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To counteract the loss of biodiversity due to economic forces, such as subsistence farming, hunting, and logging, Conservation International (CI) partners with business owners in Biodiversity Hotspots and High-biodiversity Wilderness Areas to implement competitive yet sustainable cultivation practices and enterprises. Key to the success of agroforestry projects is promoting human welfare and livelihood while preserving critical ecosystems and species. To date, CI's Sustainable Landscapes program and its local partners have positively affected nearly 8,000 people in 11 biodiversity-rich countries and contributed to the conservation of more than 5 million hectares of land.

CI takes a comprehensive approach to agroforestry projects so that communities and biodiversity both benefit. In addition to designing guidelines and objectives for conservation, CI works through local service providers to build entrepreneurial capacity. This includes assistance with and support for training managers, identifying sources of finance, developing business plans, coordinating marketing strategies, conducting market research, and monitoring and evaluating results.

Along the buffer zone of El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve in the Sierra Madre of southwest Chiapas, Mexico, for example, CI promotes the use of sustainable coffee cultivation methods. Farming cooperatives there that have adopted Conservation Coffee™ best practices have realized higher profits, greater market access, and improved capacity. They also have helped increase environmental awareness throughout local communities. Through a partnership with Starbucks Coffee Company, CI has expanded its Conservation Coffee program to six other countries.

In collaboration with government and local farming representatives in Ghana, CI has worked to incorporate conservation standards in cocoa growing to strengthen biodiversity preservation around Kakum National Park. Farmers who adopt and employ these techniques, which help ensure that cocoa is produced without cutting trees, also receive farm-management training that is based on conservation principles. More than 500 farmers in eight communities have been trained since 2000.

To help keep forests standing, CI also promotes the sustainable harvesting of natural forest products, such as oils, nuts, fruits, and plants. For example, in the 2.5 million hectares of Brazil nut forest along the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park of southeastern Peru, CI works with local harvesters to develop best practices. Through corporate partnerships, CI also helps bring these products to larger markets.

Resources and Links

CI Wide
Verde Ventures Web site: "Using Debt and Equity Financing Supporting Conservation-Oriented Businesses in CI priority Areas"
Frontlines: "CI mobilizes communities and presidents to preserve Andes treasure"
Corporate Partnerships: CI and Aveda


© CI, Sterling Zumbrunn
The farm of a Conservation Coffee grower near El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, Chiapas, Mexico.

© CI, Russell A. Mittermeier
Farmers working around Kakum National Park Ghana are growing cocoa in the shade of other trees.

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