Sebastopol, CA, United States
Sebastopol, CA, United States

Conservation Strategy Fund is an international non-governmental environmental conservation organization based in Sebastopol, CA, with offices in Arcata, CA, Bolivia, and Lagoa Santa, Minas Gerais, Brazil with additional staff in Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Uganda and the UK. It focuses on economic issues underlying the conservation of rainforests, oceans, and other ecosystems. CSF has focused on the world's tropical rain belt in Latin America, Africa, and Asia due to high amounts of biodiversity in those areas. Founded in 1998 by John Reid , CSF has grown to over 20 employees in three offices around the world. Wikipedia.

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Nunes F.S.M.,Fundacao Estadual Do Meio Ambiente FEAM | Soares-Filho B.S.,Federal University of Minas Gerais | Rajao R.,Federal University of Minas Gerais | Merry F.,Conservation Strategy Fund
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2017

Large-scale forest restoration is a cornerstone of Brazil's new Forest Code and a key element in its National Determined Contribution (NDC) to emissions reduction. But the path to this target remains unclear due to a lack of information on its economics and implementation challenges. Here, we begin to fill this gap by developing a spatially-explicit model for Minas Gerais state that estimates the costs and benefits of native vegetation regeneration under different restoration approaches. Our results show that 36% (0.7 million ha) of the Forest Code debt in Minas Gerais can be restored using only passive restoration, at a cost of US$ 175 ± 47 million. Adding low-cost assisted natural regeneration would increase that number to 75% (1.5 million ha) at a cost of US$ 776 ± 137 million over a 20 yr period. This would result in a potential sequestration of 284 MtCO2e. However, including the intensive planting methods needed to restore the remaining 25% of highly degraded areas - to fully solve the Forest Code debt and result in a potential sequestration of 345 MtCO2e - would more than double the costs to US$ 1.7 ± 0.3 billion. Our results emphasize the need to implement regional policies that take advantage of the natural regeneration potential as well as prioritize the restoration of areas key to ecosystem services. © 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Merry F.,Conservation Strategy Fund | Soares-Filho B.,Federal University of Minas Gerais
Elementa | Year: 2017

The intensification of beef production has become a conservation target based on the idea of land sparing and the assumption that in order to contain deforestation and meet increasing beef demand we must increase productivity. There is also increasing attention and conservation credit being given to supply chain management in beef production. Based on a historical comparison between the US, a fully intensive system, and Brazil, one moving in that direction, we suggest that cattle ranching will intensify as a result of conservation investments (reductions in capital and land subsidies) rather than intensifying in order to produce conservation results. If the comparison holds, the new intensive system, however, will continue to require large natural resource inputs, government subsidies, and be plagued by social and conservation problems. It will also be held in thrall by a few large processing companies, which exert undue influence over both producers and consumers. Therefore, we suggest that closer attention be paid to attribution in the claim of conservation outcomes from intensive beef production. Copyright © 2017 The Author(s).

Vilela T.,Conservation Strategy Fund | Reid J.,Conservation Strategy Fund
PLoS ONE | Year: 2017

This paper describes and validates the HydroCalculator Tool developed by Conservation Strategy Fund. The HydroCalculator Tool allows researchers, policy-makers and citizens to easily assess hydropower feasibility, by calculating traditional financial indicators, such as the levelized cost of energy, as well as greenhouse gas emissions and the economic net present value including emissions costs. Currently, people other than project developers have limited or no access to such information, which stifles informed public debate on electric energy options. Within this context, the use of the HydroCalculator Tool may contribute to the debate, by facilitating access to information. To validate the tool’s greenhouse gas calculations, we replicate two peer-reviewed articles that estimate greenhouse gas emissions from different hydropower plants in the Amazon basin. The estimates calculated by the HydroCalculator Tool are similar to the ones found in both peer-reviewed articles. The results show that hydropower plants can lead to greenhouse gas emissions and that, in some cases, these emissions can be larger than those of alternative energy sources producing the same amount of electricity. © 2017 Vilela, Reid. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the origina author and source are credited.

