Frequently Asked Questions

It’s wonderful to hear you want to join the forest restoration movement! If you’d like to become a partner, please get in touch with us via the contact page or write to sponsorship@weforest.org. Don’t forget to share your estimated budget and let us know if you plan a one-time or recurring contribution. Reforestation is a long-term enterprise, and benefits from long-term commitments!

Sponsors are invoiced (with VAT) for their contribution and can therefore benefit from a personalised webpage on our website.
Donors make a charitable gift that can be tax-deductible. Donor logos can be featured on our website, but donors don’t receive a personalised webpage.

You can donate from anywhere: your donations will, however, only be tax-deductible in some countries. Please check our website for further information on donations.

1 trillion trees around the globe within the decade would be a huge step to mitigate climate change – so the more the better! But the number of trees or hectares also depends on your company’s size, ambition and commitment. We are happy to discuss this with you; please contact us. We recommend commitments of at least three years to ensure a stable income for our restoration projects for the long term.

If you fund forest restoration and are not measuring and reducing your own carbon, water and waste footprint, then yes – you could be accused of greenwashing.

We focus on restoration costs per hectare, so the price per tree is calculated by dividing this cost by the target density of trees we want to achieve. For example, €4 000 per hectare and a target density of 2 000 trees would equal a tree price of €2. On average the cost of a tree varies between €0.50 and €3, depending on the restoration technique and the location (see the question Why does the price per tree differ between projects?).

The cost is influenced by the different restoration techniques (e.g. framework planting versus assisted natural regeneration), the accompanying programmes such as developing forest-friendly livelihoods (e.g. beekeeping), as well as the local conditions and economy in the country.

Our income includes funding from sponsorships and donations as well as income from sales of carbon credits. For every euro of our income since 2017, 60% has been spent in the field: growing the seedlings, planting the trees, training local communities for long-term forest protection and developing local alternatives to forests and trees as the communities’ main income. 18% for WeForest overheads pays salaries for headquarters-based staff that support funders and grow the cause, as well as the pipeline for new projects. 6% for specialist support has included expertise in livelihood programme design. 4% has funded scientific research such as the installation of flux towers that provide insights into the interaction of new forests with the water cycle. The remaining 12% has established reserves like the Tree Guarantee Fund that can establish a ‘buffer’ in case of fire or drought, or release funds for repairing sites that have suffered such events. 

Our finances are audited every year. External auditors perform reconciliations between the number of hectares invoiced and the number of hectares allocated to our sponsors, and they also perform integrity tests of the database where the information is recorded. The external audit of financial records means that monies are accounted for from the moment these enter WeForest’s account to the restoration activities on the ground, including the project’s non-planting activities, such as capacity building and socio-economic activities, which are essential for long-term tree survival and success. This stringent process means no polygon (restoration area) could be assigned twice to a funder.

Option 1: You want to take climate action but do not need to claim to be neutral or offset: grow trees.

By growing trees in our forest and landscape restoration projects, you are creating amazing impacts for climate, people and nature. The trees will absorb CO2 as they grow and mature. As we have ‘feet on the ground’ in all our projects, we can provide you with excellent content from the field so that you can really bring our partnership to life and share with your customers and employees.

Option 2: You want to claim that you are carbon neutral or that you have offset your footprint: Purchase carbon credits.

We source certified carbon credits from third party forest projects and retire them on your behalf. You can claim an ‘offset’ and receive proof of these credits.

As a partner you have immediate access to pictures, videos and content for your own communications. New material is sent regularly throughout the year while you remain an active partner. See some examples of our pictures here. We also send biannual reports giving you project updates and stories from the field.

Growing trees is a unique opportunity for local men and women to earn an extra source of income to support their families. That’s why we don’t send international volunteers to help in our projects. Neither do we have the capacity to coach volunteers in central functions. However, you are most welcome to share our social media posts and grow the cause!

Trees are a unique way to celebrate somebody you love. Anyone can donate for trees via Global Giving, or contact us at sponsorship@weforest.org. We will issue a certificate for you, should you need one for a gift.

We get a lot of requests for visits and have to limit them in order to stay focused on our mission, which is restoring forests to halt global warming. See Terms and Conditions for more information.

Established in 2010, WeForest develops holistic and multi-stakeholder reforestation projects through a Forest and Landscape Restoration approach, mostly in tropical regions. Our vision is of a world where communities and nature sustainably thrive together to stop global warming ‘in our lifetime’. Our mission is focused on conserving and restoring the ecological integrity of forest landscapes with local communities to deliver lasting solutions for climate, nature and people. Today (2022) we have over 49 000 hectares (490 million m2) and 61 million trees under restoration across 3 continents, and aim by 2025 to reach a total of 100 000 hectares (100 million trees).

