Preserving the world's most extraordinary natural features might seem like a no-brainer, but it is never as easy as it should be, or as cheap. But a unique new program hopes to jumpstart conservation efforts at the seven preserves featured here with a paltry $2 million. (How paltry is $2 million? U.S. national parks have a deferred maintenance backlog of $8 billion.) The idea: finance community-based entrepreneurs who have ideas to preserve the landscape, employ fellow third-world citizens -- and make a profit. Examples of eligible businesses include sustainable agriculture, ecotourism services and harvest of forest products such as oils, nuts and fibers. Here's a look at the seven sites that will share in the program, developed by the United Nations Development Program, the U.N. Foundation and Conservation International.
Mount Kenya is Africa's second-tallest peak, at 17,000 feet. The extinct volcano supports 12 glaciers (all rapidly receding), a bamboo forest, buffalo, elephants, leopards and giant forest hogs. Four secondary peaks sitting at the head of a forested U-shaped valley make this "one of the most impressive landscapes in East Africa," according to its UNESCO World Heritage site description.