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Farming in the forest – How much can agroforestry support the growth of biodiversity?

Impact Institute has teamed up with Acorn Rabobank to quantify the benefits of agroforestry on biodiversity with an initial pilot program in Latin America.

Assessing the value of monitoring trees with satellite imagery

Impact Institute has partnered with Acorn Rabobank to assess the value of agroforestry practices on biodiversity. An initial pilot program by Acorn Rabobank has been launched in Latin America to monitor and quantify the benefits of agroforestry on biodiversity, in which Impact Institute has stepped in to help with assessing the value of their practices.

Local smallholder farmers are encouraged to adopt agro-forestry practices by planting trees around and among their crops and pastures to capture carbon. The captured carbon is monitored via remote sensing techniques such as satellite imagery.

The method: Capturing the value of biodiversity improvement

The program aims to switch farmers from conventional farming methods to practices of agro-forestry, which can benefit the environment, social, and economic aspects of biodiversity. To estimate the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services restored through Acorn’s projects, Impact Institute is exploring how the True Price methodology can be used.

The methodology aims to express the value of nature in clear monetary terms by understanding what nature truly has to offer to humans and wildlife.

While the value of biodiversity can possibly never be fully measured in economic terms, there are tools available, such as the Biodiversity Footprint Calculator or GID Biodiversity Impact Data, that organisations can and should use as a starting point to assess and measure their impact.

Assessing biodiversity of Coffee Farms in Columbia

The benefits of the program: Improving livelihoods and the planet

The pilot study results show that applying agroforestry practices to farms increases the value of biodiversity year by year. With 80% of all Acorn’s carbon removal unit (CRU) sales going back to the farmers, agroforestry also brings financial benefits for them through additional income from crop trees and carbon finance.

This innovative project will help restore habitats and improve biodiversity and micro-climates in targeted areas, providing tangible benefits to local livelihoods and biodiversity globally.

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