The CommuniTree Carbon Program uses reforestation to create long-term income opportunities for farmers in the Central America who are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.


Benefits that CommuniTree provides



Start date 2010
Coordinator Taking Root
Activities Afforestation/Reforestation
Participants 3,326 smallholder families
PVCs issued to-date 3,327,485



The detail

The award-winning CommuniTree Carbon Program is the largest reforestation initiative in Nicaragua, working with thousands of smallholder farmers to create long-term income opportunities from growing trees on underused parts of their land.  

The CommuniTree Carbon program is run by Taking Root, a not-for-profit on a mission to improve farmer livelihoods by restoring global forest ecosystems. The program is working with hundreds of communities across Nicaragua, helping smallholder farming families to reforest the under-utilized parts of their farms in exchange for direct payments over time as the trees sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

The program’s unique impact comes from its belief that for reforestation to be a successful solution to climate change, trees have to benefit and be valuable to local communities for the long term. As one of the poorest countries in the Americas, the program is specifically designed so that the forests improve the lives of Nicaraguan farmers traditionally earning less than $2 per day. The program does this by:

Creating new forms of income for farmers including:

  • Direct farmer payments for growing the forests over a 10-year period, which amount to at least 60% of the carbon credit sale price.
  • Helping farmers build forest enterprises by creating and selling products from the forests they are growing such as high value woodcrafts, biochar, and sustainable shade-grown coffee.

Generating additional benefits for farmers and their communities to prosper including:

  • Large-scale employment opportunities by creating thousands of local seasonal jobs to support the operations of the program such as seed gathering, nursery building, and tree planting
  • Climate adaptation and resilience provided by the forests helping mitigate the risk to farmers’ crops from extreme weather events caused by climate change such as droughts, flooding and increased temperatures
  • Income consistency as the activities from growing the forests take place in farmers’ off-season, helping farmers get a consistent source of income during the times of the year when it is most needed

The Communitree Program reports on and communicates these impacts through its use of cutting-edge technology. Using Taking Root’s technology platform (formerly known as FARM-TRACE) the Communitree Program uses mobile, satellite and machine learning data to track its impacts with farmers to deliver effective, targeted interventions on farms and give unparalleled transparency to program funders. 


The documents




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SDG details

See how the project provides benefits beyond carbon and contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Sustainable Development Goal How the project contributes
  • At least 60% of the income generated from the program’s carbon credits is distributed directly to farmers, with over $2.1m in payments delivered up to 2019.
  • Income diversification for farmers through the sale of sustainable forest products, helping them develop long terms sustainable livelihoods.
  • Generating thousands of local jobs annually for non-land owning farmers, representing some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the region.
  • Delivering over 10,000 capacity-building workshops annually to farming families and their communities, providing education on climate change issues, local environmental laws and providing training on sustainable farming practices.
  • Working with over 200 women farmers who traditionally face barriers to financing and resources, the program provides financial incentives and training programs for these women to build thriving forest enterprises.
  • Giving communities a renewable source of local firewood from forest management activities, providing an alternative fuel source to wood from deforestation sources.
  • Pioneering the development of a biochar reactor using wood waste from community forest plantations as an alternative to unsustainable environmentally damaging traditional methods of charcoal production.
  • One of the largest employers in the region, providing 2,000 seasonal jobs per year.
  • Developing long term sustainable livelihoods and new income opportunities through the creation of forest enterprises with farmers.
  • Increasing farmer financial resilience by providing new income sources counter-seasonal to agricultural harvests.
  • Providing new employment opportunities with landless farmers, some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the region.
  • Additional revenues created from farmers’ forest products incentivize reforestation practices to ensure ecosystems are managed and maintained for the long term.
  • Increased forest cover across over 3,000 hectares protects local and regional watersheds, strengthening community resilience and adaptive capacity to droughts and flooding.
  • Over 900,000 tons of CO2 being sequestered through reforestation activities.
  • Over 6 million native trees planted to date.
  • Over 100 different native tree species recorded in the project, helping to regenerate biodiverse forest ecosystems and wildlife habitats.
  • Creating alternative, sustainable livelihoods which address the route drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.
  • The CommuniTree Program is working with funders across Europe, North America and Central America to redirect climate financing to over 200 communities and bring thousands of farmers together to build the largest reforestation initiative in Nicaragua.