A new online platform that aims to stem deforestation worldwide by connecting people who can plant trees with investors has been launched by the World Resources Institute (WRI).
TerraMatch aims to boost efforts to protect forests and plant trees, critical tactics in the fight against climate change and land degradation, according to WRI.
Big businesses and governments have pledged to plant trees and invest more in forest conservation in recent years, but connecting them with non-profits and local farming cooperatives who plant trees in countries with swathes of tropical forests has been difficult, they said.
TerraMatch, a platform and mobile app, aims to link financiers to tree planters in key countries like Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Aaron Minnick, manager of the TerraMatch platform, said: “We know that people running the projects, the local experts who know how to grow trees the right way, aren’t connected with funders who have earmarked these billions of dollar to restore land.”
The platform’s algorithm pairs funders’ preferences with vetted projects that “get the right trees in the ground, the right way”.
More than 110 organisations from 40 countries have so far registered on the platform, which is designed to act as a “clearinghouse and matchmaker”.
TerraMatch will start work in Malawi, where the government said its forest department is working with youth groups to help restore degraded land and protect forests.
Tangu Tumeo, the Malawi government’s principal forestry officer, said: “TerraMatch will help us connect with sustainable sources of private finance that can scale up this work and create jobs, build strong rural economies.”
Trees take decades to grow, and the right species must be planted in the appropriate landscape, then monitored and maintained for years. Involving communities on the ground is key to maintaining the trees.
By matching funders with local non-profits and farming cooperatives who have a track record in tree planting and monitoring, WRI said it hopes to ensure trees will survive decades after they have been planted.
Aaron Minnick added: “We know that when local people feel ownership over the trees they help grow, these trees are more likely to stay in the ground and survive for decades.”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com