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CO2 Operate BV

Gula Gula Food Forest Program



Ecosystem restoration

Project activity

Reforestation, Afforestation, Afforestation/Reforestation

Plan Vivo

Verification status

by Plan Vivo-Approved Expert Reviewer

About the project

BACKGROUND: The Gula Gula Food Forest program is located in the Singkarak river basin, a resource-scarce rural area in West Sumatra province (Indonesia). In this region, past deforestation and inappropriate land use practices have cleared most of the trees turning the upland areas into a degraded state where Imperata grasslands and ferny landscapes are the climax vegetation. The social enterprise CO2 Operate, its local partner Rimbo Pangan Lestari and the local farming communities have developed a highly effective, low-cost method to restore tree cover on these degraded areas. With technical expertise in grass-root level agroforestry, CO2 Operate aims to empower farmers to improve forest and agricultural practices. Started in 2009, this ecosystem restoration project involves 407 hectares of degraded lands turned back into productive forest food areas benefiting 425 farmers and their families. In 2023-2024, the target is to extend by another 100-150 hectares adding an additional 170 farmers to the project. ACTIVITIES: The project applies Plan Vivo’s “Afforestation/reforestation” and “improved land management” methodologies. It focuses on three main activities: - Ecosystem rehabilitation: Agroforestry using Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) techniques combined with intercropping of valuable trees. - Improved land management: a change from high external input vegetable cultivation to low external input agroforestry development agroforests - Ecosystem restoration: natural regeneration of severely degraded secondary forests by preventing annual wildfires GENERAL FACTS: The project is certified under Plan Vivo, an ICROA-endorsed certification standard focused on smallholders and community benefits. From 2012 to 2023, the Gula Gula Food Forest Program sequestered 85,470 tonnes of CO2 and rehabilitated 407 hectares of land. MONITORING: Monitoring is conducted every 3 years to assess, among others, above- and below-ground biomass development, as well as the number of hectares of reforested land. Reports are publicly available on Plan Vivo who validates and verifies the monitoring data. Each monitoring report is consistently tracked by recalculating assumed baseline conditions and proposing corrective actions, if necessary. ADDITIONALITY: Income from carbon credits is crucial for project implementation as there are no governmental funds or additional income streams in place that can sufficiently finance the project activities. National policies and support programs mostly target forests and forest land controlled by provincial and district authorities in West Sumatra, and do not apply to private lands. CLIMATE CO-BENEFITS: In addition to carbon sequestration, the implementation of regenerative and restorative land management practices contribute to the reduction of soil erosion, increased water retention and improved soil fertility. BIODIVERSITY CO-BENEFITS: The project activities focus on degraded land with little biodiversity. However, sustainable agroforestry practices in combination with the planting of native tree species, can establish biodiverse food forests in 5 years. The project area is home to species such as asian leopards, sumatran tigers or eagles. SOCIAL CO-BENEFITS: The local community plays a central role in the development and the implementation of the project to foster a strong sense of ownership among the participants. West Sumatra is home to matrilineal societies which grant women land control and ownership of resources. Public participation is rooted in the traditional values of the communities. In the context of the project, public consultations are held for men and women to express their opinions and establish project milestones. The communities targeted by the program live in precarious financial conditions. The local people’s average income is almost half of the province’s legal minimum wage. Through forest and land restoration activities, the local community has access to an alternative steady source of food and income in an area severely affected by the decline in fish stock, previously a major source of income. Trees planted are chosen by the local community to fit their needs and preferences. The restoration technique is within reach for farmers of all economic backgrounds, including those who are the most impoverished. It requires only simple tools such as a lodging board to compress the imperata grasslands and/or cut down the ferns using a machete, which helps minimize competition for both existing and newly planted trees. By providing training in effective and organic tree management methods, as well as implementing village-based processing, the value of food forest products is enhanced. This not only contributes to increased local incomes but also promotes rural employment opportunities for everyone involved. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: SDGs are at the heart of the project and have been certified: 1. No poverty 8. Decent work and economic growth 12. Responsible consumption and production 13. Climate Action 15. Life on land 17. Partnerships for the goals

Co-benefits certification

No certification

SDG claims

SDG claims verified by an official third party.

SDG claims reported by the supplier but not verified by an official third party.


Retired carbon credits shown in this climate portfolio are verified. Portfolios might contain: (a) future credits (commitments), that will be verified once the retirement becomes available; (b) credits that were not purchased through the CEEZER marketplace, and therefore did not undergo our quality screening; (c) credits that originate from registries that we do not support.

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