13. May 2022

Two forests full of neon green trees

Since launching our neon green account, we have already planted over two  million trees. To keep celebrating milestones, we continue our our partnership with Eden Reforestation Projects – with two dedicated neon forests! We’ll explain where they will grow and how the whole thing works.

Eden Reforestation Projects has been our reliable tree planting partner since the launch of our sustainable everyday account neon green – since May 2021, we have already planted over two million trees with the non-profit organisation. With its initiatives, Eden Reforestation Projects not only rebuilds the planet by planting trees, but also provides sustainable and lasting support for the local communities. You can read more about our collaboration here. And here you can find the certificates for the trees planted.

Our neon forests

After reaching a milestone after the next and coming up to a total of over two million trees planted, we want to keep achieving milestones with two dedicated neon forests. We started in 2022 with forests in Haiti and Madagascar, however, due to the political climate in Haiti, Eden has made the decision to end their operations in «La Vallee DP» and we’ve been offered a replacement site located and named after «Tudor Creek» in southeastern Kenya.  

Eden Reforestation Projects will plant a total of 2'200'000 trees in «Ankarafantsika 3» and «Tudor Creek» over the next five years – a maximum of 440'000 trees per year. Our neon forests are so-called «Shared Designated Planting Sites». This means that we plant the area together with other partners. You can see in the pictures that reforestation has already started in the area: The local population grows seedlings and plants them as soon as they are big enough.

For those who have now done the exact (and correct!) maths: We plant a lot more than 440'000 trees per year. Currently, all neon green users plant between 80'000 and 90'000 trees per month, depending on the month, which means a little more than one million trees planted per year – the growth of our green community not included. In concrete terms, this means that next year 440'000 trees will be planted in our neon forests, the rest will be distributed by Eden itself to the various locations in Nepal, Madagascar, Mozambique, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Honduras, and Brazil – Eden decides where the trees are needed most. Read more here.

A brief digression #1 — Haiti and Eden

Years of deforestation in Haiti have had devastating consequences for the Caribbean island: only 1% of primary forests remain, and the UN estimates that another 30% of the remaining trees are destroyed every year. Eden Reforestation Projects saw a great need for action and began its work in Haiti over 10 years ago. At the very beginning, tree nurseries were opened in four provinces — in the now ten planting areas, Eden's focuses on implementing agroforestry techniques that protects watersheds and improves food security amongst the local population.

On an area of 4'226 hectares, all native tree species from Haiti will be planted, such as Leucaena leucocephala, Delonix regia, or Gliricidia sepium. In addition, by planting mangroves, Eden's team helps stabilise coasts and reduce erosion caused by natural disasters. Eden also equips local farmers with the necessary training, tools and seedlings to increase their food production and biodiversity.

Update July 2023:

Due to the political climate in Haiti, it wasn’t considered a safe environment for Eden’s teams to continue travelling and working on their sites – operations have been finalised on June 30th and Eden has handed over their sites to the local authorities, who will continue to manage and protect the sites. Bryan Adkins, CEO of Eden, states the following with regards to the withdrawal of their Haitian operations: «Due to the political climate in Haiti, it is not safe for our team to travel and work at our project sites. With the civil unrest and political crisis, there is a much greater need for humanitarian relief that we are not able to provide. In addition, over the past year, we have been carefully evaluating our reforestation work with the intention of building on what we have learned so we can continue to increase our community and environmental impact. To do this, we are in the process of transitioning to a more holistic, standards-based landscape restoration approach, which encompasses reforestation and strategies that address the drivers of deforestation. This approach is consistent with the industry expectations for corporate giving to environmental and socially responsible efforts. Due to this evolution, it became clear that we are unable to invest in scaling sites in Indonesia to meet landscape restoration standards. After careful evaluation and consideration of these limitations, along with the current economic climate and downturn in funding, we concluded it is necessary to close our operations in Haiti and Indonesia.»

A brief digression #2 — Madagascar and Eden

Madagascar is one of the world's top priorities for biodiversity conservation because of its native species and severe habitat loss. 75% of Madagascar's species are unique to the island and only 10% of primary forests remain. The destruction of mangrove forests along the coast has on the one hand led to mud being washed into the sea, destroying once productive fisheries, and on the other hand increases the vulnerability of coastal communities to cyclones, tsunamis, and floods.

In response to the large-scale loss of mangroves, Eden began reforestation in Mahajanga in 2007. Together with the local community, Eden cleared the estuary of dead trees, collected a variety of native plant species and planted trees at low tide. Less than a decade later, the area has become a thriving mangrove forest, leading to the return of a healthy aquatic ecosystem.

What began in 2007 with mangrove reforestation was expanded in 2012 to include a variety of dry deciduous forests in the highlands - as well as our planting site in the Ankarafantsika National Park. The park is home to eight endangered lemur species and 70% of the 820 plant species in the park can only be found in Madagascar.

A brief digression #3 – Kenya and Eden

Kenya, known for its diverse wildlife and range of forest types, has experienced extreme deforestation over the past decades. Due to logging, charcoal burning, or illegal settling to create farmland, forest loss was accelerated and led to an increase in severe drought and extreme poverty. In 2019 Eden started working with the local community, a local forest trust, and regional as well as national government institutions to establish their office, planting sites, and nurseries. Planting began in March 2020 and despite a global pandemic, the dedication to achieve a 10% forest cover was not deterred. In that first month alone Eden was able to plant 50’000 trees and since then have continued their efforts. Eden has 45 planting sites in Kenya, of which one is now a dedicated neon planting site named «Tudor Creek». We have started funding the planting on the Kenyan site as of Summer 2023.

What's next for the neon forests?

Eden teams take geotagged photos in the field — this is how planting sites are tagged with location coordinates to accurately document plant establishment and growth over time. The Haiti and Madagascar teams forward the photos to Eden's US verification team, who in turn check the coordinates of the photos. This ensures that the photos are taken within the correct planting boundaries. Eden measures progress at 6-month intervals, starting immediately after planting and continuing for at least three years after project completion.

Eden shares the photos with us after a successful review, and we share them here with you — transparent in neon style.

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