Trees for Global Benefit – Uganda

This project incentivizes small-scale farmers to manage their resources sustainably in exchange for access to markets. The Trees for Global Benefit scheme pays farmers for tree-planting and pools carbon credits for sale on the voluntary market. The model benefits livelihoods and the environment while making sustainable practices more profitable.Oooh!


Fast facts:

  • More than 2,500 farming households from 5 different districts supported

  • More than 3,000 hectares being sustainably managed

  • 650,000 tons of carbon dioxide emission reduction credits issued


The problem

Deforestation in Uganda affects biodiversity and watersheds, driving species toward extinction. Additionally it reduces the quality and quantity of freshwater in rivers. It also contributes to climate change, which is already felt by smallholder farmers. Although the carbon market is one of the few options that could help pay for reforestation work. Barriers like an inability to achieve marketable scale are preventing smallholder farmer participation.


The solution

Trees for Global Benefit gets small-scale landholder farmers in Uganda to adopt climate-smart agriculture through a cooperative carbon offsetting program. In the scheme, farmers register and estimate the amount of carbon to be generated from their altered farming activities, along with specifying terms and conditions. Credits are then aggregated and sold on the voluntary carbon market using the Plan Vivo system. Income from the sale of carbon credits provides the financial capital required to sustain the modified land-use practices.

Farmers grow mixed/native woodlots and fruit orchards, receiving payment after planting at least half of the required number of trees. The project also assists farmers gain access to credit from commercial nurseries, which they can use until they receive their first payment. The households generating the credits retain the carbon rights and receive the majority of income from their sale.

Helping the planet

Planting trees enhances water retention, stabilizes soil and controls erosion. Increasing tree cover protects watersheds by buffering rivers and streams from potential disturbance. Community forestry shores up wildlife corridors and provide connectivity between protected areas. At the same time, planting native tree species contributes to their conservation. The project also alleviates pressure on forest resources in national parks and reserves.


Helping people

Farmers now have higher incomes, and are able to invest in other sustainable ways of making money. These include production of honey, medicinal extracts, oils, fruit, and fodder. Farmers can use the carbon sale agreement as collateral on loans, also helping them to grow their businesses. The project has even helped one extremely poor community gain a land title, enabling it to participate in the scheme. Nitrogen-fixing trees enrich farmland, making it more productive. Combined with the cultivation of orchards, this contributes to food security.


Spillover effect

The project, which started with 33 farmers, now involves more than 2,500 farming households – indicating a clear ability to increase in scale. Differing farming systems are able to tailor their activities through use of technical specifications. The program’s aggregation of carbon credits helps it achieve a marketable scale and sustain demand. The project has also piloted the use of a revolving fund that could help it continue to grow.



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