International Institute for Environment and Developmen (IIED) and Humanist Institute for Co-operation with Developing Countries (Hivos) launched a two-year strategic partnership to provide research-based policy advice to improve sustainable food systems and access to energy in developing and emerging countries.
In Nicaragua IIED and Hivos looked at an ongoing project that links forest activities in smallholder agriculture to carbon sequestration. The CommuniTree project, managed by Taking Root, is the only example reviewed in our series that is fully financed through the sale of carbon offsets. This project is different from the other partner studies chosen for the PES Learning Trajectory Programme. It is a more established project with an ongoing carbon component that has made continuous sales. While it is a smallholder project, it focuses on timber rather than energy or soil fertility, uses a different standard (Plan Vivo Standard, while the other projects use the Gold Standard), and makes cash payments directly to farmers. It is not a Hivos-related project, although it takes place in the same region as the PASCAFEN project also analysed in this series. Through the project, farmers establish mixed native species forest plantations on under-utilised portions of their farms in exchange for cash payments from carbon and potential future sales of timber when the trees reach maturity. The project has established a successful approach to using technology to keep transaction costs manageable, and an active marketing approach that ensures carbon sales are secured.