WithOneSeed Community Forest Programme

WithOneSeed tree farmers

Simple action, many people, big impact – the WithOneSeed way

The WithOneSeed community forestry program, developed by xpand Foundation, is the first social enterprise acting on climate change through community lead forestry and carbon markets in Timor-Leste. It is dedicated to improving the resilience of subsistence communities to make environments sustainable, to end poverty and hunger, to deliver agroforestry education and create regional and international partnerships.

It’s about climate, economic and social justice. Putting an earned dollar in a person’s pocket empowers them to make decisions for their own future.  

Our approach is simple in its theory and application. We’re growing trees and planting ideas. Our innovation comes from the annual incentive payments made to subsistence farmers who maintain the trees, paid from the sale of carbon credits in the international carbon market.

It is beyond charity and aid.

World Economic Forum


The link between poverty and trees

Across the world, forest loss is linked to growing poverty rates. With forests in Timor-Leste having declined every year since 1975, this has (and will continue to have) alarming repercussions for its population. When forests are destroyed, local people often lose access to food, fuel, water and other produce they rely on. Additionally, deforestation contributes to climate change which impacts not only the development of least developed countries but also the quality of life on earth, both human and animal.


Breaking the cycle

Given many subsistence farmers in Timor-Leste live on less than $1 a day, crops that can sustain a household have always been a priority. Understandably so, given this is often their entire livelihood and means to feed their families. Over the last 11 years, WithOneSeed has been working with farmers to turn trees into income. Through the WithOneSeed program, tree nurseries are set up in remote villages and local subsistence farmers receive an annual payment to plant and grow these seedlings on their land. Through this activity, WithOneSeed is helping to mitigate climate change and break the cycle between tree loss and poverty. 


Environmental, economic and social justice

These trees not only equal money in farmers’ pockets, but the environmental benefits of trees are also significant. In addition to helping reduce atmospheric carbon levels, reforestation reduces soil erosion, improves soil and water quality, thereby impacting crop yields and nutrition, leading to better health and well-being of communities and promoting regenerative development.


The economic and social benefits of WithOneSeed are also substantial. WithOneSeed can double the annual incomes of subsistence-farming families with incentive payments, a small amount per tree for each year the tree is alive, generated from the sale of carbon credits. The additional income is increasing financial independence and freedom to make choices about how families live, including, for many, making it possible for their children to complete their schooling. The program is helping to build the local economy, boost education and training, and increase social and economic participation.


Project Impacts and benefits

Today, over 1,200 small landholders are growing more than 250,000 forest trees on their smallholder farms which have sequestered over 80,000 tonnes of CO2. The WithOneSeed program has sold 45,000 carbon credits through global carbon markets, bringing in over $600,000 to the local economy. With over 5% of Baguia farmers now directly involved in planting and managing trees, this flows on to just under 30% of the population financially benefiting from growing trees. 

WithOneSeed community forestry started in Baguia, Timor-Leste in 2010. The program achievements to date are:

  • 1200+ farmers engaged in community forestry
  • 252,000+ trees under management
  • 80,000+ tCO2eremoved from the global atmosphere
  • More than 45,000 carbon credits soldinternationally to companies driving toward carbon neutrality
  • Nearly US$600,000 paidinto the Baguia village economy since 2010
  • Over 5%of Baguia farmers directly involved in planting and managing trees flowing on to just under 30% of the population benefitting financially from WithOneSeed
  • 22permanent full-time jobs and 15 casual jobs created
  • Baguia Farmer Finance Cooperativeestablished
  • WithOneSeed achieving the internationally certified carbon forestry programunder the Gold Standard Foundation
  • Internationally recognised Master Tree Growers agroforestry trainingprogram established in Baguia
  • MOU with the Governmentof the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste providing authenticity to the WithOneSeed program.
  • 10 of the 17United Nations Sustainable Development Goals being addressed by WithOneSeed.
  • Established Foundation Rai Matak (Green Land)in 2019 to manage expansion across Timor-Leste to be managed and directed by Timorese for Timorese.