News Article | November 1, 2016

The rapid transformation taking place in the electrical energy sector demands new education programs to meet the expertise needs of industry, nonprofits, and government agencies. [Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from University of San Francisco] While conventional engineering and business degrees will continue to be helpful, the increased complexity in the energy sector, particularly the electricity sector, increases the need for interdisciplinary trained employees who understand the new energy landscape. Technological, organizational, policy, and financial innovations are changing the way customers, communities, and companies are interacting with their public utility and energy needs. Community choice aggregation, microgrids, home generation with feed-in tariffs, distributed energy, renewable energy certificates, and programs to encourage energy efficiency are growing more common. These changes involve increasing levels of customer engagement, new financing schemes, and new technologies as well as new challenges to grid reliability. It really is a brave new world in the electricity sector. These changes are not only here to stay, they will become the dominant paradigm as more states and countries adopt policies to promote renewable energy in the face of climate change and international agreements, and as technology cost changes lead to new value propositions. Add the future changes to the vehicle fleet and many companies as well as government agencies will be struggling to keep up. Along with these changes in the electricity sector come new employment opportunities in renewable energy production, energy management, energy regulation, energy finance, energy planning, etc. Approximately 4% of current job openings in the US relate to energy. However, there are limited opportunities for students to gain a broad education in this new field. There are conventional engineering programs and increasingly specialized engineering programs focused on renewable energy and storage technologies. Students can also obtain a business degree and then apply the skills and knowledge they gain to energy management. However, to be able to operate at a high level in this new world, having an interdisciplinary education in energy technology, economics, policy, and strategy would allow graduates to support their organization – whether private, public, or nonprofit – at a high level. A number of interdisciplinary energy programs exist and more have been developed over the past few years. The Energy and Resources Group (ERG) at the University of California Berkeley is an outstanding interdisciplinary program (my degree is from there) but it is small and highly competitive. Stanford University offers the Energy Innovation and Emerging Technologies Certificate. And the Tulane Master of Management in Energy is a well-designed interdisciplinary program focusing on renewable energy. The University of Denver offers a Master of Energy and Sustainability, New York Institute of Technology offers an MS in Energy Management, and Northeastern University offers an MS in Energy Systems. Many of these programs are somewhat engineering focused rather than business focused. To meet the educational needs for the new low-carbon energy economy in the San Francisco Bay Area, the University of San Francisco will be offering an innovative new M.S. in Energy Systems Management starting fall 2017. The curriculum for this program was developed from the bottom up through sessions with an advisory board composed of industry experts. Board members include representatives from SunPower, Pacific Gas and Electric, the California Public Utility Commission, the California Independent System Operators, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and Advanced Microgrid Systems. The focus is on systems thinking, tools, and knowledge for the new energy systems. The program will cover renewable energy economics and finance, energy strategy and policy, electricity markets, and leadership skills, along with technology courses that cover the grid and renewable energy technologies and quantitative tools used by energy managers. Students will have the option to complete an internship or final project. The program can be completed in 18 months and courses are on evening and weekend so students can work while in the program. In the face of climate change, we need to move rapidly to low-carbon energy use. Many parts of the world, California in particular, are making rapid strides but we need to move faster to avert dire impacts to our climate. Educating leaders for this next economy will help facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy and support organizations transitioning to thrive in this changing landscape. USF will be hosting an informational meeting at the downtown campus about the new program Feb 8, 2017. Find more details here. Dr. Maggie Winslow is an Associate Professor and Program Director for the Master of Science in Energy Systems Management at the University of San Francisco.  Previously, she was a professor of economics and the Academic Dean at Presidio Graduate School.  She has taught at UC Berkeley, Antioch University, the Central European University, and for the Conservation Strategy Fund.  She has also been a researcher for Redefining Progress, the Pacific Institute, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Conservation Law Foundation, and Lawrence Berkeley Lab where she worked on the economics of energy efficiency.  She has a BA in Political Science from Williams College, a MS from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources, and PhD from the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley. This article was sponsored by University of San Francisco; images from NREL, used with permission Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store!   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.

de Sousa Junior W.C.,Brazilian Technological Institute of Aeronautics | Reid J.,Conservation Strategy Fund
Water Alternatives | Year: 2010

The Amazon region is the final frontier and central focus of Brazilian hydro development, which raises a range of environmental concerns. The largest project in the Amazon is the planned Belo Monte Complex on the Xingu river. If constructed it will be the second biggest hydroelectric plant in Brazil, third largest on earth. In this study, we analyse the private and social costs, and benefits of the Belo Monte project. Furthermore, we present risk scenarios, considering fluctuations in the project's feasibility that would result from variations in total costs and power. For our analysis, we create three scenarios. In the first scenario Belo Monte appears feasible, with a net present value (NPV) in the range of US$670 million and a rate of return in excess of the 12% discount rate used in this analysis. The second scenario, where we varied some of the project costs and assumptions based on other economic estimates, shows the project to be infeasible, with a negative NPV of about US$3 billion and external costs around US$330 million. We also conducted a risk analysis, allowing variation in several of the parameters most important to the project's feasibility. The simulations brought together the risks of cost overruns, construction delays, lower-than-expected generation and rising social costs. The probability of a positive NPV in these circumstances was calculated to be just 28%, or there is a 72% chance that the costs of the Belo Monte dam will be greater than the benefits. Several WCD recommendations are not considered in the project, especially those related to transparency, social participation in the discussion, economic analysis and risk assessment, and licensing of the project. This study underscores the importance of forming a participatory consensus, based on clear, objective information, on whether or not to build the Belo Monte dam.

