From climate protection project to award-winning software – Taking Root wins Monitoring Award

The monitoring software from Taking Root has been honoured by the Rainforest Alliance and sets new benchmarks for reforesting projects. myclimate and the Plan Vivo climate protection project in Nicaragua were central drivers behind the success.

Since 2011, the communal reforesting programme in Nicaragua has been one of myclimate’s climate protection projects. In the Plan Vivo-certified project, local small-scale farmers turn their previously neglected land into forests. The new trees sustainably absorb CO₂ from the atmosphere, helping the environment. But the inhabitants of the area also benefit from the local project. The smallholders are directly reimbursed for their contributions and even the poorest part of the population who do not own any land receive some of the benefits of the CO₂ resources, as they are employed as workers in the reforestation. As well as the economic effects, the reforestation ensures biodiversity and also the living conditions of the local communities thanks to the stabilisation of the natural water supply.

Learn more about the Nicaragua project in the project film

While only a few farming families were initially involved, today the figure is now almost 300. Because successful reforestation requires precise monitoring, this growth presented a logistical challenge. The Canadian Organisation and project developer Taking Root, with help from myclimate, developed a software for tablets which can not only carry out the entire monitoring process, but has also made it more precise. 

The software was presented with the Monitoring Award by Rainforest Alliance and was described as trailblazing in the field of reforestation. The tool succeeds in quickly and precisely measuring the growth of the forest and integrating the data directly into the existing digital database. Until now this process required a lot of time and expense, but it can now be efficiently mastered. The Award is not the first accolade a myclimate forestation project has won. In 2013 the myclimate Plan Vivo climate protection project “Small-Scale Farmers Reforest Forests” in Uganda won the renowned SEED award.

In the development of the software, myclimate specially introduced the option of information on sustainability benefits for the whole project in addition to purely ecological data. It can thus be seen how many jobs the project creates, whether these are fairly distributed between men and women, how the biodiversity develops and how much the local inhabitants benefit from training initiatives.

Proving these sustainability benefits is key if you want to demonstrate that a project can also fulfil the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs comprise 17 goals such as gender equality, fighting poverty, and environmental and climate protection. The Plan Vivo climate protection project in Nicaragua actively engages with many of these aspects, and this can now also be clearly proven.

Plan Vivo came to life in 1996 and is the oldest standard for certification of climate protection projects in the field of land usage. Reforestation and forest utilisation projects receive this label when they fulfil the top requirements. On the one hand, the projects have to be based and organised locally and the small-scale farming families have to receive at least 60% of the climate protection money. The projects also have to pursue a holistic approach, fighting the deforestation and poverty alongside the focus on reforestation. It is these qualities that make Plan Vivo one of the most credible and strongest standards worldwide.

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