About the project:
Deforestation spread throughout Nicaragua in the 1950s and 1960s, as plantations of cotton and other agricultural commodities expanded. Today, smallholder farmers own and operate the majority of the country’s farmland, much of which is available for reforestation. However, farmers often make less than $2 per day, so they need a way to grow trees that can also improve their livelihoods.
It was out of this problem that Taking Root’s CommuniTree Carbon Program was born. Founded in 2010 as a Plan Vivo carbon credit project, CommuniTree helps these same smallholder farmers reforest their land. Taking Root, an Initiative 20x20 partner, works with local project implementer APRODEIN to provide financial incentives, advisory services and market access to farmers to help them grow trees. Not only does the program restore forests on less productive land, but it also brings additional income to farmers while fighting climate change.
CommuniTree’s ecological impact relies on putting farmers first and building improved livelihoods. The forests that they grow along their food crops (and cattle) create value by providing high-quality products, like timber and shade-grown coffee. Since the project’s inception, over 13 million trees have been planted, helping distribute more than $9 million to farmers. The forests that farmers are growing are sequestering over 2.5 million tons of carbon, restoring more than 8,000 hectares of land. In 2019, it became the largest reforestation initiative in Nicaragua.
Taking Root has always held innovation at the heart of its work. The organization's technology platform makes it easy to manage, monitor, and report CommuniTree’s work. Using a combination of ground data collection, remote sensing, and machine learning algorithms, the platform automates forest and carbon reporting, providing carbon market access to smallholder farmers.
The United Nations has declared the 2021-2030 the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, and theCommuniTree Carbon Program intends to generate more impact than ever. In Nicaragua alone, Taking Root and its smallholder partners hope to restore 20,000 hectares of land by 2025.
Taking Root is also expanding its model to provide support and technology to other project implementers around the world to accelerate forest restoration at scale.