Social entrepreneur Bill Liao and Marie-Noelle Keijzer founded WeForest with a very clear ambition: to stop global warming “in our lifetime so our children don’t have to”. For the first three years everyone was a volunteer. Today, WeForest is a team of more than 90 passionate professionals across the world.

We grow trees in areas that have the most impact on people, nature and the planet. We focus our efforts in the tropics for several reasons:
1. Tropical forests are one of the best carbon sinks.
2. Forests in the tropics mitigate climate warming through evaporative cooling.
3. Protecting and restoring biodiversity in tropical forest landscapes is crucial to ensuring a healthy and resilient planet.
4. People in tropical regions are highly affected by climate change, with climate variability impacting food security, poverty and vulnerability. Our livelihoods programmes support forest-friendly, alternative value chains that benefit both people and forests and which have the potential to alleviate poverty, increase resilience and reduce the pressure on forests.

We usually plant during the rainy season, when the soil provides the best conditions for survival. The time between your sponsorship or donation and the actual tree planting varies depending on the region you support and the time of year. Important project activities – such as growing seedlings in the tree nurseries or providing training – happen all year round.
The age of the seedlings depends on the ecosystem, and project location. In Ethiopia, for example, most seedlings are planted after being taken care of for nine months in a tree nursery. In Brazil, transplanting can already happen after four months.
  1. Our teams at the projects map the reforestation and conservation areas. The maps are recorded in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database to create dedicated restoration areas – or polygons – which are then allocated to our sponsors according to the number of trees funded.
  2. WeForest tracks progress through field monitoring. Permanent monitoring plots are established to be able to track progress over time (see the question How are the restoration sites monitored?).
  3. Our external auditors perform reconciliations between the number of trees invoiced and the number of trees allocated to our sponsors, and they also perform integrity tests of the database where the information is recorded. The stringent process we follow ensures that no polygon or trees can be funded twice.
We can send you payment confirmation on WeForest letterhead to confirm receipt of your payment and where these funds will be going. We can also create an annual impact certificate to highlight how much you have funded and what impact this has had on our projects, such as hectares of land restored or number of trees growing.

We use mixed methods – planting trees, agroforestry, assisted natural regeneration and protection – to ensure that forests thrive.

Planting a tree is easy; anyone can do it. But planting the wrong tree in the wrong place can actually do more harm than good. What matters is growing healthy forests that thrive in the long term. We work on a landscape level, and our forest restoration strategy considers both ecological and socio-economic needs. Our projects therefore carefully select the tree species that have the greatest value for the environment, as well as the lives of the people living in and around the forests.

Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) is a restoration approach that enhances the establishment of forests by protecting and nurturing emerging wild seedlings that are already present, resulting in greater success compared to transplanting nursery-grown seedlings. It includes patrolling, avoiding overgrazing and implementing preventive fire management to reach the optimal density of trees per hectare for the location. Watch a video about it here.

ANR can be complemented with enrichment planting – enhancing the density of desired tree species – and transplanting saplings where needed. We often combine ANR and enrichment planting with agroforestry, in which farmers plant various fruit and timber species at their homes to increase family income.

With nature, there is never a 100% guarantee that the trees will survive. We look at the risks and develop a risk mitigation plan for each project. WeForest’s purpose is not just growing trees: what matters is their long-term survival. Our projects empower communities to become stewards of their forest through training and forest-friendly livelihoods. The livelihood activities that we fund reward local farmers and herders for keeping their livestock out of the forest, for example.

Find more information under What We Do.

Local communities still rely heavily on forests to provide wood for construction and for fuelwood. In some of our projects, we work with communities to plant fast growing species and woodlots where trees can be harvested to meet their needs. This relieves pressure on the areas of degraded forest we are working to restore.
WeForest is grounded in science, and monitoring is an essential aspect of our work. We establish permanent monitoring plots and visit them annually (in most cases) to gather data on key characteristics such as the rate of survival of planted trees, the abundance of species, and the rate of natural regeneration and tree growth over time, among other indicators. Where social impacts are also critical, we measure socio-economic indicators such as the number of beneficiaries and the number of people expanding their capacity to generate income from forest-friendly livelihood activities. This allows us to track our progress, adapt our management strategy and respond to changing conditions.
Fires are a real threat to forests and our projects include the development and maintenance of firebreaks as a mitigation strategy. In case of a natural disaster, we do have a tree guarantee fund which enables us to replant if needed.
Restoration projects are long term. We usually foresee a minimum of eight years and our objective is to make projects self-sustaining so that they can continue long after we leave.
Who owns the land?
WeForest does not buy land. Many of our forests are on community land, some are on state land, and others are on private land. We sign agreements to secure the long-term protection of the land.
Do local people earn an income?
What matters is the long-term survival of the trees, so we engage and train local farmers who earn a stable income from the project and make them stewards of their new forest.
How does reforestation empower women?

