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Analysis

Conservation Strategy Fund helps local conservationists use economic tools to find smart, efficient solutions to the most urgent environmental problems. Since its creation in 1998, CSF has conducted dozens of analysis projects in forests, rivers and coastal environments. Most of our work has focused in the tropics, where extraordinarily high levels of biological diversity are found. To maximize the reach and quality of our work, we involve leading experts and conservation organizations in all of our projects.
Wild Cacao

Wild Chocolate in Bolivia

The tree that gives us chocolate is native to the Amazon rain forests. It has long been domesticated and planted commercially in hot, humid climates around the world. But the "wild" cacao beans are still harvested from natural Amazon forests, such as those in Northern Bolivia. CSF helped local communities and our partners at Conservation International assess the Bolivian market for wild rain forest chocolate.

Business and Parks: CSF and the Brazilian National Park Service

CSF worked with the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), which is the Brazilian National Park Service, on financial aspects of businesses operating in national parks. Starting with five protected areas, in the Atlantic Coastal Forest, the Amazon and the Cerrado, CSF trained and assisted ICMBio staff on financial planning to provide services that will improve visitors' access and experience in the parks and strengthen the tie between Brazilians and their parks. The project was supported by the United States Forest Service and the United States Agency for International Development.

Photo of a deep sea giant turtle swimming in clear tropical sea water.

Ocean Economics - Abrolhos Reef, Brazil

Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) conducted economic valuation research of Marine areas in Belize, Panama and Brazil. This work was supported by Conservation International’s Marine Management Area Science program. Valuation of ecosystem goods and services was carried out within three formally protected marine areas: Gladden Spit (Belize), Coiba (Panama) and Abrolhos (Brazil).

Image of Brazilian cattle at the edge of the rainforest

Subsidies, Credit and Cattle in Southern Amazonas

Cattle ranching is a leading cause of deforestation in the Amazon Basin. Forests are razed for pasture when landowners perceive that more profits can be made from cows than from the various products of the intact forest. This calculation is influenced by the availability of subsidized credit, long used a tool to drive economic expansion on the agricultural frontier.

Picture of sugar mill in northern Bolivia

Sugar Cane in the Bolivian Amazon

Over the past three decades, the Amazonian region in northern Bolivia has experienced a process of agricultural colonization in formerly pristine forestlands.

Forest conversion for agricultural projects is the basis of several national and local government development schemes. As of 2008, the most prominent development proposal in the region involved building a sugar mill and planting more than 20,000 hectares of sugar cane. However, consensus was lacking on whether and how such a project should be implemented, due in part to the absence of any rigorous feasibility studies.

Interoceanica Sur Road in Peru

Tropical forests of southeastern Peru hold the highest biodiversity levels in the world. This unique region is threatened by the construction of a paved road linking Brazil to Peruvian ports on the Pacific Ocean. CSF carried out a study to identify priority areas for conservation investments to mitigate the so-called "Interoceánica Sur" road's impacts. To do this, we analyzed the road’s effects on land-use profits, information we combined with data on the distribution of wild plant and animal species. The economic and biological data was overlaid to find where the greatest conservation gains can be achieved at least cost. Finally, we considered socio-political factors that might favor or restrict conservation.

Ocean Economics - Gladden Spit, Belize

Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) conducted economic valuation research of Marine areas in Belize, Panama and Brazil. This work was supported by Conservation International’s Marine Management Area Science program. Valuation of ecosystem goods and services was carried out within three formally protected marine areas: Gladden Spit (Belize), Coiba (Panama) and Abrolhos (Brazil).

Why Rebuild BR-319? Economics of an Amazon Road

The route that once connected Manaus and Porto Velho is in a state of serious disrepair and has been impassable since 1986. The reconstruction of this route as part of the federal Accelerated Growth Plan (known by its Portuguese acronym PAC) has projected costs of R$557 million (US$265 million), which is that our analysis focuses on. Our analysis takes two scenarios: a “conventional” one, which reflects the approach commonly used in the evaluation of projects for road infrastructure, and an “integrated” scenario, which aims to incorporate environmental costs in the conventional scenario.

Ocean Economics - Coiba National Park, Panama

Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) conducted economic valuation research of Marine areas in Belize, Panama, and Brazil. This work was supported by Conservation International’s Marine Management Area Science program and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Valuation of ecosystem goods and services was carried out within three formally protected marine areas: Gladden Spit (Belize), Coiba (Panama) and Abrolhos (Brazil). CSF's Coiba research was led by one of our training graduates, Ricardo Montenegro, of the Alliance for Conservation and Development, a Panamanian NGO.

Roads and protected areas in northern Bolivia Amazon

Road projects in the Amazon Basin are seen by some people as required elements for economic development, but they can come with a host of social and environmental disadvantages. These include the destruction of forests and other natural habitats, the loss of biodiversity, the spread of human diseases, displacement of indigenous and non-indigenous communities and the concentration of landholdings. Studies that consider and integrate the varied effects of road projects can point to those investments that best achieve, and, to the extent possible, reconcile economic, environmental and social goals.