Case Study


What problem were they solving?

Restoring lost trees is essential to preventing the climate crisis. Trees capture CO2 from the atmosphere and store the carbon in their leaves, stems and roots, eventually increasing the carbon stored in soil. The majority of the carbon capture potential of forests exists in Latin America, Africa and southern Asia. Restoring forests in these regions has many potential benefits to society, including the creation of new economies based specifically on making restoration happen. This may lead to the generation of billions of dollars in income for national and local economies and small landholder farmers. According to Global Forest Watch estimations, deforestation in the three states of the Yucatán peninsula (Campeche, Quintana Roo, Yucatán) accounted for 42.3 percent of all forests lost between 2001 and 2020 across Mexico. Mexico is the home of 12 percent of the world's biodiversity. Nonetheless it suffers from one of the world's highest rates of deforestation.

What did they do?

Plant-for-the-Planet has several dedicated restoration campaigns, notably in Yucatan and Volcano Valley in Mexico. Their open source Treemapper platform is used to map and track tree restoration progress in real-time. The platform allows restoration projects across the world to register and map their efforts (there are partner projects in more than 50 countries). There are online guides for restoration organizations to help run their own campaigns and individual users can also donate trees. Alongside, the programme has an emphasis on training youth ambassadors to advocate for tree planting and broader platforms of climate justice.

What was the benefit of using collective intelligence for this issue?

Plant-for-the-Planet has developed a shared repository of guidelines and tools to help tree restoration projects across the world run their own local campaigns. The shared protocols help to ensure high quality, consistent data standards and precise impact monitoring, which can be aggregated at the global level. Their online digital impact tracker provides daily updates of trees planted globally with an estimate of the impact on carbon emissions alongside a comparison with a no-intervention scenario. The creation of the “monitoring plots” featured on Treemapper has enabled comparison of the impact of the restoration work with non-intervention scenarios. The Treemapper app works in settings with no internet connection. Over the course of 15 years, the programme has led to the restoration of more than 12 million trees supported by more than 225 projects. The programme also creates local jobs and trains youth ambassadors to advocate for climate justice and tree planting. The restoration work intersects with other strategies such as livelihood diversification (for smallholder farmers) and carbon capture (in the long term).

What does this experience tell us about collective intelligence for climate action?

Plant-for-the-Planet enables different reforestation campaigns to map their projects on the platform, increasing community resilience and local collective action. The initiative demonstrates the value of developing shared data standards and transferable protocols. This approach has helped local restoration projects to elevate the value of their actions by contributing to global targets. In terms of institutional impacts, visualizing reforestation efforts on the platform provides a quantitative evidence base for the development of more appropriate and feasible policy programmes.

IPCC CATEGORYMitigation, AFOLU, Ecosystem Restoration, Reforestation, Afforestation
COUNTRYMexico And Worldwide.
PEOPLEYoung People, Volunteers
DATACrowdsourced Observations, Geospatial
TECHNOLOGYApp, Cartographic Platform

 In its Yucatan restoration work, Plant for the Planet has created jobs for 121 people.