Amazon Allocating US$15 Million For Nature-Based Projects in Asia-Pacific

Amazon’s Right Now Climate Fund will invest an initial US$3 million into India-based projects, beginning with a first project to plant 300,000 trees in the Western Ghats.

The US$100 million Right Now Climate Fund was established in 2019 to support projects that enhance climate resilience and biodiversity while driving social benefits in the communities where Amazon operates.

“The Asia-Pacific region is home to vast forests and rich coastal environments, but it is also highly vulnerable to climate change, biodiversity loss, and land degradation,” said Kara Hurst, Amazon’s Global VP for Sustainability.

“To protect the region from the impacts of climate change and preserve biodiversity, we will need both large-scale and local action – and we’re committed to investing in both.”

In a statement, Amazon said the first US$3 million from the fund’s APAC allocation will support nature-based projects in India. Amazon will partner with the Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS) to plant 300,000 trees in the Western Ghats over three years, creating carbon sinks as well as enhancing livelihoods and wildlife conservation.

Self-Sustaining

The Western Ghats is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s home to more than 30% of India’s wildlife species, including the world’s largest population of wild Asian elephants and tigers.

Amazon added it will spend US$1 million to help CWS establish the “Wild Carbon” program, which will support 10,000 farmers in planting and maintaining one million fruit-bearing, timber, and medicinal trees.

“We have designed the Wild Carbon program with an unwavering commitment to wildlife conservation, and also poverty alleviation through livelihood support. By partnering with and incentivising farmers to be part of the solution, we will be able to facilitate buffer habitats for tigers, elephants, and other endangered species,” said CWS Executive Director Dr. Krithi Karanth.

Amazon’s contribution will also enable CWS to partner with 2,000 family farms. This will reduce human-wildlife conflict by creating natural buffer zones. The initiative will also provide farmers access to high-value trees compared to other subsistence crops.

In addition, CWS will use project funds to develop state-of-the-art monitoring systems using drone and remote sensing technology and on-the-ground surveys to verify program outcomes, advancing research on the potential positive impact of farmers on reforestation opportunities.

“Amazon’s support enables us to plan and build a program that is self-sustaining in the long term. The farmers will receive upfront support to select tree types that serve both their livelihoods and the wildlife, whilst also receiving technical assistance, agroforestry training, and support for replanting failed saplings,” added Dr. Karanth.