Arlington, Virginia, USA (July 31, 2017) – Chyulu Hills, the iconic Kenyan landscape that served as the inspiration for Ernest Hemingway’s “Green Hills of Africa” will soon be able to benefit from the sale of 2 million carbon credits.

Revenue from the sale of carbon credits will be re-invested into community conservation efforts. The project is completely led and managed by the local land owners, including indigenous Maasai communities, NGO partners and Kenya’s national parks and forest institutions.

Located between Amboseli and Tsavo National Parks, Chyulu Hills is an integral part of Kenya’s largest conservation landscape that has been severely impacted by overgrazing, drought, deforestation and forest degradation. It is home to traditional pastoralist Maasai, small scale farmers and many of Africa’s most iconic species including endangered rhinos and elephants. Chyulu Hills’ springs serve as a critical freshwater source for local communities, wildlife and livestock, as well over 1 million people living in the downstream city of Mombasa.

The revenue generated from the sale of carbon credits, available for sale to corporations and individuals via Conservation International’s Carbon Calculator will help reduce deforestation and protect forests and natural resources. It will also support employment of forest and game rangers, safeguard the Chyulu Hills water catchment and provide communities with improved social services in health and education, employment and business opportunities.

“The Maasai communities strongly support this project and it is an important opportunity to further clearly demonstrate building our local economy based on protecting the natural environment, living sustainably, and maintaining our cultural link to the land while promising a better future for generations to come,” said Samson Parashina, Maasai leader and Chairman of Chyulu Hills Conservation Trust.

“This initiative has the potential to be life changing for forest and rangelands-dependent communities who lack other economic alternatives. The carbon credit program activities will help ensure the protection of the forests, which is critical to sustaining both communities and wildlife.” said Christina Ender, Conservation International’s Senior Technical Manager for Payments for Ecosystem Services.

The project is managed by the Chyulu Hills Conservation Trust, a unique coalition of government, community and non-profit partners including the Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, Big Life Foundation, and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Conservation International will continue to serve as a technical advisor and help market the credits to corporations and inviduals.

“This project creates two very significant opportunities, simultaneously: It paves the way for ecosystem-scale conservation efforts to finally grow beyond perpetual dependency on philanthropic grant funding and finally be underwritten sustainably and long-term by cutting edge market economic models,” said Edward Norton, United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity and President Maasai Wilderness Conservation Fund. And in parallel, it offers not just responsible companies, but also individuals, a way to offset their carbon footprint with an unprecedented level of credibility and confidence. I’d like to see every one of these credits sold to some great, progressive companies and a grassroots army of people committed to addressing this global challenge who refuse to wait on politicians and know we have to act in ways like this that don’t require permission.”

“Rarely does a project protect critical natural habitats and species, support vibrant human communities, and measurably address climate change, but the Chyulu Hills carbon offset program does all of that and more,” said Terry Taminen, CEO Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and former Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency. “I applaud all of the partners who made this great project possible and, if others follow in their footsteps throughout Africa and worldwide, there is real hope that we can address our shared climate change and sustainability challenges before it’s too late.”

This initiative builds on the success of REDD+, a climate change mitigation framework that incentivizes landowners to protect forests and natural resources. The project has completed its first verification in accordance with the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCBS).

About Conservation International
Conservation International (CI) uses science, policy and partnerships to protect the nature people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 30 countries on six continents to ensure a healthy, prosperous planet that supports us all. Learn more about CI and its groundbreaking “Nature Is Speaking” campaign, and follow CI’s work on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

About Chyulu Hills Conservation Trust
The Chyulu Hills Conservation Trust oversees the Chyulu Hills REDD+ Project, a multi-partner, community-led initiative designed to promote climate change mitigation and adaptation, restore biodiversity and create alternative livelihoods by limiting deforestation. Trust members include four indigenous Maasai community groups, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service and three leading Kenyan conservation NGOs: Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, Big Life Foundation, and David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.