Bridging the gap between forest conservation and poverty alleviation: the Ecuadorian Socio Bosque program
The Socio Bosque program is a national conservation agreement scheme of the government of Ecuador. Socio Bosque consists of the transfer of a direct monetary incentive per hectareof native forest and other native ecosystems to individual landowners and local andindigenous communities who protect these ecosystems, through voluntary conservationagreements that are monitored on a regular basis for compliance. Two years after its creation, the program now includes more than half a million hectares of natural ecosystemsand has over 60,000 beneﬁciaries.
The characteristics of Socio Bosque make it a good example of a national conservation agreement scheme from which important lessonscan be drawn: it is part of a clear government policy, combines ecosystem conservationwith poverty alleviation, incentivizes and monitors local socio-economic investment, istransparent and straightforward, and has generated nation-wide participation of local andindigenous communities and farmer households. Socio Bosque furthermore sheds light onhow beneﬁt sharing mechanisms for national REDD+ strategies could work in practice.