How to protect forests and wildlife while surrounding communities benefit

One day, an American businessman who went to do a safari in Kenya fell in love with the Tsavo region’s wildlife but noticed the difficulties the communities around the wildlife sanctuaries faced. He set up Wildlife Works and in 2011 their Kasigau Corridor Project became the first Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) project in the world to be validated and verified by two standardizing bodies—the Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance. Together, the two standards evaluate every aspect of the project, including how you calculate your carbon emission reductions, as well as whether the benefit-sharing to communities is fair and equitable. Wildlife Works developed a methodology for the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project to measure carbon in a dryland forest as opposed to a tropical rainforest.

The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project currently generates up to 1,800,000 verified carbon units, otherwise known as carbon credits or tonnes, a year, the larger of the two REDD+ projects in Kenya. To share the benefits from the carbon credit sales, one third of the revenue goes to the landowners, Wildlife Works runs the project’s operating costs, and the profit is then split 50/50 between the communities and the project investors. The communities decide via community committees on how they would like to spend the income they get from the sales of carbon credits: on trainings, health projects or education (school buildings or bursaries). Each committee has at least two women and two youth on them to guarantee diversity.