Making money grow on trees – How water funds pay for long-term ecological restoration (across five continents!)

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Louise Stafford

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Ecological restoration often struggles to find revolving funding that will provide a long-term sustainable base for needed activities. Restoration is rarely a one-off ‘event’ so being able to secure this funding can be paramount in ensuring that ecological benefits accrue and are sustained over time. Water funds, a tried and tested approach, originally from Latin America, but now globalising fast, offer interesting insights into how this can be achieved. By providing a robust governance and financing framework that sees downstream ‘beneficiaries’ pay for upstream ‘restoration’, water funds can provide a platform that delivers not only restoration at an impressive scale, but which ensures its longevity in the face of increasing economic and societal pressures. This short IGNITE talk, using the business case behind the Greater Cape Town Water Fund as an example, will highlight how a water fund comes about and how it delivers on a range of aspects surrounding the ‘Economics of Restoration’, including job creation, long-term investment, payment for ecosystem services, and a route to public sector funding. Other examples, ranging from Brazil and Peru to Botswana, will show how a range of ecological restoration can thus be funded. For those interested in knowing more, TNC will be happy to share findings from ongoing scientific research that looks at how to standardise both “business cases” and develop a flexible financial model that can support others’ efforts to replicate these successes.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

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Society for Ecological Restoration