Green Banks: Paying Countries to Keep their Trees

Margo Burnham

Researchers help determine how much carbon the forest contains by measuring and weighing sample trees

Right now in Noel Kempff Mercado National Park, a day's drive over rutted tracks northeast of the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz, they're counting the trees. Members of nearby indigenous communities, with help from the Bolivian green group Friends of Nature Foundation (FAN) and the American nonprofit the Nature Conservancy (TNC), have fanned out across the Noel Kempff's 4.2 million acres (1.7 million ha), which range from Amazon rain forest to dry savanna. In the footsteps of howler monkeys and endangered black jaguars, they follow mapped plots in the forest, drive stakes into the ground and measure out circles with diameters...