Making land use more sustainable is likely to cost money. The challenge for sustainable landscape initiatives is to create financial mechanisms which can redirect the many billions of dollars flowing into less-than-sustainable land use in tropical regions.
Designing sustainable landscape initiatives so that they can channel investment is the subject of a new practical website, Financing Sustainable Landscapes, which includes detailed methodologies, resources and case study examples from three pilot projects, collectively known as Unlocking Forest Finance (UFF).
Unlocking Forest Finance is a partnership involving a wide range of different organizations, led by the Global Canopy Programme. Working in the regions of Mato Grosso and Acre, both in Brazil, and San Martín, in Peru, the project aims to build case for sustainable landscapes which balance the competing needs of agriculture, conservation and livelihoods.
The three UFF pilot projects were built on regional government targets and projections for agricultural growth in each region. Using this information, the UFF team designed a series of interventions and safeguards to make these supply chains more efficient and sustainable, thus increasing productivity on the same patch of land and reducing the risk of expansion into the forest. In parallel, the team also designed interventions to support indigenous communities and strengthen protected areas.
The overarching aim of Unlocking Forest Finance is to catalyze large scale private investment for the transition to sustainable land use. San Martín is the most advanced of the three projects in this area. In a pilot phase, a Peruvian bank will lend money to farmers starting in 2017.