• Open Access

Forest conservation and restoration using eco-loan financing (ELF) in Costa Rica: report on a working model

Authors


  • Editor
    Rudolf de Groot

Evelyne T. Lennette, Apartado 548-4250, San Ramon, Alajuela, Costa Rica.
Tel: 011-506-2445-4642; fax: 011-506-2445-5627. E-mail: elennette@nectandra.org

Abstract

Nectandra Institute, a small U.S. nonprofit organization based on private philanthropy, initiated a zero (monetary) interest loan program (Eco-Loan Financing, or ELF) to qualifying rural community water management associations to buy watershed land in northern Costa Rica. Each borrowing community repays the capital and eco-interest (e.g., reforestation, regeneration of native forest on the properties, watershed restoration and management, continuing environmental education, etc). The project's effectiveness since 2007 in achieving its conservation and education objectives was due to: (1) the facility and flexibility of the negotiations between borrowers (entire communities) and lender (conservation promoter), (2) the communities’ involvement and enthusiastic acceptance of the project's ecosystem conservation insured its post-loan continuance at the grassroots level, (3) the rapid reloaning of repaid capital fund, thereby amplifying the donors’ investment several times, and (4) the potential for its replication and scalability elsewhere in Central America.

Ancillary