The Forest Accelerator: investing in the future of forest conservation
It’s no secret that forests are disappearing at a devastating rate. And along with them the species that thrive under their canopy, the services they provide, and the awe and wonder they inspire. Whether it’s due to agricultural expansion, exploitation or weak governance, ultimately, deforestation is a symptom of a global system that does not value forests in their natural state.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. BirdLife has shown that forests can be preserved in the long term, with proven conservation projects at small and medium scales in many incredible landscapes worldwide. Now we’re thinking bigger than ever and investing in bold and innovative funding models that will change how businesses, governments, communities, and society see forests. Welcome to the future of forest conservation and help us accelerate this change.
Local conservation organisations play a crucial role in sustaining the tropical forests that we all depend on. BirdLife’s local Partners have had remarkable success in securing legal protection for threatened forests around the world, and in supporting local communities to conserve their forests. But too often conservation initiatives do not reach their full potential because they are built on traditional NGO structures with insecure funding cycles: how can a conservationist think of innovate, future-proof solutions when they are not sure if their work will be funded next year?
We need new approaches for forest conservation to get the long-lasting financial security it desperately needs. BirdLife’s Forest Landscape Sustainability Accelerator tackles one of conservation’s biggest challenges: how to break free from unsustainable funding and tap into the huge scale of the finance sector. This requires us to explore deeply how the right incentives and investments can drive positive action for the unique and threatened tropical forest landscapes where we work.
The Accelerator Effect: we invest in the teams behind bold forest landscape programmes
Our Accelerator is modelled on start-up incubators in the tech sector. We provide technical mentorship, matchmaking with investors, and flexible seed grants to kick-start and scale up sustainable solutions in forest landscapes. We are already seeing shifting regional business practices, potential changes to laws, and forest-positive products being shipped around the world. It’s a game-changer for forest conservation.
10 biodiverse forest landscapes – millions of hectares of potential
The Forest Accelerator supports BirdLife Partners in Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Sao Tome & Principe, Kenya, Madagascar, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The Accelerator’s cohort and team actively seek collaborations. There are a number of ways to get involved with the landscapes and across the portfolio; from landscape problem solving to technical advice to kick starting and scaling finance solutions.
Deep Green Impact Fund
Currently, the finance sector is investing in upgrading agriculture and forestry models, or new technologies like solar. This is important in the transition towards a new economy, but they don’t aim to grow our stocks of natural capital.
Our pathway to large-scale funding includes a fast-paced rollout of the Forest Accelerator across the BirdLife network. With this rollout, we will have a strong pipeline to feed the Deep Green Impact Fund, which will mobilize $80 million of long-term investment. Using a ‘revolving fund’ mechanism, we can then confidently replicate these working models in more forest landscapes.
The Accelerator is an initiative of the Trillion Trees joint venture, comprising three of the biggest conservation organisations in the world (BirdLife, WCS, and WWF), and representing over 100 forest landscape programmes.
Located in the southeast of Madagascar, Tsitongambarika tropical forest is a protected area home to unique wildlife. New species of plants and animals continue to be discovered, and the forest is a vital water supply for local people. It also provides them with valuable materials on which their livelihoods depend, including food, firewood, charcoal and timber. Yet the site is extremely threatened, and with it, the essential services it provides.
In August 2020, the European Commission-funded Programme to Support the Conservation of Forest Ecosystems in West Africa (PAPFoR) was rolled out in Sierra Leone and Liberia to conserve the Gola Forest. In Sierra Leone, the three year programme is being implemented by the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL), BirdLife Partner. Alice Kofi Asare Communication Officer, for the CSSL PAPFoR project sat down with Madam Musu Massaquoi, a 46 year old farmer from the Small Bo, Chiefdom, Kambui Hills Reserves, one of the areas where the project is being carried out.
From new forest corridors to the production of shade-grown commodities, restoration work in the Atlantic Forest of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay is crossing country borders and taking landscape conservation into new realms of ingenuity.