SRI: Innovation in Tropical Biodiversity Conservation
Application Deadline: September 30th, 2013
While deforestation rates have slowed and areas under protection have increased in recent decades, global biodiversity continues to decline at alarming rates. We are – as biologists have long been warning us – in the midst of Earth’s sixth mass extinction.
In tropical forests, biodiversity conservation has seen a number of innovations in recent decades: land purchasing programs, sustainable development of non-timber forest products, debt-for-nature swaps, forest certification systems and commodity roundtables, indigenous parks guards, and payments for ecosystem services (PES) like carbon (REDD+) and water. While many of these efforts have enjoyed some success, clearly we need more. This Special Reporting Initiative (SRI) will ask: what is the next big idea in tropical biodiversity conservation?
- What new models are conservationists employing in the field? How are these working? Are they socially and economically sustainable?
- Are there effective models emerging out of sectors outside traditional tropical biodiversity conservation, like healthcare, microfinance, poverty alleviation, or energy production?
- What does academic literature say about innovation in tropical biodiversity conservation? What direction is conservation headed?
- Are there effective models or strategies being developed by companies?
- On what scale are these innovations being developed and implemented?
- Is making forests more valuable intact than cut down actually possible?
- Is any innovation coming out of governments?
This SRI does not have a specific focal geography, though research must be focused on conservation efforts that are preserving biodiversity in tropical forests. The scope could be a municipality in Brazil, a country, an entire region, or a selection of projects and innovations from around the tropics.
Your proposal will be evaluated based on the originality of your idea and your ability to write a series of interesting and engaging stories. Mongabay.org will commit up to $20,000 to fund the top proposal: $15,000 as a stipend and up to $5,000 for reporting and travel costs. You will have three months for travel and research and three months for writing. You can work from anywhere in the world.