The US has become the first country to pledge money backing the Prince of Wales’s short-term fund to protect the world’s tropical rainforests.

The US$275m pledge, announced by the US Ambassador in London, Louis Susman, would form part of a fund to pay tropical countries not to cut down their forests, but preserve them as natural habitats and carbon stores.

Greenpeace said the move put pressure on the UK to also make a financial pledge.

UK energy and environment secretary Ed Milliband has hinted that the government may make an announcement at or around the UN Copenhagen climate change conference in December.

Prince Charles convened a meeting of world leaders in April to create a working group to raise immediate funds to address tropical deforestation while the UN thrashed out issues on its programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) – which would involve paying tropical countries to preserve their forests.