ISTF Forest Finance Innovation Prize

November 12 - November 17, 2013 Host Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies New Haven, Connecticut United States

The Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies’ International Society of Tropical Foresters (ISTF) is delighted to invite youto participate in our 1st Annual ISTF Innovation Prize: The Forest Finance Innovation Prize. The prize contest will take place at the 20th Annual ISTF Conference at Yale School of Forestry &Environmental Studies, to be held on January 30, 2014 - February 1, 2014.


Inspired on the conference’s theme “Forest as Capital: Top-­down and bottom-up finance approaches to conserve tropical forests”, the ISTF Forest Finance Innovation Prize aims to bring to attention practical and strategic finance initiatives designed to conserve tropical forest ecosystems and that answer either (but not limited to) of the following:

  • What tools can transform traditional donor-­backed conservation to financially sustainable conservation and livelihoods?
  • What are practical methods that can be incorporated into private investment in the tropics (agricultural commodities, mining, timber extraction, etc.) that can ensure permanent conservation value?
  • How can sustainably-­sourced forest products find markets in their country of origin and not be dependent on export?


  • Project must be implementable and address an issue of forest conservation in the tropics.
  • Project will be judged on originality, potential of environmental impact, social inclusiveness and respect, and economic soundness.
  • The project must have a local institution involved (ex: project developer, implementer, sponsor, collaborators).
  • Project team needs to show they are qualified to execute the project and/or have identified potential collaborators; multidisciplinary project teams are encouraged.
  • Preliminary field testing or pilot studies are encouraged.
  • Exceptional projects in vision but less developed in practice will be recognized in a separate award category (but may not eligible for travel and prize money).

Forest Conservation initiatives in any stage of development, from any sector, (academia, non-­profit, business, governmental) scale, and tropical region are eligible. A local institution from the region of project implementation must be involved.

Selection and award

Projects will be judged by a review panel consisting of representatives of foundation donors, project investors and developers, environmental economics experts, applied researchers, and financial consultants, together with the ISTF team. The committee will select 3 finalists to present their initiatives at the ISTF Conference at Yale, with conference fees, transportation, and lodging costs covered. Finalists must be at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies from January 31 to February 1. The winning proposal will be announced during the conference awards ceremony on February 1 and awarded with a monetary prize of US$5,000, generously provided by the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation.

To apply:

  • Submit a concept note with the following information:
    a. Proponent(s)’ name(s), affiliation(s), address, telephone, and email address
    b. 1 paragraph abstract
    c. Problem statement
    d. Project’s localization
    e. Description of proposed forest finance initiative, with no more than 2 (two) pages Send concept note electronically by Friday, November 177, 2013 to:


November 17, 2013: Deadline for submissions of concept note
November 27, 2013: Announcement of 3 finalists
November 27 to December 5, 2013: Finalists travel arrangements
January 31, 2014: Finalists oral presentation
February 1, 2014: Winner announcement and awards

Contact information:

Desirée Lopes at
Matthew Bare at



Read more about the competition here

April 2018