Over $100 million in international donations means the Yasuní ITT Initiative, Ecuador’s plan to avoid drilling for oil beneath a pristine Amazonian rainforest, will go forward. The Yasuní project is designed to conserve one of Earth’s most biodiverse forests, above Yasuní National Park’s Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) oilfields, while preventing 410 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, ScienceInsider reported.
Yasuní-funded projects are planned to head off global warming in several ways—by preventing the destruction of rainforest and through reforestation projects (because forests will absorb CO2 already in the atmosphere, and the burning of fossil fuels (which would reduce CO2 emissions). By conserving part of Ecuador’s rainforest, the initiative would also preserve the livelihoods and territory of two isolated indigenous tribes.
The Yasuní ITT Initiative relies on annual donations world-wide, and the recent $100 million means the project is on track for now. And the project now has a new goal of raising $219 billion in the next 2 years. Oil currently dominates Ecuador’s export revenue, and environmental observers hope that Yasuní could be one step toward helping wean Ecuador off its reliance on oil.