MRV – TreeO2 Community Forestry Platform

WithOneSeed strives to achieve the highest standards of certification and we have developed TreeO2 to help us deliver accurate, transparent and accountable measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) 

TreeO2 is a tree-tracking tech platform that uses GPS and data to manage community forestry to the highest possible standards. Our platform uses unique RFD nails to geotag every tree we plant. Our app allows us to track and measure our impact as well as pay our farmers. www.TreeO2.org


Why Timor-Leste

Timor-Leste is a low-income subsistence-farming economy. It continues to suffer the after-effects of a decades-long independence struggle against Indonesia, which destroyed essential infrastructure and displaced thousands of civilians.

Agriculture dominates the Timorese economy, accounting for 25% of GDP and approximately 75% of employment. Insufficient food production has led to a dependency on imports of rice and other commodities. Poverty is widespread in rural areas and health and education levels are poor.

Forty-one per cent of the Timor-Leste population lives below the poverty line, the average annual family income is no more than a couple of hundred dollars, more than half the population is unable to read or write and 70% of children do not reach primary school grade six.

In 1975 about half the land in Timor-Leste was primary and secondary forest. By 1989 areas of forest dropped to about 40% and the forests continue to decline at nearly 2% a year.

Of critical importance to the people of Timor-Leste is the implementation of strategies to restore landscapes to a sustainable position, maintain them on an ongoing basis and achieve a range of environmental, social and economic outcomes, particularly food security, improved water supply and creation of employment and economic opportunity.

One of the key goals is to achieve change in the way that the community uses the natural environment.

Developing the economic security of rural populations is essential to ensure progress in developing countries. One of the most damaging consequences of poverty in rural communities is the flight of people into the cities with the resultant problems of homelessness, unemployment, overpopulation and the collapse of social order.

One of the greatest contributions that can be made to the economic and social health of a developing country is to help keep families on the land, housed, employed, earning an increasing income and able to provide for their children’s working and educational future.

Family employment also ensures the employment of women and maintains their important roles in society and in education.

An outcome of special significance to disadvantaged rural communities will be the improved formal educational opportunities for children, facilitated by increasing and secure family income.

WithOneSeed is based on an annual tree-planting program, through a community managed farmer cooperative. Small holder subsistence farmers receive an annual incentive payment for planting, managing and maintaining forest trees on their land. This facilitates the building of village economies. To put an ‘earned’ dollar is someone’s pocket give them the power to determine their own future. 

WithOneSeed is the first internationally certified community farming program under the Gold Standard A/R standard in Timor-Leste and the Asia Pacific region.

The WithOneSeed program has embraced the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

WithOneSeed particularly helps realise the UN SDGs by helping to:

  • end poverty and hunger and promote sustainable farming and lifelong learning
  • promote decent work, sustainable agricultural communities and economic growth
  • act to combat climate change, manage forests and reverse land degradation
  • encourage global partnerships for sustainable development through regional relationships 
  • empower women and children, particularly girls, by increasing family income, facilitating children’s education and creating family job prospects. 

 Furthermore, WithOneSeed also embraces the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in strongly committing to the right to:

  • life, liberty and security of a person
  • work, to free choice of employment
  • an adequate standard of living 
  • education
  • full and free personal development available through community participation.


Our planet needs trees now more than ever.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests that reforestation and forest conservation alone could account for up to 30% of the solution to keeping to the Paris Climate Agreement of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees. New forests can deliver a huge carbon stock, as well as provide opportunities for sustainable livelihoods and biodiversity conservation.

Our long-term vision is to develop social enterprise models that can contribute to building village-based economies using environmental and community-based practices that are viable and support sustainable living.

Replenish the planet with everything you do.

For more information, please email Andrew Mahar - andrew@xpand.net.au

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