RELEASE: Growing Trees the Right Way Through TerraMatch
New platform connects millions of dollars to projects that grow trees the right way
Tree planting was at the top of the international agenda in early 2020 when the World Economic Forum announced the Trillion Trees initiative, an effort to protect and plant enough trees to fight climate change and transform rural economies. Many other companies and funders are also working to plant tens of millions of trees worldwide. But planting trees isn’t enough – growing trees the right way involves engaging local communities, selecting the right species for the landscape, maintaining trees for years after planting, measuring impact over time and much more. Today, World Resources Institute released TerraMatch to help fill this gap.
TerraMatch is a new (beta) platform that connects funders with projects growing trees the right way. It combines investment from the private sector, expertise from local project developers, and decades of research-driven work to restore deforested and degraded land. The methodology behind TerraMatch, developed by WRI, has already moved funding to projects in developing countries, creating jobs and restoring landscapes. Across nine countries in Africa and Latin America, WRI has matched funders with projects that have started growing more than 2 million trees on farms and in forests.
"In 2019, the world's tropics lost more tree cover than the entire country of Honduras. This is why WRI is launching TerraMatch, an online platform that will match financiers with planters," said Andrew Steer, President & CEO, WRI. “We’re inspired by the strong support of corporate leaders who are looking to get their funds to the frontlines. With TerraMatch, we can accelerate landscape restoration and ensure it’s done the right way.”
There are many different ways to grow trees the right way. People grow them in forests to protect biodiversity and water as well as store carbon; and on farms, where they boost crop yields and provide new sources of income. Along rivers, trees stop erosion from threatening water supplies; and on pasture, they provide food and shade for cattle.
What is stopping funders from growing millions of trees right now? They have trouble finding enough high-quality projects run by trusted implementers. They often don’t know which trees are appropriate for the landscape and will thrive for decades after they sprout. Some efforts do little more than plant seedlings without maintenance or monitoring. And some do not engage local communities effectively or address concerns they might have.
How does TerraMatch work differently? WRI vets all projects and funders to create a serious community dedicated to growing trees the right way. Approved developers post project pitches onto the platform, reviewed by WRI, which contain key information on location, species of trees involved, historical survival rates of their trees, local benefits for people, their methods of restoration, and more. TerraMatch also provides a space for tree-growers to explain the true costs of their work beyond the simple act of planting. At the same time, funders post offers of their own, explaining what kinds of projects they hope to fund and how much they want to spend. Then, both parties search through the system and match, beginning a conversation that can lead to transformative impact.
In the Peruvian Amazon, the TerraMatch technique is helping local NGO AIDER and farmers grow more than 300,000 trees to protect the biodiverse Tambopata National Reserve. Together, they are growing trees on cacao farms that store carbon and provide a sustainable source of income for over 10,000 people.
In Mukura, Rwanda, local NGO ARCOS has worked with women-led cooperatives through TerraMatch to grow more than 40,000 trees on their farms and in the forest, where they shore up slopes and terraces, prevent erosion, and provide a sustainable source of wood.
And the opportunity to grow more trees is enormous. Through the Bonn Challenge, 63 governments have committed to restoring more than 173 million hectares of degraded land, and many countries are looking for financing for these projects. Partners of regional alliances Initiative 20x20 in Latin America and the Caribbean and AFR100 in Africa are ready to use TerraMatch to help fulfil their pledges. We expect millions of trees to start growing during the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, helping communities mitigate and adapt to climate change and bringing them new sources of income from restored land.
Learn more about TerraMatch at terramatch.org.
"Governments have led the fight to restore the world’s degraded land by growing trees. In Malawi, we are already working with thousands of young people to transform our landscapes through the Malawi Youth Forest Restoration Programme,” said Tangu Tumeo, Principal Forestry Officer, Department of Forestry and AFR100 Focal Point, Government of Malawi. “TerraMatch will help us connect with sustainable sources of private finance that can scale up this work and create jobs, build strong rural economies, and make our commitments a reality. Youth groups and the entire country are ready to go.”
"To protect, restore and grow forests at the scale needed, requires us to raise ambition and better connect corporate leaders with the reforestation community. This is at heart of the mission of 1t.org”, said Nicole Schwab, Co-Director, Platform to Accelerate Nature-Based Solutions and 1t.org, World Economic Forum. “TerraMatch offers an important solution to enable these connections”.
“Working with WRI and TerraMatch has created some great opportunities for One Tree Planted,” said Matt Hill, Founder and CEO, One Tree Planted. “We've funded the planting of over 2 million trees in Africa and Latin America through these partnerships, along with amazing local communities on the ground. And we're already committed to planting millions more in the next two years. It's all thanks to this great network of people doing good for the planet.”
About World Resources Institute
WRI is a global research organization that spans more than 60 countries, with international offices in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States, regional offices in Ethiopia (for Africa) and the Netherlands (for Europe), and program offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Our more than 1,000 experts and staff turn big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. More information at www.wri.org.