Plan Vivo - Fair Trade Forestry

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Plan Vivo - Fair Trade Forestry

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Plan Vivo projects in Uganda and Mexico enable thousands of smallholder farming families to make a modest income by preserving and expanding local forests, and find sources of income which allow them to sustainably use their land. The farmers are establishing tree plantations on land previously used as pasture, growing timber and fruit interspersed with corn and coffee crops, and restoring degraded forest land to return it to a healthy habitat for wildlife and a valuable watershed to prevent erosion.

Each farmer draws up his or her own work plan - called a "Plan Vivo" - which is unique to their land and its conditions. The plan describes what areas will be restored, what types of trees will be planted, and what the environmental benefits will be. Farmers begin the projects without any financial aid, with technical support from local nonprofit organizations. Once established, financing is available and the projects are monitored for efficacy. Without financial support for these sustainable efforts, desperation for food and necessities will lead the residents to sell off the land for cattle grazing or large-scale intensive farming.

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According to the world health organization, roughly 3 billion people still cook and heat their homes using solid fuels in open fires and leaky stoves. This produces high levels of indoor air pollution with a range of health-damaging pollutants - up to 100 times higher than acceptable levels. Exposure is particularly high among women and young children, who spend the most time near the stoves.

Fuel gathering consumes considerable time for women and children, limiting other activities and taking children away from school. Non-renewable harvesting of biomass also contributes to deforestation (and climate change.) More efficient cook stoves relieve pressure on forests, while reducing health issues, and freeing up time spend gathering fuel, by drastically reducing fuel needs. But cook stove usage is very localized, and new technology must meet the needs of the users and be culturally appropriate, or it will fail to be used over the long term.

There are a number of initiatives that use VCS, Gold Standard, and other carbon credits to support the manufacturing, distribution, and training programs necessary for the growth of the efficient cookstove sector. This developing world "low tech - clean tech" approach has significant benefits to both people and the planet. Through the global cook stove fund, we support a portfolio of these initiatives.