Promoting action to build resilient and sustainable island communities

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Money Continues to Grow on Trees in Yela...

MCT YELA Micronesia

On Saturday, September 01, 2018, William Kostka, Executive Director, Tamara Alefaio, Conservation Program Manager, of the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), and Ricky Carl, Director of External Affairs for The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Micronesia Program, met with the owners of the Yela Conservation Easement at Bulley’s restaurant in Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia.

Representing the landowners were former Vice-President and current FSM Senator, the Honorable Alik Alik, Chairman of the Yela Environment Landowners Authority (YELA), Lanson Alik, Executive Director Dr. Tholman Alik and several other landowners.

The purpose of the meeting was twofold:

1) to meet with the landowners to discuss how management of the Yela conservation easement is progressing, and to learn how MCT, TNC and other partners can continue to support the Yela landowners with their management efforts; and

2) to disburse annual dividends from the Yela Conservation Easement Endowment Fund to the ten (10) landowners.

A conservation easement is a public-private partnership that allows private landowners to put their land under a permanent conservation easement, an arrangement by which landowners forgo certain land development rights in exchange for annual payments – this program is supported by the US Forest Service.

In the case of Yela, it’s a partnership between the ten (10) landowners; the Kosrae Island Resource Management Authority (KIRMA) who owns the easement; the Micronesia Conservation Trust which is responsible for managing the endowment associated with the easement; The Nature Conservancy Micronesia Program and the US Forest Service, which provided technical assistance and financial support to establish the program and the endowment. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation provided the 25% matching requirement that secured the 75% grant from the US Forest Service.

Similar efforts are being discussed and studied in other parts of Micronesia.