The Challenge: Tropical Deforestation
Tropical deforestation is a major contributor to climate change. This is because trees are made up of 50% carbon. When trees are cut down, that carbon is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary contributor to climate change. Through this process, deforestation releases more CO2 than the global contribution of all the world’s cars, planes and trains combined.
The root cause of deforestation is people clearing land to grow food or earn an income, usually in the poorest parts of the world. Local poverty drives local deforestation and local deforestation drives global climate change.
As a result, the solution to the problem is not as simple as planting new trees. Planting new trees without addressing people’s need to earn an income will not work. Unfortunately, because this is commonly overlooked, hundreds of millions of dollars are wasted on tree planting projects that rarely survive after the first year.
The Solution: Reforestation that Provides an Income
Taking Root works in partnership with farmers in some of the poorest parts of the world to reforest their own land in a way that provides them with an income.
This is done by providing them with:
- access to markets for the goods and services produced by their trees (e.g. carbon sequestration services)
- training on how to grow productive and healthy trees
- cash payments over time based on the growth of their trees.
Every participating farmer selects from several carefully crafted pre-approved planting designs based on the unique circumstances of their family and farm. Each design consists of a variety of native tree species that mitigate climate change, improve livelihoods and restores ecosystems. Each farm is mapped out to make sure that trees never displace agricultural production.
Taking Root guarantees that every farm reforested stays reforested. The exact location of each farm reforested is pinpointed using GPS technology and made visible on Google Maps where you can see which farmer planted how many trees. The work is independently third party certified by the Plan Vivo Standard. Taking Root then monitors the reforested farms annually to make sure that the trees are growing according to schedule. Using this information, payments to farmers are calculated and any tree mortality is replanted. The results of all the monitoring and payments to farmers made publicly available in Taking Root’s annual reports. Furthermore, social and environmental impact indicators are updated and made public every three months.