Scolel’te, Mexico // GO BACK

Scolel’te is an ecosystem services programme focused on reforestation and forest management.

Scolel’te is the longest-running ecosystem services project on the Voluntary Carbon Market across the globe. It has served as a benchmark and formed the basis for the development of the Plan Vivo system.

Actively Contributes to



Quality Education

Climate Change

Scolel’te (“the tree that grows” in Mayan Tzeltal language) is the longest-standing project in the Plan Vivo network, dating back to a pilot programme in 1994. It was officially operational three years later.

It has been running on a commercially self-sufficient basis since 2002 under the leadership of AMBIO, a Mexican environmental non-profit cooperative that coordinates the project and organises field activities in cooperation with various communi-ty groups, smallholder farmers and social organisations.

The Scolel’te programme supports 1,287 producers and 9 community groups, benefitting approximately 2,450 families. In March 2011, Scolel’te was recognised by Initiativa Mexico Awards. Scolel’te was chosen as a national finalist from hundreds of local initiatives and showcased on national television, as an outstanding local environmental initiative. In 2013, AMBIO also received the Mexican National Forest Merit Award.


Chiapas, Mexico

Operational Since:


Project Coordinator:

Cooperativa Ambio S.C. de R.L.

PVCs Issued to date:


Area of land under management:

8,946.5 ha


1,282 smallholders and 9 community groups

Project interventions:

  • Afforestation
  • Agroforestry
  • Reforestation
  • Forest Restoration
  • Avoided Deforestation

Registration in 1997




Project Location

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June 2016 | See the latest newsletter from AMBIO regarding all the innovations currently taking place in the Scolel'te project. In this edition, highlights include: details of how to deal with climate change at the local level, efforts with the UK Space Agency regarding satellite monitoring of forests, a recent video produced by a volunteer (in Spanish) and work with Sustentur, a communication service on tourism, sustainability and CSR from the Mexican Caribbean. Read more here.

September 2014 | IUCN and Ambio promote carbon sequestration together in smallholder communities in the ‘Selva el Ocote’ Biosphere Reserve. Read more

April 2014 | AMBIO participated in the joint initiative Streamlining Monitoring for Smallholder and Community Payment for Ecosystem Services (SMS-PES), an ESPA-funded project which was piloted in Mexico and Uganda. Read more

March 2014 | AMBIO participated in the Chiapas Congress on Forest Management and Climate Change at which Scolel'te was presented as a successful project to promote sustainable forest management involving smallholder farmers. Read more.