U.S. Brazil Debt for Nature
According to BBC News, the U.S. and Brazil have signed an agreement that promises to convert $21 million of Brazil’s debt into a fund for tropical ecosystems protection and conservation.
BBC News states that this means instead of paying back its debt to the United States, Brazil will put the money towards protecting the Atlantic coastal rainforest along with the Cerrado and Caatinga ecosystems. Unlike the Amazon which receives attention and conservation funds from different sources, the three new regions have previously gone unnoticed in spite of being victims to severe deforestation. The money will be put towards conservation and improving the livelihoods of citizens who live in these areas, over the next five years.
The funding is much needed. Over 90% of the Atlantic coastal forest has been cleared, along with its rich biological diversity. The remaining 10% is home to 200 birds and 21 primates found nowhere else.
Debt for nature swaps supports nations in making changes that conserve the environment and protect endangered species, some of which may not even be known to the world yet. According to the Los Angeles Times, biologists with Conservation International recently discovered a previously unknown species of titi monkey in Colombia. This discovery will lead to new efforts to protect this species as well as others still living in the Amazon. In remaining unexplored forested areas, the potential for finding new species exists. And they need to be protected before we lose them like we’ve lost so many others. The newly discovered titi monkey is merely an example of the wonders that may be found and protected with the signing of new debt for nature swap agreements.