Laurance W.F.,James Cook University | Clements G.R.,James Cook University | Clements G.R.,University of Malaya | Sloan S.,James Cook University | And 9 more authors.
Nature | Year: 2014

The number and extent of roads will expand dramatically this century. Globally, at least 25 million kilometres of new roads are anticipated by 2050; a 60% increase in the total length of roads over that in 2010. Nine-tenths of all road construction is expected to occur in developing nations, including many regions that sustain exceptional biodiversity and vital ecosystem services. Roads penetrating into wilderness or frontier areas are a major proximate driver of habitat loss and fragmentation, wildfires, overhunting and other environmental degradation, often with irreversible impacts on ecosystems. Unfortunately, much road proliferation is chaotic or poorly planned, and the rate of expansion is so great that it often overwhelms the capacity of environmental planners and managers. Here we present a global scheme for prioritizing road building. This large-scale zoning plan seeks to limit the environmental costs of road expansion while maximizing its benefits for human development, by helping to increase agricultural production, which is an urgent priority given that global food demand could double by mid-century. Our analysis identifies areas with high environmental values where future road building should be avoided if possible, areas where strategic road improvements could promote agricultural development with relatively modest environmental costs, and 'conflict areas' where road building could have sizeable benefits for agriculture but with serious environmental damage. Our plan provides a template for proactively zoning and prioritizing roads during the most explosive era of road expansion in human history. ©2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Moreno-Sanchez R.,Conservation Strategy Fund | Maldonado J.H.,University of Los Andes, Colombia | Wunder S.,Center for International Forestry Research | Borda-Almanza C.,Calle 78 No 63B 52
Ecological Economics | Year: 2012

Flat fees in payment for environmental services (PES) schemes promote administrative ease, and are perceived as egalitarian. However, when environmental-service (ES) buyers are heterogeneous in their income and water-consumption levels, this scheme may not be optimal, as total payments might become too low and services under-supplied. This paper estimates willingness to pay (WTP) higher fees from hydrological-service buyers in an ongoing PES initiative in an Andean watershed in Colombia, where small, flat user payments have been introduced. ES users fall into two highly heterogeneous categories: smallholder peasants and recreational-house owners. We perform a contingent valuation analysis in a representative sample of 218 households. For improved water services, ES buyers on average are willing to pay monthly about US$1 premium over current flat PES rate. Users' heterogeneity, however, affects significantly this outcome: while recreational-house owners are willing to pay monthly on average US$1.61 more than the current fee, smallholders only US$0.41. Spatial variables, such as distance to the water distribution point and to the town center, importantly influence WTP. Results may help designing user-driven PES schemes in line with efficiency and equity objectives. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Maldonado J.H.,University of Los Andes, Colombia | Moreno-Sanchez R.P.,Conservation Strategy Fund
Ecology and Society | Year: 2014

The establishment of marine protected areas (MPA) has become the prevailing management strategy to stop the degradation of coastal and marine ecosystems; however, the effectiveness of MPAs is affected not only by ecological factors but also by social ones. Identifying and understanding socioeconomic conditions and the institutional context of fishing communities is essential to achieve success with MPAs. We propose a practical methodology for estimating the adaptive capacity (AC) of local communities to the establishment of MPAs. Adaptive capacity is defined as the ability of households to anticipate and respond to disturbances, natural or human induced, and to minimize, cope with, and recover from the consequences. We propose an index of adaptive capacity (IAC) of fishing communities that can be estimated at a local scale. This composite index comprises three dimensions, i.e., socioeconomic, social-ecological, and socio-political/institutional, which attempt to capture comprehensively the determinants of AC. Each dimension is constructed from three indicators, whose estimation is based on information collected from a household structured survey for which we suggested specific questions. We proposed the use of a Min function to highlight the weakest dimension of the IAC and guide decision makers with respect to elements that should be addressed to improve AC. A discussion about normalization and aggregation issues is also included. © 2014 by the author(s).

Moreno-Sanchez R.D.P.,Conservation Strategy Fund | Maldonado J.H.,University of Los Andes, Colombia
Ambio | Year: 2013

Departing from a theoretical methodology, we estimate empirically an index of adaptive capacity (IAC) of a fishing community to the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs). We carried out household surveys, designed to obtain information for indicators and sub-indicators, and calculated the IAC. Moreover, we performed a sensitivity analysis to check for robustness of the results. Our findings show that, despite being located between two MPAs, the fishing community of Bazán in the Colombian Pacific is highly vulnerable and that the socioeconomic dimension of the IAC constitutes the most binding dimension for building adaptive capacity. Bazán is characterized by extreme poverty, high dependence on resources, and lack of basic public infrastructure. Notwithstanding, social capital and local awareness about ecological conditions may act as enhancers of adaptive capacity. The establishment of MPAs should consider the development of strategies to confer adaptive capacity to local communities highly dependent on resource extraction. © 2013 Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

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