Debt swap yields $39m for Costa Rican rainforests.

Author:Scheer, Roddy
Position:THIS WEEK - Brief article
 
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In what amounts to the largest "debt-for-nature" swap in history, the U.S. government last week forgave $26 million owed it by Costa Rica on the stipulation that the funds be spent on the preservation of tropical rainforest tracts important for the survival of a wide range of endangered and as-yet unknown species of plants and animals in the lush Central American nation. The U.S. is also kicking in an additional $12 million to help spur on forest conservation efforts, while The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International, the two leading international conservation nonprofits that helped broker the deal, also put in almost $1 million.

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According to Zdenka Piskulich, The Nature Conservancy's Costa Rica program director, this particular debt swap is unique not just for its monetary size but also in that it uses scientific analysis to determine the six sites throughout the country where the funds are most sorely needed. She adds that the funding will also help local communities "to pursue sustainable and economically viable livelihoods, thus...

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