CI's Global Conservation Fund (GCF) is participating in an innovative new fund for Costa Rica that will support biodiversity services under a payment for ecosystem services (PES) scheme targeting private land holders. This national PES fund, known as the Trust for the Sustainable Biodiversity Fund (TSB Fund), totals $15.3 million and is funded by the German development bank (KfW) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
"This is the first conservation fund in the world designed to provide PES specifically for biodiversity services such as pollination, tourism and resources for future medicines," said Carlos Manuel Rodgriguez, vice president of international policy in CI's Center for Conservation and Government, and former minister of environment and energy for Costa Rica.
GCF is making a $500,000 contribution toward a $2 million fund—the Osa Fund—within the larger TSB Fund. The Osa Fund is earmarked to provide long-term financing for PES focused on private lands in the Osa Biological Corridor. Co-funders for the Osa Fund are Conservation Osa at $500,000 and Fondo Nacional de Financiamiento Forestal (FONAFIFO) at $1 million.
GCF's participation also establishes CI as one of five members of the Special Committee that will oversee the TSB Fund.
Since 2005, GCF has supported Centro de Derecho Ambiental y Recursos Naturales (CEDARENA) in engaging key landowners in the Osa Peninsula to enter into long-term PES agreements. The PES contract is a proven instrument for private lands conservation in Costa Rica, and this is the first time it is being applied in the Osa Peninsula. The agreements are focused on key properties situated in the Osa Biological Corridor located between the Piedras Blancas National Park, the Corcovado National Park and the Terraba-Sierpe National Wetlands. Where possible, CEDRENA is also engaging landowners to place conservation easements on their property, which establish a legal commitment to conserve the property even when the land is sold or transferred to other owners.
The area contains one of the best examples of lowland tropical rain forest remaining in Central America. Largely untouched, Osa features a high level of biological diversity as well as 13 distinct tropical ecosystems, according to Conservation Osa. It is home to 50 percent of all species found in Costa Rica, including many species found nowhere else. Jaguars, harpy eagles, peccaries and giant anteaters are among the species that populate Osa.
"Support from CI and many others has helped achieve unprecedented conservation objectives here, including halting the loss of tropical forest, restoring degraded forest, and establishing innovative economic instruments to value biodiversity," said Rodriuez.