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WE NEED TO REMOVE THE EXCESS CARBON FROM OUR ATMOSPHERE

With the Paris Agreement (COP21 in December 2015), world governments committed to limiting carbon emissions to keep global warming “well below” a 2°C rise above pre-industrial levels, and possibly below a 1.5°C rise. In order to achieve this we must achieve carbon neutrality by the second half of this century.

While reducing carbon emissions is critical, research suggests that even if carbon dioxide emissions came to a sudden halt, the carbon dioxide already in the Earth's atmosphere could continue to warm our planet for hundreds of years. Therefore, the challenge is to reduce future carbon emissions and actively remove the excess carbon from our atmosphere.

A simple nature-based solution exists

Trees are the best technology (according to a study from the University of Oxford here) to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reverse global warming:

  • Forests balance the Earth’s water-cycle essential for cooling our climate.
  • In addition, forests play another vital role in stabilising the climate by sucking carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere and fixing it into soils and biomass.
  • 50% of a tree’s biomass is carbon which remains stored, acting as a ‘carbon sink’, unless the tree decays or is burned.
  • Global forests are estimated to hold more CO2 than the atmosphere.

"Forests represent one of the largest, most cost-effective climate solutions available today."
(New York Declaration on Forests, 2014).

We know we must halt the loss of natural forests and accelerate forest landscape restoration.

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Our contribution

WeForest works with communities, local organisations and NGOs to develop scalable reforestation projects, demonstrating how it is possible to mobilise communities and restore our degraded soils. WeForest, backed by a scientific network, is growing a movement of small and large responsible companies committed to having a positive impact for people and for our planet. 

We join forces with local partners to scale restoration projects.

We measure the quality of our activity and develop best practices (see Our Principles).

We share our projects' key learnings, benefits and impacts, to inspire others to participate and  take action.

How much is needed ?

More than 2 billion hectares of land  (or the equivalent of 50% of the world’s forests) are degraded and have been identified as having potential for forest restoration.

The 2011 Bonn Challenge :
150 million ha by 2020 is the target set out in the 2011 Bonn Challenge. This represents roughly 175 billion trees or 13 billion trees every year.

The 2014 New York (NY) Declaration on Forests :
restoring 350 million hectares of deforested and degraded soils by 2030 (the equivalent of the surface of India), whilst at the same time reducing deforestation rates by half, may be enough to limit global warming to +2 °C. The NY target of 350 million hectares incorporates the land area restoration target set out in the 2011 Bonn Challenge (150 million ha by 2020)

It is possible.

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The Bonn Challenge launched a global movement in 2011 to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded lands by 2020.

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The New York Declaration on Forests looks to halve deforestation and increase the land restoration to 350 million hectares by 2030.

Contribution to SDGs

WeForest supports the Sustainable Development Goals.
We contribute to the achievement of all SDGs, and especially the following:

SDG1

End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Restoring forests is the best tool we´ve found to lift entire communities out of extreme poverty.
Read a story from the field - SDG1.

SGD2

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture
Sustainable agriculture combined with forestry, helps people diversify their diet and improve nutrition.
Read a story from the field - SDG2.

SDG5

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Women are change makers, and we empower them through training and micro-enterprises such as nurseries.
Read a story from the field - SDG5.

SDG6

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Forests play a key role in soil filtration, in cloud formation and precipitation, slowing surface ‘run-offs’.
Read a story from the field - SDG6.

SDG8

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all
Nearly 1 billion people directly rely on forests for their living. In remote rural areas, working in forestry projects is often the only source of cash.
Read a story from the field - SDG8.

SDG13

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (taking note of agreements made by the UNFCCC forum)
It is too late to just talk about reducing carbon emissions, we need to draw the excess from the atmosphere; trees are the best technology for that. 50% of a tree’s biomass is carbon and forests regulate the water cycle and create clouds.
Read a story from the field - SDG13.

SDG15

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss
Forests are home to 80% of terrestrial biodiversity, including the largest share of threatened species. Healthy forests are also the best barrier against the desert.
Read a story from the field - SDG15.

