The CommuniTree Carbon Program from Taking Root uses reforestation as a tool to improve the livelihoods of smallholder-farming families in Nicaragua, restore ecosystems and mitigate climate change impacts. With its bottom-up approach, Taking Root has involved hundreds of farming families from several communities and planted more than 19 million trees since 2010.
This is achieved by encouraging farmers to reforest the under-utilized parts of their farms with native tree species, which are naturally more resistant to droughts. In exchange for keeping the trees growing and sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, the farmers receive direct payments over a 10-year period, from the sale of the corresponding carbon credits. These carbon sequestration services are marketed by Taking Root and sold directly within Canada and through channel partnerships in Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, England, the USA and Spain. This approach also provides extra ongoing benefits and security to the landowners.
To optimise the growth of the densely planted trees, some have to be extracted as they grow and can be sold as sustainably produced timber. Together with other products from these managed forest plantations, it is possible to create an additional income source that complements the agricultural activities and helps farmers to cope with losses due, for example, from extreme weather conditions.
To create longer-term incentives and increase the number of participants, Taking Root also develops complementary projects and actions focused on community education, supporting producers and the creation of markets for products from sustainably managed forests. In addition, technologies for producing green charcoal or efficient use of wood as a fuel are implemented, thereby generating extra carbon credits and reducing the negative impacts and costs.
The CommuniTree Carbon Program is certified by the Plan Vivo Standard. Developed to certify sustainable land use systems in a way that is accessible to smallholder and community-based projects, it allows the projects to access international markets for the payment of ecosystem services (like carbon credits) and finance themselves.