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  • Awarded: 2011
  • Issue Areas: Arresting Deforestation · Clean Energy · Clean Water · Early Childhood to Primary Education · Environmental Sustainability · Livelihoods · Living Conditions · Ocean Ecosystems · Peace · Peace and Human Rights · Responsible Supply Chains · Sustainable Markets · Water Management
  • Countries Served: American Samoa · Bolivia · Brazil · China · Colombia · Ecuador · Ghana · Indonesia · Kenya · Madagascar · Malaysia · Mexico · Myanmar · Peru · South Africa · Tanzania · Uganda · United Kingdom · United States
  • Web:
  • About the Organization

    Forest Trends is a Washington, DC-based international non-profit organization that was created in 1998 by leaders from conservation organizations, forest products firms, research groups, multilateral development banks, private investment funds, and philanthropic foundations. Forest Trends' mission is to maintain, restore, and enhance forests and connected natural ecosystems, which provide life-sustaining processes, by promoting incentives stemming from a broad range of ecosystem services and products. Specifically, Forest Trends seeks to catalyze the development of integrated carbon, water, and biodiversity incentives that deliver real conservation outcomes and benefits to local communities and other stewards of our natural resources. Forest Trends analyzes strategic market and policy issues; catalyzes connections between producers, communities and investors; and develops new financial tools to help markets work for conservation and people. Their approach integrates the fundamental dimensions of ecology, economy, and equity. Their goal is to have an impact on a scale that is meaningful globally and for a diverse set of stakeholders.


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    Deforestation persists in part because people living in remote and pristine areas lack other income-generating options, which in turn results in massive emissions of carbon into the atmosphere.

    Forest Trends develops incentive systems that pay people to manage rather than destroy forests.

    Making the case to public and private sector investors in these incentive systems is a critical part of FT's work.

    Markets for carbon credits and water are advancing as a result of FT's work.

    Ambition for Change

    Indigenous and other local communities engage in and benefit from environmental markets, sustaining their livelihoods by conserving ecosystems, and environmental sustainability becomes part of the fabric of society so that business activity is expected to produce conservation outcomes.

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    Path to Scale

    Policy Advocacy Forest Trends provides information and enables experts to connect to advance the adoption of market tools for conservation, such as PES, by government and private sector investors.

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    Business Model

    Support from international development agencies and philanthropy.

    Michael Jenkins is the founding President of Forest Trends. For more than a decade he worked as a tropical forester in Haiti, Paraguay and Brazil, where he witnessed first-hand the effects of extreme degradation of natural ecosystems on poor people and that charitable approaches alone were insufficient to solve these problems. Then from 1989-1999 he led the MacArthur Foundation’s conservation and sustainable resource program through a reorientation strategy, taking a whole systems approach that outlined the forest value chain and identified strategies to build financial and community sustainability into the system. In 1998, he founded Forest Trends, focused on increasing the market value of natural ecosystems like tropical forests to prevent their conversion to agricultural use (oil palm soy, cattle, etc.) or other development, thereby mitigating the effects of climate change and benefiting local communities. Michael received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2010. In 2015, Michael received the Social Entrepreneur Award from the Schwab Foundation while Forest Trends received the MacArthur Foundation’s 2015 Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.   /**CR TEST on 18th June**/

    Impact & Accomplishments

    Contributions to making the financial investments in REDD+ (carbon credits generated by reduction of deforestation and degradation) transparent and accessible, including a 2015 report, Tracking REDD+ Finance 2009-2012. Providing information on the drivers of deforestation, including a 2014 report finding that nearly half of tropical deforestation is the result of illegal clearing for commercial agriculture. Forest Trends' training of U.S. Department of Agriculture senior managers resulted in creation of USDA's Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets. /**CR TEST on 18th June**/


    Ann EspuelasCommunications Consultant, Forest Trends Association
    Beto BorgesDirector, Communities and Markets Program, Forest Trends Association
    Brian SchaapREDDX Program Senior Associate, Forest Trends Association
    Steve ZwickEditor, Ecosystem Marketplace, Forest Trends Association

    See All Awardees →