Afro-Colombian Community Becomes First to Receive VCS Credits for Forest Conservation on Collective Lands
Innovative joint venture between Anthrotect and Afro?descendant communities in northwest Colombia demonstrates the power of direct carbon finance to transform lives, protect wildlife, and preserve vital ecosystems.
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Anthrotect, LLC delivers on its community-oriented business model designed to produce carbon offsets through reducing deforestation and forest degradation. The 13,465-hectare project was successfully validated and verified by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), and expects to prevent the emission of over 2.8 million tons of C02 into the atmosphere over its 30-year lifespan. The project is the first VCS-approved REDD+ project in South America to address unplanned deforestation, and the first REDD+ project in the world to be issued credits for activities carried out on community-owned, collective lands.
Led by Anthrotect in partnership with members of the COCOMASUR landholder association, the Chocó-Darién Conservation Corridor REDD+ Project engages Afro-Colombian families to improve natural resource management in the Chocó, a region known for its biological diversity and endemism. Over 500 species of birds have been registered in the project area, in addition to endangered mammals like the puma, jaguar, tapir, and spectacled bear. Earlier this year, the project was awarded CCB Gold Level validation in recognition of its exceptional benefits for ecosystems and wildlife as well as its comprehensive Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) process for Afro-descendant landholders, who codesigned the project.
"This achievement demonstrates that Afro-descendant and indigenous landholders can play a central role in protecting tropical forests and preventing climate change," said Brodie Ferguson, Founder and Managing Director of Anthrotect. Furthermore, Ferguson says, "For the first time, forest-dependent communities in the Chocó are generating income from carbon markets while preserving their traditional ways of life." In addition to employment and a role in project management, community stakeholders receive at least 50% of revenues from carbon credit sales.
Anthrotect's innovative business model monetizes avoided carbon emissions (C02e) by investing in local communities and by focusing on the natural competitive advantages of the bioregion—its forests, watersheds, and the traditional management practices of its community landowners. Project activities include raising awareness of collective identity and rights, resolving land disputes, participatory land use planning, and sustainable economic alternatives. Aided by state of the art laser remote sensing technology, community patrols monitor forest biomass and wildlife habitat.
U.S.based technical consultant ecoPartners assisted Anthrotect with project design, planning and development, remote sensing and spatial analysis, carbon accounting, and project certification. On the ground, forest engineers and botanists from the Medellin Botanical Garden worked closely with community members to identify and measure over 3,000 trees and palms. Financial oversight is ensured through a partnership with the Fund for Environmental Action, a Colombian non-profit environmental trust fund. Anthrotect is also a member of Code REDD, a nonâ€profit industry association committed to an industry-leading set of best practices that aims to rapidly scale the growth of high-quality, high-impact REDD+ forest protection projects by connecting them with forward-thinking corporations.
"Our business model addresses the fundamental needs of people and their ecosystems. By producing durable conservation and financial dividends, it is a starting point for a new kind of prosperity—one that can endure generations," said Emily Roynestad, Business Development Director at Anthrotect.
Anthrotect was founded in 2007 with the mission of making conservation a viable economic alternative for forest-â€dependent communities worldwide. Anthrotect's approach is rooted in strengthening Afro-descendant and indigenous peoples' capacity to collectively manage their traditional lands. Anthrotect helps rural communities use natural resources more sustainably by providing the training and skills they need to turn their traditional ecological knowledge into a global environmental service.
In 2005, the Council of Afro-Colombian Communities of the Tolo River Basin (COCOMASUR) received collective land title to the project area in recognition for the communities' longstanding presence in the region. In partnership with Anthrotect, these communities are co-designing and implementing the forest protection and sustainable development activities that generate the project's greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
About Fund for Environmental Action
The Fund for Environmental Action is a Colombian non-profit organization established to finance projects of environmental conservation and child welfare implemented by non-governmental and community-based organizations. The Fund for Environmental Action strengthens the management capacities of communities represented in Boards of Community Action, NGOs, the local councils of Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities, so that these groups can effectively manage natural resources and benefit from them.
ecoPartners works with project developers, forest owners and verification bodies to build successful forest carbon offset projects. ecoPartners specializes in the technical aspects of project design, planning and development: biometrics and accounting methodologies, remote sensing, with significant experience validating and verifying projects under the world's leading standards. ecoPartners helps clients navigate methodologies, mitigate risk, build long-term capacity and generate credits while reducing the overall cost of protecting the world's forests.
About Code REDD
Code REDD offers an innovative approach to saving endangered forests in developing countries by connecting socially responsible corporates with high-quality, high-impact forest conservation projects in sensitive habitats. All Code REDD projects help preserve biodiversity and endangered species, create sustainable economic development for rural communities, and protect vital forest ecosystems and their watersheds. Code REDD is a non-profit industry association committed to an industry-leading set of best practices.
About Det Norske Veritas (DNV)
DNV is a global provider of services for managing risk and serves a range of high-risk industries, with a special focus on the maritime and energy sectors. Companies and authorities all over the world rely on DNV's independent assessment, technology expertise and non-compromising standards of quality, safety and integrity to build the trust and confidence of their stakeholders.
About Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)
The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) is a robust quality assurance standard used to quantify greenhouse gas emissions and issue credits in voluntary markets. The mission of VCS is to: 1) provide a trusted, robust and user-friendly program that brings quality assurance to voluntary carbon markets, 2) pioneer innovative rules and tools that open new avenues for carbon crediting and allow organizations to engage in on-theâ€ground climate action, and 3) share knowledge and encourage the uptake of best practices so that carbon markets develop along coherent and compatible lines.
Media Contact: Brodie Ferguson Anthrotect, LLC, +1 (650) 681-9787, firstname.lastname@example.org
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