Plan Vivo is a registered Scottish charity which has created a set of requirements for smallholders and communities wishing to manage their land more sustainably. Plan Vivo has developed the Plan Vivo Standard, which is a framework for Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes for rural smallholders and communities dependent on natural resources for livelihoods.
The Plan Vivo System
Eligible activities (for generating Plan Vivo Certificates) are afforestation and agroforestry, forest conservation, restoration and avoided deforestation. Plan Vivo project design is community-led. Communities decide which land use activities (e.g. woodlots, agroforestry, forest conservation) will best address threats to local ecosystems and are of interest and value to them.
Writing plan vivos and quantifying carbon services
Each ‘producer’ or ‘producer group’ (where the land is communally owned or managed) writes their own ‘plan vivo’, a land-management plan laying out activities to be implemented. Each participant or group adapts their activities to their own circumstances and priorities, creating diverse interventions across the landscape. Each plan vivo is checked by the project coordinator to check it is realistic and in line with technical requirements, and will support the participant’s livelihood objectives. Using the project’s approved technical specification (which includes a methodology for calculating carbon sequestered or emissions avoided), the carbon services generated from each plan vivo are calculated.
PES agreements (‘payments for ecosystem services’)
Producers/groups enter into written agreements with the project coordinator, who agree to make staged payments and provide continued technical support.
Monitoring and payments
The project coordinator monitors plan vivos over time. When participants meet agreed monitoring targets, a payment can be made, providing continued incentives. Monitoring indicators should be simple and cost-effective to measure, and enable technical functions to take place at a local level.