SDG17

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development
It takes more than a forester to restore a forest, together with scientists, governments, cooperatives, universities and other NGO´s we can make it happen.
SDG17.

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APPROACH

Collaborate • Restore • Measure

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Collaborate and scale up

WeForest’s mission is to build upon corporate and scientific partnerships and provide the vision, the resources and the knowledge to empower communities to restore their forests and scale their impact.
Collaboration is fundamental to being able to Make Earth Cooler with trees.

"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." - Isaac Newton.

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Restore

The world needs  to stop deforesting and restore the equivalent of an area the size of India by 2030 (350 m ha) if we want a chance to stay under the 2°C temperature increase.

It's not about planting trees, it's about the overall result  for the environment and for the people who live there. Regaining ecological integrity to enhance human well-being is key to ensure the forest will be protected for the long term.

WeForest's restoration principles.

1. Intervention
We identify and intervene in areas where there is growing threat of further degradation.
2. Tropical focus
Our geographical focus is the tropics where forests and trees are more efficient at cooling temperatures through evapotranspiration and cloud reflectivity.
3. Root cause
We identify the root causes of forest degradation and work towards developing alternatives. 
4. Community engagement
We work with local communities to give them ownership, leverage local knowledge and enhance environmental stewardship capacity.
5. Woman empowerment
The empowerment of women is central to most of our projects whether through training delivery, women-led micro-enterprises such as nurseries or other economic opportunities.
6. Ecosystem services
Improved ecosystem services are an essential outcome of all our projects, such as a more sustainable supply of clean water, reduced erosion, lower landslide risk, flood/drought mitigation.
7. Livelihood improvement
We look to diversify income streams to make community livelihoods more resilient such as increasing the supply of forest-related products (medicines, foods, other resources), monetary income from alternative sources (direct employment in restoration activities, ecotourism), fostering and facilitating entrepreneurship.
8. Inclusiveness
We welcome multi-stakeholder partnerships to achieve restoration goals.
9. Collaboration
We aim to advance the FLR agenda by developing collaborations with the scientific community, think-tanks, intergovernmental institutions and not-for-profit organisations in ways that create shared value.
10. Context-driven
There is no 'one model fits all': we have a context-driven approach directly linked to the needs of the area and stakeholders involved.

WeForest's restoration approaches

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High density planting of a large number of tree species based on species specific characteristics - such as growth rate, canopy cover, lifespan and seeding traits – for the purpose of ecological restoration.  This technique is used to recover degraded areas and create corridors between forest fragments. The approach incorporates a variety of planting schemes that take into account the typical changes we observe in forest communities over time e.g. species composition will change over time.

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The integration of trees on farms and in the agricultural landscape in ways that sustain productive, profitable and healthy land use systems.

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A restoration method to enhance the establishment of forests by protecting and nurturing wild seedlings present in the area. ANR aims to accelerate natural successional processes by removing or reducing barriers to natural forest regeneration such as soil degradation, competition with weedy species, and recurring disturbances (from, for example, grazing animals). It may also include enrichment planting (enhancing the density of desired tree species) and transplanting of saplings.

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Measure

How will we know the forests restored are growing
and have the expected environmental and socio-economic impact they need to have?

  • First of all, every hectare restored is mapped with GPS points to generate polygons that are assigned to sponsors.
  • Extensive logframes with KPI’s - combined with regular internal and third party audits - provide the forestry and science teams with the necessary metrics to evaluate and possibly adjust their approach.
  • The main environmental indicators used are: biomass growth for carbon measurement, tree density, survival rate & species diversity index.
  • Some of the socio-economic indicators used are: number of direct and indirect beneficiaries, direct and indirect jobs created, number of people trained and additional income generated from alternative livelihood activities.
  • Our applied science with FAO in India for example measures the rate of water movement through soil, collecting soil samples for lab analysis and conducting dye tracer measurements to understand water movement pathways and patterns through soil.
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Science & Policy

WeForest has a scientific approach to Forest Landscape Restoration and collaborates with universities and research institutes to strengthen our reforestation strategy through applied research. More generally, advancing knowledge on climate mitigation and adaptation with forests is critical: WeForest organises workshops to bring global experts together and contribute to regular scientific publications.
Learn more