Conservation International Statement on the Signing of Tropical Forest Conservation Reauthorization Act

January 15, 2019

“Make no mistake about it, this legislation is climate leadership,” said Sanjayan. “We all know by now that tropical forests provide the air we breathe and the water we drink — reasons enough to fight for their preservation. But tropical forests are also the best carbon capture and storage technology we have.

“That’s because there is more carbon stored in the world’s tropical forests than present in the entire atmosphere. And when these carbon-rich stores are cutdown and cleared, that carbon is released into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change.

“This legislation represents the kind of bold, bipartisan leadership we need if we are going to preserve the nature we all rely on for our well-being and a stable climate. I thank the bill’s sponsors — many of whom have been strong supporters of the environment — Representatives Chabot, Sherman, Royce, Engle, Fortenberry, McCollum, Smith and Grijalva and Senators Portman, Udall, Burr, Whitehouse and Schatz for their support and the president for signing it into law.”

The Act reauthorizes a highly successful debt-for-nature program that has saved more than 68 million acres of tropical forests — roughly the equivalent of taking nearly 12 million cars off the road for one year. The reauthorization also expands these efforts to conserve coral reef ecosystems.

Debt-for-nature swaps were first pioneered by Conservation International over 30 years ago.

About Conservation International

Conservation International uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature that people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, Conservation International works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about Conservation International, the groundbreaking “Nature Is Speaking” campaign and its series of virtual reality projects: “My Africa”, “Under the Canopy” and “Valen’s Reef.” Follow Conservation International’s work on our Human Nature blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.