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The ECOTRUST Bio-Credits Program

The ECOTRUST Bio-Credits Project

2023 – 2025


Biodiversity is degrading at alarming rates and people living in biodiversity-rich areas often bear the heaviest costs of biodiversity loss and inequitable conservation efforts. Biodiversity credits – or biocredits – are emerging as a tradeable unit of biodiversity that can incentivise nature conservation and restoration to benefit marginalized groups living with nature.

As a purely positive investment in nature, biocredits are distinct and preferred to biodiversity offsets, which can cause net damage to biodiversity. Demand for biocredits is growing among private investors, individuals and governments, who want to invest in conservation and restoration of biodiversity. Biocredits designed, governed and/or supplied by Indigenous Peoples and local communities can create an innovative way to fund locally-led action.

This Darwin-funded project will work with ECOTRUST and communities in the Northern Albertine Rift in Uganda, with Tondwa Conservation Ltd and Conserve Global in the Tondwa Game Management Area in Zambia and with biocredit developers, Value Nature, to pilot schemes for the sale of credits to finance community-led conservation to protect and restore biodiversity as well as reduce poverty through improving livelihoods based on the same.

Project Overview

The project’s primary objective is to enhance biodiversity conservation, adaptive capacity, and mitigation potential to address climate change, while also improving and sustaining community livelihoods and well-being. It seeks to achieve this by developing biodiversity credits as incentives for conservation, promoting ecosystem preservation, and supporting local community prosperity.

Focusing on local forest communities and private forest owners, the project targets the restoration of critical ecosystems in Uganda’s Northern Albertine Region, essential for biodiversity conservation. Key activities include stakeholder engagement through community consultations, biodiversity assessments, and the development of a bio-credits framework tailored to the local context. In addition, capacity building efforts will empower communities to actively participate in and benefit from conservation initiatives.

By fostering collaborative partnerships with local organizations, government agencies, and international conservation bodies, the ECOTRUST Biocredits Project aims to catalyze transformative change in conservation practices. Through these efforts, it endeavors to pave the way for sustainable development and long-term biodiversity conservation in Uganda.

Theory of Change

  • Community Engagement Processes (TGB, CCA)
  • Eco-system Profiling.
  • Technical Specifications
  • Farmer Monitoring
  • BD-M&E, MRVS
  • Communal Land Associations
  • Leases
  • Collaborative Forest Management
  • Land trusts
  • Connectivity Linkages
  • Benefit sharing mechanisms.
  • Biodiversity Incentive schemes (Biocredits, tCO2 Credits, CCF)
  • Renewable Energy & Smart Technologies,
  • Policy Engagement
  • Farmer Capacity Building Programs
  • Community-led low-key monitoring program.
  • Community Awareness Program
  • Farmers’ Voice Radio
  • Land Acquisition for increased tree growing by communities.
  • Eco-system restoration
  • Conservation Investments
  • Land Trusteeships and Conservancies Established.
  • Corridor restoration programs supported and scaled out.
  • Reduced demand for wood / forestry products.
  • Increased access & benefits from PAs.
  • Direct policy engagements & contribution to key processes.
  • Increased awareness on biodiversity conservation.
  • Biodiversity Conservation Capacity Built.
  • Biodiversity Enhanced
  • Landscape Diversity & Ecosystem Integrity Protected.
  • Biodiversity based livelihoods & wellbeing improved.
  • Local Knowledge and Innovation enhanced
  • Enhanced Biodiversity Conservation, adaptive capacity and mitigation potential to Climate Change and improved and sustainable community livelihoods & wellbeing.



Hoima Distrist, Uganda – 19th – 21st June 2023

The workshop convened partner organizations to lay the groundwork for the 3-year biocredits project, aiming to finance sustainable conservation and development. Spanning five days, participants from ECOTRUST, IIED, ValueNature, and Tondwa Conservation actively participated in interactive sessions. The objective was to strategize the implementation of the Biocredits project and its potential impact on biodiversity conservation, community livelihoods, and ecosystem services.


  • Implementation Roadmap established with roles and responsibilities of the different actors.
  • Community Engagement methodologies established.
  • Monitoring & Evaluation tools & protocols established.

Hoima, Masindi Distrists, Uganda – Oct – Dec 2023 

Conducted engagement meetings with communities in the Murchison Landscape to raise awareness about the project and discuss expectations.


  • The project was introduced to members of Ongo Communal Land Association in the Murchison Falls Landscape.
  • An analysis of community visions was conducted, emphasizing the role of biodiversity resources in achieving their visions.
  • The roles of the communities in implementation of the project were discussed.

Hoima, Masindi Districts, Uganda – Oct – Dec 2023

Conducted a pilot Capacity Building Workshop for Ongo Community in Masindi District focusing on the Community-based Biodiversity Monitoring Programme. This was based on the natural resource benefits for the community from their forest and how they are to monitor them and restore and conserve them as part of the Biocredits project.

This training started with the training of trainers who are staff-based in the Hoima-Masindi Landscape. These are the pioneers and will be training the other communities as part of the upscaling programme.


  • Trained the Trainers for the Community-based Biodiversity Monitoring Programme
  • Conducted training for Ongo Communal Land Association in Community-based Biodiversity Monitoring.
  • Jointly developed a community biodiversity monitoring plan for Ongo CLA
  • Developed a training manual for the community—based Monitoring Programme, complete with methods and tools to guide future trainings.



The ECOTRUST Bird Book

Download the ECOTRUST curated guide to the birds of the Budongo-Bugoma-Wambabya forest corridor in Uganda’s North Albertine Rift region using the link below.