A New Lease on Life
Washington, D.C.-based Conservation International is trying a new approach to saving natural areas in developing countries: leasing trees. CI is working on a deal to buy the logging rights for up to 25 years for 200,000 acres of pristine rainforest in southern Guyana in South America, planning to spend several million dollars to protect the land with what it calls a “conservation concession.” Usually concessions, or development rights to land, are sold by cash-strapped governments to logging and mining companies, often at prices as cheap as a few dollars an acre. CI now intends to compete with these private companies to buy concessions, also offering to pay governments enough to compensate for any lost jobs or economic activities. CI may take this model to Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, and Peru.