Women are still responsible for household work in many countries. In places where forests are degraded, they often spend many hours every day collecting fuelwood, water and other forest products such as mushrooms and nuts. This makes them the primary users of forest resources. Nevertheless, women are often excluded from forest management, decision making and access to resources, as in many countries, forestry is perceived as being ‘men’s business’.

Successful forest restoration requires women to be involved in the design and development of activities. We ensure that we organise meetings at times that are suitable to their busy schedules, directly engage with them in meetings, and organise separate meetings if needed so that they feel comfortable to express themselves.

Improving forest management for better growth and health of trees means pruning, which can deliver reliable supplies of firewood closer to home, and results in more resources such as mushrooms that can be collected and sold.

By increasing forest-friendly incomes, we can reduce the pressure on forests. Income-generating activities such as beekeeping are primarily male-dominated, and female-headed households in our programmes have a preference for egg production and sheep rearing that can generate a more regular or substantial income. We also promote more sustainable food production practices such as agroforestry and conservation agriculture, which increase yields. Vegetable gardening for subsistence – and feeding families – is often the responsibility of women, and directly impacts health, nutrition and income.

What's the link between bees and forest restoration?

In some of our project locations, beehives have amazing potential to prevent deforestation. The revenue received through selling honey can provide a significant income for the farmer and his or her family, sometimes doubling it. Since bees need healthy flowering trees to flourish, they provide a great incentive to keep the trees standing and the extra income avoids the need to generate income from illegal logging and charcoal burning. We promote the message ‘no bees – no trees, no honey – no money’.

Forests vary widely in the amount of carbon they store. The main factors that determine carbon storage are climate, tree species composition and disturbance history. The estimated carbon storage potential of our forests after 20-30 years of restoration ranges between 140 to 317 t CO2 per hectare.

Different tree species grow and sequester CO2 at different rates. However, focusing only on fast-growing species alone is not the best approach. No natural forest is made up of just one species, and our goal is to restore them as much as possible to a ‘natural’ state. A forest is not just for storing carbon: biodiversity and people and animals that depend on forests need a diversity of species.

A recent study found that, considering the current Bonn Challenge pledges for restoration, the best strategy by far to store the most carbon by 2100 would be to focus on natural forest restoration and protection – because on average, natural forests are six times better than agroforestry and 40 times better than plantations at storing carbon.

We estimate carbon sequestration across a hectare of forest with all its species diversity.

The latest FAO assessment of global forest resources estimates that, since 2015, ten million hectares a year of forest cover was lost and five million hectares of forest cover was gained. Over the period 1990 to 2020 the rate of global forest loss has declined, but still far outweighs forest gain.

There are several things you can do:

  1. Eat consciously
  2. Stop or reduce flying
  3. Reduce your energy consumption, or choose green energy
  4. Buy less, more carefully
  5. Offset what you cannot reduce
  6. Vote for a party that prioritizes climate action

If your company is carbon neutral, you’re balancing out your carbon emissions into the atmosphere by removing them elsewhere, usually by purchasing carbon offsets or credits to make up the difference. Carbon neutral doesn’t necessarily mean you have reduced your emissions (which should be the first priority).

A climate neutral company or product is neutral in all greenhouse gas emissions, not just carbon carbon dioxide: also methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3). As with carbon neutral, this name doesn’t necessarily mean you have reduced your emissions (which should be the first priority).

Net Zero means not putting any more carbon into the atmosphere than you’re taking out. Net Zero companies find ways to reduce their own emissions first; they also have a wider scope of the emissions they count in all steps on the supply chain. This includes the most difficult ‘scope 3’, like the emissions from growing the cocoa that ends up in your chocolate, and even employee commutes – and sometimes even the ongoing emissions of the products they sell. You can’t offset your way out of Net Zero.

Trees compensate for greenhouse gas emissions over time by drawing down carbon dioxide as they grow. The best carbon is carbon that is never emitted, so we encourage every company to reduce and avoid emissions before choosing to compensate. If you do need to claim immediate carbon neutrality, though, we offer carbon credits from certified forest restoration or conservation projects where the trees are already growing, so the CO2 has already been saved.

Find out more about Net Zero pledges here.

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See which solution is right for you and get started today.