Plan Vivo

Project title

Setting standards for community land use and forestry programmes

Project Teaser

Plan Vivo provides an accessible certification scheme for smallholder- and community-based projects focused on sustainable land use, allowing them to be financed via payments for ecosystem services (PES) programmes.

The Plan Vivo Standard is a tried and tested certification framework for projects supporting the rural poor with natural resource management, using payments for ecosystem services. It includes requirements and processes to ensure Plan Vivo projects benefit livelihoods, ecosystems and provide ethical and fairly traded climate services.

The Plan Vivo Standard certifies the implementation of project activities that enhance ecosystem services and allow communities to formally recognise and quantify carbon sequestration, biodiversity or watershed protection.

Active countries

Key Figures

Project Results

81'000ha of land covered. Reduction of 2.2 million tonnes of CO2 in emissions since 1997, with over 10'000 participating smallholders.

Vegetation type

Mixed, depending on project, but with an emphasis on native or naturalised species.

Climate conditions

Variable, depending on country and project.

Funding Sources

Funding Government
Funding Internal
Funding Religious groups
Funding International Aid
Funding Private Sponsoring
Funding Inhabitants


Plan Vivo Foundation
+44 (0)131 243 2782
Contact E-mail
Thorn House 5 Rose Street
Postal code
United Kingdom


The Plan Vivo Foundation is an international charity based in Edinburgh which administers the Plan Vivo Standard, a Standard for Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) specifically aimed at rural smallholders and communities that wish to manage their land and natural resources more sustainably. The Standard has a specific focus on forest carbon projects. In the Plan Vivo model, communities take a leading role in the production and implementation of their own land management plan – the “plan vivo” – according to their needs and priorities. Community-led natural resource management plans are the basis for developing a Payment for Ecosystem Services Agreement (PES Agreement) with a project coordinator, usually an established non-governmental organisation or a grassroots organisation with community support. The Plan Vivo Standard certifies the implementation of project activities that restore and enhance ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, biodiversity or watershed protection, while increasing the resilience of rural livelihoods in an ethical and fair way. Activities covered by the Standard include avoided deforestation, reforestation, afforestation and agroforestry, with an emphasis on restoring and protecting native forest and reintroducing native species in degraded areas. As part of the process, the effects from these projects are formally recognised and quantified. Based on successful certification, communities can generate ‘Plan Vivo Certificates’ and finance conservation and livelihood activities by selling certificates on environmental markets. The Plan Vivo Standard is the longest-standing voluntary carbon standard, dating back to the pilot project Scolel’te in 1997. Since then, the Plan Vivo system has continued to evolve and today counts with 15 registered projects and 41 pipeline projects spanning Africa, Asia and Latin America. Efforts by over 10,000 participating smallholders and 416 community groups have resulted in emissions reductions of over 2.2 million tonnes of CO2.

Partnerships & Collaborations

sustinova logo

Sustinova is a non-profit organisation based in Zurich, Switzerland, and devoted to promoting Sustainability in the NGO area.

As a partner, Sustinova provides operational support to Reforestation World in its public activities.

ETH Zurich - Chair of Ecosystem Management

The Chair of Ecosystem management at the ETH Zürich organised the Latsis Symposium ETH 2018 “Scaling-up forest Restoration”, on June 6-7 & 9, 2018.

Reforestation World collaborated with the link to NGOs, practitioners and others stakeholders in the field of forest restoration.