Trees for Global Benefits
Eradicating Poverty One Ton of CO2 at a Time
ECOTRUST’s Trees for Global Benefits (TGB) is a long-running cooperative carbon offsetting scheme which combines community-led activities to increase carbon sequestration, encourage sustainable land-use practices, and provide farmers with performance-based payments.
The project operates as a market-based solution that reduces unsustainable exploitation of forest resources and the decline of ecosystem quality, while diversifying and increasing incomes for rural farmers and their families.
Trees for Global Benefits
2003 to date
The aim of Trees for Global Benefits (TGB) is to produce longterm, verifiable voluntary emission reductions by combining carbon sequestration with livelihood improvements through small-scale, farmer-led, forestry/agroforestry projects while at the same time, reducing pressure on natural resources in national parks and forest reserves.
TGB started in 2003, in the Rubirizi and Mitooma districts, and has through the years shown exceptional performance through the different innovations that involve the farmers, recruitment of more communities into the project, and the introduction of new activities alongside tree planting.
TGB won the 2013 UN SEED Award for being an exceptional social and environmental low carbon enterprise. The award recognizes TGB’s achievements in innovation and entrepreneurship so far, its promising efforts to promote economic growth, social development and environmental protection in Uganda, and not least the potential of its partnership to inspire others into action.
The founding partners of the SEED Initiative are UNEP, UNDP and IUCN. The 2013 Low Carbon SEED Awards were supported by the International Climate Initiative (ICI) of the Germany Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).
The PES model in TGB is designed to incentivize the transformation of smallholder investment horizons from the short-term hand-to mouth seasonal plans to long-term sustainable land use/business plans.
TGB’s PES incentives revolve around making the adoption of agroforestry-based sustainable land use a viable livelihood option by ensuring availability of a sustainable flow of financing at the different stages of the land-use enterprise.
This is achieved through the creation of opportunities for smallholders to tap into multiple funding sources for agroforestry as a means of generating income and improving land management while contributing to biodiversity conservation and global climate benefits.
Over 2 Million Tons of CO2 Sequestered
TGB as of 2016, commanded about 1.8% of the voluntary carbon market share, reaching a milestone of 1,321.85 ha of farmland for 1,533 farmers, yielding an equivalent to 1 million tons of carbon worth USD 6 million. By the end of 2021, TGB was just just over 2million tons with over 11,000 farmers.
TGB Offers a Wide
Array of Co-Benefits
The project also aims to measure its impact with regards to climate change adaptation, biodiversity enhancement, watershed services and renewable energy provision. A summary of the project’s current contribution to selected environmental co-benefits is presented below:
Building Social Capital
The project is based on human rights, pro-poor principles, seeking to support social and financial inclusion of marginalized communities. These have been achieved by supporting the formation of community farmer groups with a strong emphasis on gender balance and representation of other marginalized members of community. Through regular community meetings, capacity has been built for all members to effectively participate in project initiatives. A number of Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs), Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOS) have been established in these communities to provide financial support to project beneficiaries.
By increasing tree cover and building local capacity, the project continues to be instrumental in building the resilience of the community as well as the natural and productive systems to withstand extreme weather condition.
Tree planting enhances the ability of catchments to provide watershed services mainly by slowing down water run-off, reducing soil erosion / sedimentation and regulating water flow. Enhancing natural forest cover binds soil and enhances water purification, soil conservation, stabilization and moisture retention, which helps to reduce flood and landslide risks that threaten local agricultural livelihoods.
Protected Area Conservation
TGB project sites are selected to contribute to conservation of areas of high conservation value. Currently, the project operates in the Albertine Rift and Mt Elgon Landscapes of Uganda, where participating communities are facilitated to enter into co-management arrangements with natural resource protection agencies to improve the management of protected areas. Tree planting on private land is also intended to maintain / improve connectivity between the protected areas. In addition, small-scale production of fuel wood and timber reduces pressure on nearby forest reserves and national parks
The project has supported the planting of indigenous tree species over naturalized types. Indigenous trees increase the sustainability of eco-systems, provide food, medicines, industrial products and promote connectivity of people to nature. The main tree species promoted under TGB are; Khaya anthotheca, Prunus Africana, Mahogany, Croton, Markhamia lutea, Premna, Ficus, Albizia, Cordia, Maesopsis emini, Grevillea robusta, and fruit trees (Autocarpus, Persea and Mangifera). 79% of the trees planted under TGB are indigenous to Uganda and the rest (21%) are naturalized species.
TGB Operates in Landscapes
of critical Ecosystem Value
Under the flagship Trees for Global Benefit (TGB) –ECOTRUST has, over the last 17 years, established a niche in undertaking ecosystem restoration as a business. The project has developed technical specifications for agroforestry (woodlots); reafforestation (indigenous mixed species.) TGB operates across 14 districts in Uganda within the three main landscapes of Queen Elizabeth and Murchison-Semliki landscape in the Albertine region of South-Western Uganda, and the Mount Elgon Landscape in Eastern Uganda.
Mixed Native Spp
Finance for Integrated Landscape Management
De-risking smallholder farmer investments in integrated landscape management: ECOTRUST’s Trees for Global Benefit (TGB) in Uganda
This case study describes a conservation finance mechanism implemented by the Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (ECOTRUST). The mechanism delivers US$6 of every US$10 to smallholder conservation farmers through a blended model that combines public (donor) finance, private-sector foreign direct investment (FDI), and community contributions, to support long-term biodiversity and climate change outcomes at the local level. ECOTRUST has developed this model over 17years of implementing its Trees for Global Benefit (TGB) program.
TGB PES payments are linked to performance-based targets
The specifications under TGB have enabled the aggregation tCO2 from over 12,000 smallholders under Plan Vivo standard that have been sold through ECOTRUST to national and international level buyers in the voluntary carbon for the last 17 years.