"Local communities'' is too generalized as a monolith, when they are in fact, a group of individuals. Sure, some of them love the forest and want it pristine, while others might see it as land that could be used differently. We cannot and will not judge their individual ambitions, nor will we ever tell them what to do on their own land. We are successful only when local people decide freely that our business case is the best one for the land at stake. We set up our model in two steps.
The first step is working with people living on the land to actually get full rights to their respective parts. This is crucial. A lot of local communities either don't exist in the eyes of the law, or have limited rights because the land they live on is not registered as theirs. Their presence is uncertain in the rainforest, which makes them vulnerable to land grabbing, conflicts and violence.
The second step of our work with communities is clear communication. We realize that for a lot of these communities, we could potentially be one in a long line of companies that promise them something, but leave things behind worse than they were. So, building trust is our first goal and for that we strive for clear and honest communication. This ranges from how and if any individuals from the communities want to be involved in conservation with Forestbase, what their expectations are, and so on.
Getting to a truly sustainable economy will probably take at least 100-150 years. That means we do not plan for short lived conservation projects. We designed the Forestbase model to be intergenerational, and we cannot succeed without the trust and cooperation of the communities.
Like the rest of the world, complex social, political and cultural differences exist within and between the communities and other stakeholders that are involved in tropical forests. While we are not a neutral party (our conservation model will be our agenda). Unless we are directly involved, we do not manage, design or interfere in these interactions.
Our goal is to set up a revenue stream for locals via the offset markets and proving the business case for a standing forest. This should stabilize any ambitions towards land transformation. We only need to set up such a structure a few times in a certain country. Our mission is not to own all forests, but to increase their global price point. That makes us a precedent case builder and our methods will be transparent for any local communities and governments to set up similar mechanisms.