The forest could not rely on donor funding to survive, so it had to look elsewhere for finance. The centre’s first job was to identify the forest’s assets and to exploit them. It seems to have perfected its art. Today the centre makes money in areas such as ecotourism, timber-extraction, forest-products such as honey and oils, bio-prospecting and forestry research. Its results for 2008 reveal that it made a surplus for the first time that year, with revenues of $2.4m and a profit of $800,000. The previous year it had lost $200,000. Revenues from timber were up by 44%, ecotourism by 26% and training by 22%.
There should be more money to come. Eighteen months ago, it sold a licence for the measurement and valuation of the forest’s “ecosystem services”. This is not to say that the forest has actually sold these rights, but that an investment company, Canopy Capital, based in London, has bought the rights to create a financial deal for the forest’s services.