For the farming communities who make up 80% of Timor-Leste’s population, deforestation poses a real threat to their rural livelihoods. Reforestation offers a way to combat land degradation and adapt to climate change with more resilient landscapes and incomes. But with the payback from traditional industries like timber too small and too slow to encourage planting, what are the alternatives? We are working with Timor-Leste’s first internationally-certified carbon farming programme on the technology to make reforestation pay.
A community solution to a community issue
Developed by the xPand Foundation, WithOneSeed is a community-driven tree planting programme. Village-based nurseries propagate seedlings that are planted by subsistence farmers. Those farmers receive an annual incentive payment for planting, managing and maintaining forest trees on their land. The money that pays for those incentives comes from carbon credit sales. But how can the farmers and programme administrators verify that the trees are planted and who planted them?
215,934 Trees planted up to 2020
81,120tonnesCarbon sequestered by 2020
Mapping the forest with an app and 'smart' nails
WithOneSeed found the answer in an easy-to-use technology platform. TreeO2 manages an inventory of all trees in the programme. On the ground, TreeO2 is updated by a RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) nail that is attached to every tree planted. A mobile application can then scan the nail, capturing important information such as the tree species, circumference, growth rate and GPS location. Vitally, it confirms the tree is planted and allows WithOneSeed to credit the person who planted it on their database of participating farmers.
The WithOneSeed community forestry program is a clever approach of combining action to address the environmental impact of deforestation and climate change, with building village based economies in Timor-Leste through international carbon markets. The contribution from the ARUP team has assisted with our thinking in how to take the TreeO2 platform to a global market. ” Andrew Mahar Co-founder, WithOneSeed
Putting in place the science to scale
To secure the buy-in from the stakeholders and investors needed to grow the scheme across Timor-Leste and beyond, WithOneSeed needed a clear statement of TreeO2’s technical capability. Our Advanced Digital Engineering team reviewed and captured the technical architecture of the platform and developed comprehensive software documentation for the app. Our business analysts brought that same clarity to the commercial case, reviewing the work done to date and endorsing WithOneSeed’s strategy.
‘WithOneSeed’ - where global change starts
Globally, deforestation is a major cause of climate change and poverty. Subsistence economies like Timor-Leste’s are particularly at risk. In its name, ‘WithOneSeed’ captures the simple truth that addressing these global threats can start with one act: with one farmer planting one more tree.
The project that has grown from that idea supports our commitment to the UN’s Sustainability Goals: to building village economies; to alleviating poverty and hunger; to sustainable agriculture and the mitigation of climate change.
So far, TreeO2 has seen over US$250,000 paid to 950+ subsistence farmers for the management of over 215,000 trees. To date this simple ‘app and nail’ technology has helped sequester 81,120 tonnes of carbon.