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EM Podcast: Planting Empowerment (and Spreading the Wealth)

Maria Bendana

Project developer Planting Empowerment earns carbon credits by leasing – rather than buying – degraded forest so that local owners can share more fully in the benefits of restoration.  Maria Bendana speaks with co-founder Chris Meyer about the future of REDD, the challenges of small-scale restoration, and the benefits of leaving forests in local hands.

14 April 2010 |   After their Peace Corps service in Panama, Chris Meyer and a few colleagues saw an opportunity to offer socially and environmentally minded investors growth opportunities in sustainably-managed timber projects and began to explore   how carbon revenue could play a part in their model.   The result is Planting Empowerment, one of a growing number of companies that earn money by sustainably managing trees and are dipping their toes in the carbon markets.  

Unlike many forestry businesses, however, PE doesn’t buy land outright from local inhabitants.   Instead, the group establishes reforestation/afforestation projects on deforested or degraded land that belongs to local Panamanians.   PE provides a lease payment to these partners that exceeds the opportunity cost from the land, along with profit sharing and educational opportunities.

*A correction was made to this introduction since it was first published on Ecosystem Marketplace to reflect the fact that Planting Empowerment currently does not have any projects “reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation” (REDD).*

The podcast will soon be available in Spanish for our Latin American and other Spanish speaking audience both here and at www.mercadosambientales.com.

Left-click below to listen in streaming content; right-click to download as mp3 podcast.

Or Click here for the mp3 url of the interview in English

Click here for the mp3 url of the interview in Spanish

Maria Bendana is a research fellow at the Pinchot Institute for Conservation.

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Please see our Reprint Guidelines for details on republishing our articles.