- Mongabay has launched an upgrade to Reforestation.app, our global directory of tree planting projects, aimed at improving transparency in the sector.
- Reforestation.app is a free online tool for people to support reforestation by providing a way to identify projects that match their interests and motivations.
- The update includes improved project search functionality, a step-by-step guide to filtering projects, and the ability to update and add new projects.
Reforestation initiatives are more popular than ever, with thousands of projects around the world led by private companies, nonprofits, institutions, governments and communities. So how can an investor or donor decide which projects to support? What kinds of questions should be asked to evaluate tree planting projects and ensure they are delivering the results they promise?
To help answer these questions, Mongabay has partnered with Vizzuality to bring greater transparency to the reforestation landscape. Reforestation.app is a user-friendly tool for reforestation experts, practitioners and supporters to connect to projects through improved transparency and access to information.
Recently updated, Reforestation.app features a revamped user interface, improved search and filter functionality, and step-by-step guidance to help people identify projects that match a variety of motivations and interests.
Closing the lack of transparency in tree planting
Mongabay has a long history of providing the public with high quality environmental information through independent journalism. Reforestation.app builds on this work by improving the availability of tree planting information and providing important context for people looking to find a suitable project.
“Much of Mongabay’s work is dedicated to telling the story of deforestation, so this tool makes it easier for our newsroom to investigate what tree-planting projects hope to achieve by making forests regrow, who’s involved in the work and how progress is communicated.” says Willie Shubert, Mongabay’s Global Program Director. “We have observed a large gap in the disclosure of information about tree planting projects, so our efforts to improve the transparency of these projects are essential to the success of the sector.” Currently, there is no formal third-party certification or verification process for forest restoration projects. But projects can use Reforestation.app as a guide to improve their transparency.
A transparency index
Mongabay initially populated the database with over 350 projects and organized searches for projects that publicly disclose the relevant criteria experts say are the keys to success. These criteria are grouped into five categories: contextual, ecological, economic, institutional and social. Mongabay drew the project’s 36 criteria primarily from the Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) approach, widely heralded as the gold standard in the restoration industry. The FLR approach is centered on the people who depend on the forest, aiming to restore ecological functionality while improving human well-being, with a strong emphasis on monitoring and adapting the project to changes over time.
This analysis brings greater transparency to the world of reforestation. But why did Mongabay choose to bet on transparency? Higher levels of project transparency indicate that a tree planting organization is aware of the complexities involved in a successful restoration project and has both the personnel and the capacity to organize, monitor and report. account of its results – all crucial elements for the success of planting trees across deforested landscapes.
An important caveat is that the database is informed entirely by an organization’s self-reporting. The absence of information on an organization’s website does not necessarily mean that the organization has neglected to meet these criteria. So, rather than making an assessment (and perceived endorsement) of a project’s quality, Mongabay looks at the amount of information an organization discloses publicly through its website and annual reports. In other words: how much information does an organization share publicly? If he is not disclosing important information about his plans, it may be prudent to ask why.
For a curation tool to be optimized for its target audience, it is necessary to have a high quality and impactful user interface. For this reason, Mongabay has partnered with Vizzuality to make Reforestation.app a reality.
“We found the previous version to be satisfactory, but the new changes provide a solid foundation for growth,” says Pablo Urrutia, Project Manager at Vizzuality. “Reforestation.app has a better design for the needs of existing users: submitting, editing or browsing projects with filters. We focused on better navigation and improved context at every step, adding a search bar, step-by-step guidance, additional project details, and more. We look forward to seeing how these changes improve the experience for users and Mongabay. »
The new design facilitates navigation by offering an intuitive and user-friendly interface. Overall, this upgrade makes the experience of finding a suitable reforestation project for users faster, easier, and more enjoyable.
Notable features include enhanced search functionality, allowing users to narrow their search criteria based on their motivations and interests through advanced search options, including step-by-step guidance across all five categories . These upgrades give those concerned about reforestation easy access to quality and transparent data to inform their decision-making.
How it works
To find projects corresponding to specific interests, users can filter the reforestation catalog using the 36 indicators grouped into five categories: contextual, ecological, economic, institutional and social. Users can then examine the details based on the project diagram, where the pie chart represents the entire transparency for each project. Clicking provides more information.
Mongabay will continue to add new projects to Reforestation.app. Individuals can also use the project submission form if they don’t yet see their preferred organization listed (and will be notified if their suggestion is approved). Users can use the Submit Project button at the top of every page to add a new project. Additionally, anyone can suggest an update to existing projects by filling out the form linked to the Suggest Page Changes button available on each project page. All changes are reviewed and verified by Mongabay before being published.
Build a community
Along with the creation of Reforestation.app, Mongabay has also launched a brand new reforestation newsletter aimed at a growing global community of people interested in this topic. This is the best way to stay updated on new Reforestation.app developments and the latest reforestation projects and news from around the world. Subscribers can expect to receive one email per month with several tree planting resources, such as podcasts, videos, news articles and events. If you want to be part of this budding community, sign up here.