2018 Grant Recipients

Solar panels at the Kaxil Kiuic Biocultural Reserve
Recharging Conservation through solar plants. © Erich Schlegel

Sub-Saharan Africa: $500,000
Powering Africa | Recharging Conservation

Powering Africa | Recharging Conservation (PARC) is a first-of-its-kind impact investment designed to develop large-scale, grid-connected solar plants in Sub-Saharan Africa. PARC will provide a new source of funding for protected areas that typically rely on relatively unstable sources such as philanthropy, tourism, and government funding. Profits generated from energy sales will create a financial return for investors, and, more importantly, offer sustainable long-term funding for conservation work in the region.

PARC is currently developing two 10-megawatt pilot sites in Kenya that will be among the first industrial-grade solar plants in the country, and we are exploring five additional sites for solar plants in Kenya and other sub-Saharan African countries. Support from the China Global Conservation Fund will help fund the first year of this innovative program.

A young woman picking tea leaves on a tea plantation in the Upper Tana Watershed, Kenya. The Nature Conservancy is working to protect the Upper Tana Watershed in Kenya.
Soil health and water funds in Kenya and Mexico. © Nick Hall

Kenya and Mexico: $400,000
Soil Health and Water Funds: Innovative Solutions for Our Climate, Lands, and Waters

Healthy soil and healthy rivers are interconnected. To address both, The Nature Conservancy is combining two innovative strategies from our Global Lands and Global Water programs-soil health and water funds-to tackle critical issues like food security, climate change, and sustainable hydropower.

Better soil management, including simple solutions such as cover crops, reduced tillage, and adaptive grazing management, can bring a wealth of benefits to people and nature. These practices also lock carbon into the soil instead of allowing it to escape into the atmosphere. By combining soil health with our water funds strategy, we can also improve river health by reducing soil and fertilizer runoff into rivers and build an economic case for this work. With support from the China Global Conservation Fund, we will implement this approach at two biologically important sites, the Upper Tana Watershed of Nairobi, Kenya, and the Chiapas Water Fund in Mexico.

We’re restoring lost shellfish reefs from Victoria to Western Australia.
Restoring Shellfish Reefs in the Asia Pacific region. © Simon Branigan

Asia Pacific Oceans: $400,000
Shellfish Reefs: Restoring the Pearl of Asia Pacific Marine Ecosystems After Decades of Destruction

The large-scale disappearance of shellfish such as oysters and mussels from marine environments in Asia Pacific has widespread consequences for the over 1 billion people who live in the region’s coastal areas. Over 90 percent of the Asia Pacific’s once-abundant shellfish reefs are gone, as are many of the key services they provide, such as water filtration, shoreline protection, habitat for plants and animals, and a major source of income to coastal fishers. Without immediate intervention, what’s left of these critical ecosystems may disappear almost entirely.

The good news is that oyster reefs and other shellfish ecosystems can be restored. Across Asia Pacific, The Nature Conservancy has the science and expertise to build a sustainable future for coastal zones through intensive restoration of key shellfish reef areas. Support from the China Global Conservation Fund will help us demonstrate, at multiple project sites, how restoration and improved management can achieve long-term shellfish reef and coastal water recovery, while also providing an opportunity for communities to engage in conservation.

Aerial view of Mantiqueira, a mountain range in eastern Brazil,
Restoring Forest in Brazil's Mantiqueira Mountains. © Erik Lopes

Brazil: $300,000
Tackling Climate Change at Scale: Restoring 1.2 million hectares of forest in the Mantiqueira Mountains

Addressing climate change is the defining challenge of modern environmentalism. Reforestation in tropical countries, where opportunity costs are low and tree growth rates are high, is a relatively inexpensive and scalable carbon sequestration opportunity. But even “inexpensive” solutions require outside funding, which has proven impossible to find at scale. The alternative is to create approaches to climate change mitigation that are financially attractive to those who implement them. These approaches provide true change, in which climate mitigation becomes self-funding and self-perpetuating.

With support from the China Global Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy will bring together two of our longstanding strategies in Latin America—water funds and forest restoration—to create the necessary conditions to restore 1.2 million hectares of Brazil’s endangered Atlantic Forest in the iconic Mantiqueira Mountain range, meeting 10 percent of Brazil’s national forest restoration commitment under the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

A herd of elephants at Loisaba Conservancy in Laikipia, northern Kenya.
Protecting a Wildlife Corridor in Tanzania and Kenya. © Ami Vitale

Northern Tanzania: $200,000
Protecting A Cross-Border Elephant Corridor Through Community Conservation

The wildlife corridor linking Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro National Park with Kenya’s Amboseli National Park hosts the seasonal migration of thousands of zebra and wildebeest, and more than 1,000 elephants as they travel time-worn paths between wet and dry season grounds. Here, and across east Africa, free movement is essential to life. If these ancient paths are cut off by agricultural development or made unsafe by poachers, Africa’s most iconic wildlife, and the economic opportunities they bring to the region, will falter.

Most of this globally important wildlife corridor comprises community lands managed by resident agro-pastoralists, including Enduimet Community Wildlife Management Area (CWMA). Funding from the China Global Conservation Fund will support the Conservancy’s work with Enduimet CWMA to introduce management and business innovations that, over the next five years, will transform it into a well-managed and financially sustainable CWMA that effectively protects the region’s wildlife from the threats of poaching and habitat destruction while bringing value to local communities from increased tourism revenues.