Submitted by: Carbonfund.org
Posted: Jul 05, 2007 – 10:30 AM EST
WASHINGTON D.C.- July 5, 2007 – Carbonfund.org, the nations leading provider of climate change solutins for individuals and businesses, and Paso Pacifico, a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring endangered tropical forests, today announced the launch of phase I of "The Nicaragua Return to Forest Project" which will restore large areas of tropical dry forest habitat in Nicaragua while offsetting 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. This initial project is part of a multi-year restoration effort that will benefit biodiversity conservation and local communities while mitigating climate change. This unique partnership combines Paso Pacifico’s expertise and capabilities in restoring natural ecosystems with Carbonfund.org’s creative carbon financing, bringing together two highly regarded, non-profit organizations: one dedicated to confronting the challenge of climate change, and the other dedicated to conserving endangered plants and wildlife.
Tropical dry forests are one of the planet’s most threatened ecosystems. In Nicaragua, these ecosystems are found only in small and isolated patches. By planting a diversity of native trees and promoting natural regeneration, Paso Pacifico will restore abandoned pastures to natural forest. The newly restored areas will form habitat corridors for wildlife such as the spider monkey and ocelot. These restored forests will also limit climate change by reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
"This is a very exciting carbon offset project for anyone who cares about fighting climate change," Carbonfund.org's Executive Director, Eric Carlson, said. "The Nicaragua Return to Forest Project is proving that we can fight climate change by providing high-quality carbon offset projects, while restoring our vital ecosystems, creating jobs and investment and being good stewards of the land."
In addition to restoring endangered forests, this project contributes to Paso Pacifico's broader efforts to conserve western Nicaragua's ecosystems by creating and strengthening private reserves, and by supporting local partners in sustainable eco-tourism and alternative agriculture. This innovative project will be developed in accordance with Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) international standards, developed by leading organizations like The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International. The project will seek CCBA Gold certification through the Rainforest Alliance's Smartwood program. These standards have aided Paso Pacifico in designing a project that meets multiple goals: addressing climate change, supporting sustainable development and conserving biodiversity.
Paso Pacifico's project partners in Nicaragua include private reserve owners and small-scale farmers. Landowner partners are engaged at all levels of the project, from the contribution of their land, to the collection of native tree seeds, to nursery establishment and actual tree planting. Paso Pacifico’s broader mission is supported by these additional partners: the United State Forest Service International Institute for Tropical Forestry/USAID, the Nature Conservancy, Fauna and Flora International, and the Nicaragua Network for Private Reserves.
"The benefits of carbon offsets need not be limited to carbon sequestration. Through reforestation projects, carbon offsets can also contribute to protecting watersheds, improving livelihoods, and saving endangered species" says Paso Pacifico's Executive Director, Dr. Sarah Otterstrom.
Rural landowner, farmer and project partner Miguel Meléndez expresses his enthusiasm for setting aside part of his farm for conservation. "I have told my children, I was born here and I want to see that there is something to leave you for your future. Only the trees will remain after I leave."
About Paso Pacifico
Paso Pacifico is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to restore and conserve the ecosystems along the pacific coast of Central America. To achieve this Paso Pacifico works with private landowners to create private reserves and to support sustainable land use. Paso Pacifico is currently working to build wildlife corridors that connect habitat between protected areas. Paso Pacifico's first corridor, Paso del Istmo (Passage of the Isthmus), is being developed in Nicaragua's Rivas province along the Southwestern Pacific coast. Paso Pacifico has ongoing projects in environmental education, sustainable agriculture, forest restoration, and wildlife protection. www.pasopacifico.org
Carbonfund.org is a national non-profit organization leading the fight against climate change. Carbonfund.org educates the public about the dangers of climate change and makes it easy and affordable for individuals, businesses and organizations to reduce their climate impact. Carbonfund.org is reducing the threat of climate change by promoting cost-effective carbon reductions and supporting renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects globally that reduce and offset carbon dioxide emissions. Carbonfund.org works with over 200 corporate and non-profit partners including the National Wildlife Federation, Earth Day Network, Dell, Lancôme, Orbitz and Working Assets.