Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Chapter

ISTF Innovation Prize - Forest Finance edition

2014 Winner:

Fundacion Madera Verde and the Green Broker Network of Honduras

The 20th annual conference of the Yale Chapter of International Society of Tropical Foresters concluded Saturday with an inspiring message from a Honduran community leader: Even in a land of drugs, violence, and deforestation, sustainable forests and livelihoods are possible.

The Concept

The Yale ISTF chapter is offering its first ever Innovation Prize for outstanding ideas and concepts in financing of tropical forest conservation. The $5,000 prize, sponsored by the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, will reward excellent project ideas from researchers and local groups from the tropics. The Innovation Prize will be awarded at the 20th Annual Yale ISTF conference at the Yale School of Forestry.


Inspired on the conference’s theme “Forest as Capital: Top-down and bottom-up finance approaches to conserve tropical forests”, the ISTF Forest Finance Innovation Prize aims to bring to attention practical and strategic finance initiatives designed to conserve tropical forest ecosystems and that answer either (but not limited to) of the following:

  • What tools can transform traditional donor-backed conservation to financially sustainable conservation and livelihoods?
  • What are practical methods that can be incorporated into private investment in the tropics (agricultural commodities, mining, timber extraction, etc.) that can ensure permanent conservation value?
  •  How can sustainably-sourced forest products find markets in their country of origin and not be dependent on export?


  • Project must be implementable and address an issue of forest conservation in the tropics.
  • Project will be judged on originality, potential of environmental impact, social inclusiveness and respect, and economic soundness.
  • The project must have a local institution involved (ex: project developer, implementer, sponsor, collaborators).
  • Project team needs to show they are qualified to execute the project and/or have identified potential collaborators; multidisciplinary project teams are encouraged.
  • Preliminary field testing or pilot studies are encouraged.
  • Exceptional projects in vision but less developed in practice will be recognized in a separate award category (but may not eligible for travel and prize money).


Testing the Effectiveness of Payment for Ecosystem Services to Enhance Conservation in Productive Landscapes; The Albertine Rift, Western Uganda

Chimpanzee Sanctuary & Wildlife Conservation Trust - Uganda

Leveraging international development funds and using a randomized evaluation approach with vigorous monitoring surveys and satellite imagery to determine impact of cash payments in exchange for contractual obligations of forest conservation.

Brooklyn Bridge Forest

Pilot Projects Design Collective - US and Guatemala

Brooklyn Bridge Forest is a proposal to link New York City with a tropical forest community in a partnership that will procure sustainably sourced wood needed to renovate the historic boardwalk on the Brooklyn Bridge, while generating long-term funding for forest protection and community benefits in Uaxactún, Guatemala.

Strategic Financing Initiatives - Increasing Financial Flows to Locally Controlled Forestry through a Land Lease Model and Multiple Products

Planting Empowerment  - Panama

Planting Empowerment manages a complex mix of multiple products, species, and financial sources to facilitate increased financial flows to locally controlled forestry. It combines polyculture agroforestry plantations with a land lease model that generates increased social, environmental, and economic benefits for its land partners and other stakeholders.

The Green Broker Network

Greenwood and Fundacion Madera Verde - Honduras and US

The “Green Broker” network combines value-added woodworking, excellent forest management, transparent and equitable financial relationships, and dependable chain-of-custody management, to deliver sustainable economic development to tropical forest communities in Honduras.

                                                                                            Innovation Prize Judges

Peter Pinchot

Senior Fellow, Pinchot Institute for Conservation,
President, EcoMadera, Ecuador

Heather Wright

Program Officer,
Environmental Conservation,
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Shawn Sabin

Andrew Sabin Family Foundation

Roberto Waack

Amata Forest Company, Brazil

Brad Gentry

Professor, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Director of Research - Private Investment and the Environment

Michael Jenkins

President and CEO,
Forest Trends