Poor country in need of cash? Sell forests to trade off pollution.

Bolivia is one of Latin America poorest countries and is looking for a way of improving its economy. Instead of dirty mining or cutting wood, a report written by Andrea Urioste states that Bolivia could sell oxygen. While this may sound like they'd need buyers who are also interested in oceanfront property in Kansas, what we're talking about here is selling the "protection and conservation" of its natural forests.

According to Ms. Urioste, Bolivia could be paid money to preserve forest environments. She proposes a scheme in which rich countries would pay money in exchange for the right to emit more carbon. It's like TerraPass for nations.

In a recent report by the World Bank, keeping 1 ha (2.47 acres) as forest rather than razing it could be worth something between $1,500 and $10,000. If you think it isn't such an important figure, bear in mind that the same report said that 1 ha of soy allows income of about $1,500, while 1 ha dedicated to cattle pays $500 pack and 1 ha of coca, from $250 to $400. I guess trees are the answer.

[Source: PNUMA via Agroinformación]

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