The inaugural investment by the Althelia Climate Fund was made in February 2014 to the Taita Hills Conservation and Sustainable Land Use Project in south eastern Kenya.
The project, implemented by Wildlife Works, will operate at a landscape level to combine forest conservation with community development and job creation, protecting standing forest and grasslands through improved agriculture and agroforestry, sustainable charcoal production, and better grasslands management.
Working in close partnership with local landowners and community organisations, Wildlife Works has previously designed, implemented, and currently operates, two existing REDD+ projects validated to the Verified Carbon Standard’s (VCS) AFOLUi protocols and Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards in the adjacent Kasigau Corridor. These activities currently span more than 225,000 hectares connecting Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks and bring benefits from carbon finance to more than 100,000 local landowners and community members. The initial phase of this pioneering scheme was the first REDD+ project in the world to receive issuance of carbon credits and the second was designated the first VCS REDD+ mega-project.
The Taita Hills Conservation and Sustainable Land Use Project is expected to cover an additional 200,000 hectares of natural forest and savannah grassland ecosystems adjacent to Wildlife Works’ existing REDD+ sites. Althelia’s investment of approximately US$10 million spread over 8 years will draw leverage from the neighbouring projects to enable the creation of this third area. The investment represents an important step towards terrestrial carbon accounting at a jurisdictional scale, whilst empowering sustainable economic development of rural communities in the area. At the same time, it will also enable further dispersal and migration of threatened wildlife throughout the Tsavo Conservation Area, significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through the avoidance of deforestation and degradation and will facilitate the regeneration of already degraded areas.