Wildlife Works Delivers World’s First Verified Carbon Standard REDD MEGA Project in Kenya

In Another First, Wildlife Works REDD Project (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) Receives the New CCB Tagged VCUs, and Raises the Bar for Quality REDD Projects That Produce Real Co-Benefits for Communities and Biodiversity.

May 31, 2011: San Francisco, CA and Voi, Kenya – Wildlife Works, announced today that its pioneering Kasigau Corridor REDD Project, Phase II – The Community Ranches, was successfully validated and verified under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCB) and is the world’s first VCS REDD mega-project, in that it will result in the avoidance of over 1 million tonnes of CO2-e emissions per year for the next 30 years.

Wildlife Works’ ground-breaking REDD initiative now protects over 500,000 acres of Kenyan forest, securing the entire wildlife migration corridor between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks, and bringing the benefits of direct carbon financing to more than 100,000 people in the surrounding communities.

Wildlife Works implemented the REDD project in an area of highly threatened wilderness known as the Kasigau Corridor on behalf of more than 4,000 local landowners from 13 Community Group Ranches who are the owners of the Carbon Credits.

“REDD brings a positive change to our region with real and direct solutions for poverty alleviation that will uplift our community ” said Chief Kizaki of Kasigau Location in the Voi District who represents over 12,000 people. Chief Kizaki added “This is not charity. Carbon money helps us meet basic needs and improve our lifestyle. The money is earned through conservation activities that afford us the ability to protect our environment”

The Kasigau Corridor REDD project was awarded the additional distinction of Gold level status by the CCB for exceptional biodiversity and climate benefits. The project area is home to a fantastic diversity of over 50 species of large mammals, more than 20 species of bats and over 300 species of birds and important populations of IUCN Red List species such as Grevy’s Zebra, Cheetah, Lion, African Wild Dog as well as over 2000 African elephants seasonally.

Mr. David Mbugua, Director, Kenya Forest Service said, “The Kenya Forest Service, fully cognizant of the significant potential for REDD+ in the country, are very pleased that Wildlife Works has continued to demonstrate this potential through its world class expertise in REDD+ here in Kenya. Through its initiative, communities living adjacent to highly threatened and fragile dryland forests stand to benefit from the global carbon marketplace, while at the same time affording enormous ecological, environmental and other social benefits. Here in Kenya we are committed to playing a leading role in mitigating climate change through innovative forestry projects, and we see Wildlife Works as one of the key stakeholders in the ongoing efforts of formulating a REDD+ strategy for the country.”

With a projected revenue value of more than $300M over the 30 year life of the project, the project’s Validation, Verification and Carbon Credit Issuance demonstrates the value and viability of carbon investments as a scalable means of delivering commercial results while, at the same time, mitigating global warming, uplifting communities and protecting wildlife by reducing human-wildlife conflict.

French bank, BNP Paribas provided early support for the project through a multi-million dollar deal to buy an option to purchase a portion of the annual carbon credits over the next five years. The 1.25M tonne option purchase agreement was announced in September 2010 alongside a separate agreement for the bank to provide Wildlife Works with up to $50m in project financing  intended to leverage the company’s extensive rural African experience to expand its innovative forestry protection model to other areas in Africa, the tropics and the rest of the world where biodiversity and communities face threats from deforestation.

According to Christian del Valle, Director of Environmental Markets in Commodity Derivatives at BNP Paribas, “Wildlife Works has proven it is able to achieve successful Validation and Verification in an efficient timeline as a result of their unique hands on approach to REDD project management. Our relationship with Wildlife Works is as an important cornerstone of our approach to forest carbon. We believe that the combined competencies of the Wildlife Works and BNP Paribas Carbon Finance teams bring the right tools to bear to develop and manage an exemplary portfolio of high quality REDD projects. “

“We are delighted that Wildlife Works Kasigau Corridor REDD Project Phase II has achieved Gold Level verification against the CCB Standards.  This is the very first project to issue Verified Carbon Units with a CCB label and demonstrates that the project has been implemented with the participation and support of the local community and is actually delivering significant social and biodiversity benefits.” said Dr. Joanna Durbin, Director of the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance.  “The CCB label provides assurance to offset buyers that credits have come from a high quality multiple-benefit project like Kasigau  Corridor project, added Dr. Durbin.

