Suriname Rainforest Project

 
 

Taking a Rainforest Public

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The IVE CSNR project is a ground-breaking endeavor to value and monetize the natural capital assets of an intact rainforest and the ecosystem services that the rainforest supplies.

The goal of this project is to convert natural assets, a healthy rainforest ecosystem, into financial capital that can be used to protect and restore natural infrastructure and fuel the transition to a sustainable, green-growth economy.

A successful demonstration of the IVE platform in Suriname can open a pathway to preserving and regenerating rainforests throughout the world.

The Intrinsic Value Exchange (IVE) has received initial authorization from the government of Suriname to employ the IVE financial construct and trading platform to convert the natural assets of the 1.6 million hectare Central Suriname Nature Reserve to financial capital.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) via its Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) is the lead investor for the Suriname project. Initially, the MIF will invest $1,200,000 of seed capital and technical support to initiate the project and formation of the CSNR Corporation.

Suriname and Central Suriname Nature Reserve Background

Suriname is a country rich in ecological resources. Thanks in part to pioneering conservation efforts, over 95% of the country remains forested, 80% represents primary rainforests, home to a rich diversity of wildlife and indigenous people. A country the size of New England, Suriname has 7% of the surface fresh water on the planet.

But the country is facing developmental pressures. The population is small (550,000) but pressure is building to create economic opportunity for a population seeking the benefits of the modern industrial economy. A downturn in commodity prices has caused severe economic hardship and Suriname is at a critical turning point between traditional and sustainable development pathways.

The economic paradox facing Suriname is common to any forest or natural area in the world. The potential wealth of the forest is converted most easily into financial capital by extractive means — mining of gold and other minerals, petroleum, timber harvesting, wildlife trafficking, and unsustainable agriculture such as palm oil plantations. The rainforest may be known to be valuable — providing fresh water, modulating the climate, a home to diverse wildlife, an untold store of genetic value for food, medicines, and technological advances -- but these assets remain of theoretical value in a world driven by financial capital markets and monetized values.

As we have witnessed elsewhere, a traditional industrial pathway overly reliant on extractives leads to rapid but uneven economic growth with high levels of income/asset concentration. Rapid growth soon peaks as non-renewable resources are exhausted and the majority of the population is saddled with the true costs of a degraded natural capital base without the benefit of a diverse and inclusive economy.

The Reserve

The Central Suriname Nature Reserve (CSNR) was created 18 years ago and represents a landmark achievement in conservation. The CSNR spans some 1.6 million hectares of primary rain forest in the heart of The Republic of Suriname, providing an incredibly valuable resource for the people of Suriname and to the world. However, the full value of the reserve as a keystone driver of a sustainable Surinamese economy is yet to be fully realized. The CSNR and surrounding forests are in jeopardy from uncontrolled timbering, illegal mining, and road building.