Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the allowable activities within the Conservation Area?
Permitted activities within core protected areas include the rehabilitation of degraded areas by eradication of invasive species (e.g. Imperata grasses), the planting of indigenous pioneer species and native species with the intention to restore the area to its near-natural habitat for long-term conservation. Also traditional uses by indigenous populations, eco-tourism and most non-wood forest products are acceptable.

2. What are potential activities supported within the Commercial Buffer Zone?
Activities beneficial to the local communities and that do not constitute a risk to the conservation area or to social values. Possible activities are agroforestry, small-scale community driven plantations, cash-crops, renewable energy production, sustainable infrastructure development and other land uses that are in line with principles and criteria of the GCS.

3. Am I actually conserving the natural habitat by purchasing Conservation Credit Units?
Yes, CCUs are increasing the value of the natural habitat. The landowners receive a direct benefit, and local populations are benefiting from the commercial buffer zone activities. By purchasing CCUs, there is a direct effect on the restoration or rehabilitation of the natural environment.

4. What are Conservation Credit Units?
Units to measure the volume of ecosystem service conservation directly related to project activity. CCUs are scientifically sound and valid for one-year.

5. How are Conservation Credit Units calculated?
CCUs are based on the ecosystem service methodology to which the conservation area is approved. The first approved methodology equates one CCU to one ton of CO2 equivalent in above-ground vegetation. This quantification stands for the totality of ecosystem services, like biodiversity, freshwater availability, nutrient cycles, etc. Further methodologies able to reliably quantify these or other ecosystem services over time are always welcome for consideration.

6. For how long will the areas remain protected?

In order to ensure permanent conservation, GCS Conservation contracts run over a minimum period of 30 years. In cases where this timeframe is legally not feasible, the maximum legal timeframe will apply, with the provision that 5 years before expiry, the contract shall be renewed. CCUs are sold on an annual basis for the duration of the project timeframe. Buyers may commit for timeframes below 30 years.