“The objective of the project is to permanently protect the dryland Acacia-Commiphora forest that forms a wildlife dispersal and migration corridor between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks, to conserve the important biodiversity found in those forests, to provide alternative sustainable development opportunities for the local communities that live adjacent to the forests and to prevent the emissions that would otherwise occur were those dryland forests to be converted to subsistence agriculture using the slash and burn methods typical to this area of Kenya” said Mike Korchinsky, founder and CEO of Wildlife Works.

The Project Primary Validator was Det Norske Veritas Climate Change Services AS (DNV).

Jeremy Freund, VP Carbon Development at Wildlife Works who led the project Validation and Verification effort said “The Kasigau Corridor Phase II project is a natural extension of Wildlife Works’ field-based philosophy, and proves that our model and our methodology can be successfully applied at the mega-project level. I’m proud to be a part of this ground-breaking, influential REDD+ effort that now has an entire region in the SE of Kenya positively engaged in climate change mitigation through forest protection.”

Wildlife Works permanently employs members of the local communities trained and managed by Wildlife Works VP of African Field Operations Rob Dodson to perform Forest and Biodiversity protection and monitoring, and to staff innovative leakage mitigation efforts such as Wildlife Works’ ecocharcoal initiative.

“REDD is about how you protect a standing forest from a community who are destroying it because of economic need,” states Korchinsky. “Jobs give the community a real alternative to killing animals and destroying their environment for survival.”

“Job creation is the essence of Wildlife Works REDD strategy,” he adds. “Our projects create jobs for conservation rangers, factory workers, horticulturalists, machinists, seamstresses, foresters, carpenters, construction workers, drivers, mechanics and administrative personnel and they finance the development of small businesses such as a clothing factory, sustainable charcoal producers, distributors and soap manufacturing.”

Wildlife Works’ is establishing the Wildlife Works Carbon Trust, to manage 5 different community committees spread geographically around the project area for transparent disbursement of REDD funds into community projects. Already, carbon finance has enabled community projects that include; reforestation of deforested
water catchments, building schools, bursaries for kids to go to High School and College, and support for local women’s and conservancy groups.

About Wildlife Works

Wildlife Works is the world’s leading REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) project development and management company with a unique approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity.

The company established a successful model that uses the emerging marketplace for REDD Carbon Offsets as a sustainable and scalable funding mechanism for biodiverse forest protection and to help local landowners in the developing world monetize their forest and biodiversity assets whether they are governments, communities, ownership groups or private individuals.

Wildlife Works flagship “Kasigau Corridor REDD project” protects over 500,000 acres of forest and brings the benefits of direct carbon financing to Kenyan communities while also securing the entire wildlife migration corridor between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks.

Earlier this year, Wildlife Works delivered the worlds first validated, verified and issued VCS REDD carbon credits that was described in the carbon market trade press as a “watershed event”.

Wildlife Works is actively developing a portfolio of additional REDD projects in Africa with an aim to; protect 5 Million hectares of native forest that will mitigate 25 million tons of CO2 emissions annually and create thousands of sustainable jobs for rural Africans.

The Project Design Documents containing all the details of Wildlife Works Project can be found on the VCS and CCB websites, www.v-c-s.org  (project database) and www.climate-standards.org/projects respectively.

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Written by greenlivingguy

The Green Living Guy, Seth Leitman is a green living expert, celebrity and Editor of the McGraw-Hill, TAB Green Guru Guides. Seth is also an Author, Radio Host, Reporter, Writer and a Environmental Consultant on green living. The Green Living Guy writes about green living, green lighting, the green guru guides and more. Seth's books range from: # Build Your Own Electric Vehicle by Bob Brant and Seth Leitman (2nd and 3rd editions) # Build Your Own Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle by Seth Leitman # Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle by Carl Vogel # Green Lighting by Seth Leitman, Brian Clark Howard and Bill Brinsky # Solar Power For Your Home by David Findley # Renewable Energies For Your Home by Russel Gehrke # Do-it-Yourself Home Energy Audits by David Findley # Build Your Own Small Wind Power System by Brian Clark Howard and Kevin Shea # and more green living books to follow.