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The Forest Accelerator: investing in the future of forest conservation

Forests of Hope - Americas

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 Gola Cocoa Project in Sierra Leone is providing sustainable livelihoods through shade-grown cocoa agroforestry © R Anstead / Twin

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.  

Every decision you make can shape tropical forest landscapes. We believe that well-managed landscapes can meet the needs of the present without compromising the future. We need forest-positive incentives, innovation in conservation and investment, so that both people and forests can thrive.

The BirdLife Forest Landscape Sustainability Accelerator is investing in bold, sustainable solutions for tropical forest landscapes around the world. What’s your next decision?

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. 

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