Lead by Small-hold farmers
Two decades of impactful community-centered tree planting successes later, the TIST project in Kenya is still growing! With each passing year, a growing community of farmers are including agroforestry on their land as part of the TIST program. But the benefits in carbon payments after trees are planted takes several years to cash in. The initiative closes that gap in conservation finance by supporting farmers right from the beginning of their carbon removal journey. This means their positive efforts for the environment are always rewarded, including when the finance is needed most.
Clean Air Action Corporation (CAAC)
The Earthly Rating
The Earthly rating is the industry-first holistic project assessment. This rating system consists three diameters of the project: carbon restoration, biodiversity, and human resource. Earthly researchers analyze 106 data points, aggregating information across the three vital pillars of carbon, biodiversity and people. Projects in Earthly's marketplace all exceed a minimum score of 5/10.
Project Area: Through Time
With only 7% of the country having tree cover, Kenya is the least forested country in Africa. Kenya suffered severe deforestation from the 1960s to the 1990s, mainly from various illegal activities such as unlicensed timber harvesting and charcoal production. After the perpetrators were removed by the Kenya Forest Service, the degraded lands never regenerated.
TIST Kenya project is an excellent example of how action for nature can be rooted in community development, climate action and impact-oriented conservation practices. The project uses several tools such as hiring local leadership for project management, training on technology for monitoring and climate-resilient farming to create the maximum impact for people and society.
Positive for People
Each tree planted through TIST generates $8 in real benefits for farmers. These benefits start to add up years before carbon finance can be received. This includes production of fruits, nuts and traditional medicine from the plants. The plant leaves are used as livestock fodder and the fallen litter improves soil fertility thus improving crop yield. Many farmers later on go on to become employed as monitoring personnel as TIST management in Kenya predominantly consists of local farmers.
This gift of trees will support investment in communities and people involved within the plantation efforts, opening doors for more people to be employed under the TIST Smallholder farmers groups. This unique structure has seen participation and leadership for women, youth, and other groups who experience discrimination. Today, 50% of TIST leadership and 41% of TIST participants are women.
Good for Earth
“How long will my sponsored tree store carbon” is often the big question around tree plantation projects. Through TIST’s agreement policy, farmers planting trees vow to keep them in the ground for at least 30 years. Since their beginning in early 2000s, TIST has planted 19 million trees globally so far that brings innumerable benefits across biodiversity especially around increased pollinator population, improving soil health, and purifying air quality. Farmers are given the freedom of choice of species which prevents monoculture plantation and improves regional plant biodiversity.
Clean Air Action Corporation (CAAC) is a climate change mitigation and adaptation company founded in 1993. They are one of the leading industry experts on the design and implementation of voluntary and compliance emission reductions programs as well as GHG reduction strategies. In 1999, CAAC founded its flagship The International Small Group and Tree Planting Program (TIST) project. This revolutionary project has two clear goals: first, to support local farmers from impact of climate change by introducing agroforestry practices within their privately owned farmed lands and second, to directly pay farmers from the carbon payments generated from sale of carbon credits. Today, TIST is being successfully implemented in four countries (Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and India) impacting 100,000 farmers and planting over 20 million trees.