven separate forest parcels are now protected under the program.  “It has taken a lot of patience as people overcome their wariness of a government-run program,” explains Woodward.  “Now that landowners have started receiving the benefits, we can’t sign them up fast enough”.  Important challenges remain, however.  International funding based on carbon-markets, including REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), has paid for Ecuador’s effort so far, but more support will be needed to cover the program’s long-term costs. 

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