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TerraMatch the Tinder for tree growing

Tree planting was at the top of the international agenda in early 2020 when the World Economic Forum announced the Trillion Trees initiative, an effort to protect and plant enough trees to fight climate change and transform rural economies. Source: Timberbiz

Many other companies and funders are also working to plant tens of millions of trees worldwide. But planting trees isn’t enough – growing trees the right way involves engaging local communities, selecting the right species for the landscape, maintaining trees for years after planting, measuring impact over time and much more.

World Resources Institute (WRI) has developed TerraMatch to help fill this gap.

TerraMatch is a new (beta) platform that connects funders with projects growing trees the right way. It combines investment from the private sector, expertise from local project developers, and decades of research-driven work to restore deforested and degraded land.

The methodology behind TerraMatch has already moved funding to projects in developing countries, creating jobs and restoring landscapes. Across nine countries in Africa and Latin America, WRI has matched funders with projects that have started growing more than 2 million trees on farms and in forests.

What is stopping funders from growing millions of trees right now? According to WRI they have trouble finding enough high-quality projects run by trusted implementers. They often don’t know which trees are appropriate for the landscape and will thrive for decades after they sprout.

Some efforts do little more than plant seedlings without maintenance or monitoring. And some do not engage local communities effectively or address concerns they might have.

WRI vets all projects and funders to create a serious community dedicated to growing trees the right way. Approved developers post project pitches onto the platform, reviewed by WRI, which contain key information on location, species of trees involved, historical survival rates of their trees, local benefits for people, their methods of restoration, and more.

TerraMatch also provides a space for tree-growers to explain the true costs of their work beyond the simple act of planting. At the same time, funders post offers of their own, explaining what kinds of projects they hope to fund and how much they want to spend. Then, both parties search through the system and match, beginning a conversation that can lead to transformative impact.