Getting paid to plant trees

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Rural Kenyan farmers have joined the global carbon trade:

They are being urged to plant trees, not for firewood, timber or electricity poles, but for absorbing excess carbon from the environment - and they are being paid for it. Through this new concept, 45 members of Rongai Development Programme have each received Sh700 as motivation to join the trade by establishing carbon sinks (forests and tree planting projects)

...Farmers are paid according to the amount of carbon dioxide they help remove from the atmosphere. The final figures are assessed by calculating the height and canopy size of the trees and determining how much carbon they can absorb.

The NGO International Small Group and Tree Planting Programme (TIST) and the Clean Air Action Corporation, an international broker in carbon trade, initiated the project. Its more high-tech then I would have thought:

To determine how much carbon each farmer is helping absorb from the atmosphere, project managers use state-of-the-art technologies. Using global positioning systems, smart phones and laptops, weekly updates are entered into the TIST website. The website is then linked to eBay, an online auction site, so as to promote trade in carbon.

Eunice Kihori, a TIST quantifier, says the regular updates assist buyers get correct data on what to base trade decisions. "The project has been received well in the area with farmers going the extra mile in search of water for their seedlings."

Update: More on Bakelele and IEM.

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