WWF Podcast Nature Breaking

A tree in the Amazon rain forest stretches up toward the sun

This US Law Has Been Protecting Tropical Forests for 25 Years

  • Date: 19 March 2024

Today’s episode marks International Day of Forests (March 21) by celebrating the 25th anniversary of a little-known but important US law: the Tropical Forest and Coral Reef Conservation Act, or TFCCA. At its core, the TFCCA was designed to facilitate debt-for-nature swaps, which enable developing countries to restructure the debt they owe to the US in a way that relieves their financial burden in exchange for redirecting a portion of the funds toward conservation. These swaps were conceptualized in the 1980s by Dr. Tom Lovejoy, WWF’s first chief scientist, and proved to be remarkably successful and popular. 



Today’s episode features a conversation with Esteban Brenes, WWF’s senior director for conservation finance, about the history of debt-for-nature swaps (2:18), how conservation funds get disbursed under the TFCCA (4:25), and some examples of specific debt-for-nature swaps that have delivered results (8:01). Esteban also shares some lessons learned from the last 25 years of implementing this law, and how those lessons can be applied going forward (14:30).



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