Ecuador signed a deal on Tuesday creating a trust fund to hold donations from Germany and other rich nations willing to pay the Andean country to refrain from drilling for oil in an Amazon wildlife reserve.
The plan, drawn up with the United Nations, applies to a 675-square-mile part of Yasuni National Park called the ITT section. Keeping oil firms out of the area would avoid dumping 410 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air, Ecuador says.
"This is a Ecuador's contribution toward combating climate change," Minister of Heritage Maria Espinosa told reporters.
Oil is Ecuador's chief export. The country holds the rotating presidency of OPEC this year.
Yasuni National Park, in the Amazon, is home to more species of wildlife than any other place on earth -- it has more different tree types than exist in all of North America, plus a huge variety of monkeys, birds and other wildlife, scientists say.
The government is ...