1 Tahrcountry Musings: Excellent Example of Public and Private Sector Participation in Conservation

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Excellent Example of Public and Private Sector Participation in Conservation

Goldman Sachs has announced the gift of a sprawling wilderness area in Chile to the Wildlife Conservation Society. The 272,000 hectares has old growth forests ,unique grasslands, rivers and wetlands teeming with wildlife. The guanaco, a member of the camel family, is the region’s signature animal. Other wildlife includes Magellanic woodpeckers, Firecrown Hummingbirds, and the Culpeo Fox. The reserve is home to around 700 plant species, including several types of moss, which are unique to these islands.

Goldman Sachs, the Goldman Sachs Charitable Fund, and WCS are establishing a formal Alliance to make conservation meaningful for the area. Ecotourism, will be promoted to support conservation objectives and to provide benefit to local communities.

It was in February 2002, that Goldman Sachs acquired the area as part of distressed assets of the Trillium Corporation, a US company that owned the Chilean lands. Trillium had planned to use the land for logging. This was opposed tooth and nail by Chilean environmentalists. Goldman Sachs initially wanted to sell the area for a profit. The bank considered selling the land but realized it would face the same opposition as Trillium had. So it chose the prudent option to salvage the situation. It gave the land away as gift to WCS. Lot of deliberation was done before the Goldman Sachs Charitable Fund determined that WCS is ideally suited to manage the reserve and protect the key ecological features of this land. Goldman Sachs has pledged around $12m of its own money to ensure the land's protection for years to come. In this process Goldman Sachs has enhanced its green credentials. A case of killing two birds with one shot. The end beneficiary is conservation.

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