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Reforestation Is Becoming A Booming Business

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May. 25 2019, Updated 9:43 p.m. ET

According to Fast Company, two nonprofits released a report indicating there's money to be made in the "restoration economy." The Nature Conservancy and World Resources Institute recently co-published "The Business of Planting Trees," which highlights what big business reforestation efforts have become. Their report highlights 14 businesses who have made their money off land restoration in four main sectors: technology, consumer products, project management, and commercial forestry. 

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For nature lovers, saying you can make money off planting trees may seem like a secondary issue to healing the Earth; but seeing potential payback in an investment means that more companies would be willing to branch out. Literally. 

One example of a company that has had success in Cameroon is Land Life Company, which sells seedling kits in the form of circular pods that are buried in the ground and specialize in arid soils:

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But with technology in the forefront of developers' minds, Myanmar based start-up BioCarbon Engineering has tree-planting drones; the company has already placed 2.7 million mangrove trees in a delta of the Irrawaddy River. Their goal is to reach 1 billion with the help of their pod shooting drones.

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Another company is Terviva, which focuses on planting trees that need very little upkeep or irrigation on exhausted farmland. They specifically focus on Pongamia, which is a tree crop that can be turned into biofuel, animal meed, or biomass for electricity generation.

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Sofia Faruqi, who works for the World Resources Institute, told Fast Company that planting trees has become a less laborious and expensive process, so the impetus to do it has heightened.

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“Technology is bringing down the cost of tree planting,” she explained. “We’re also seeing consumers take a greater interest in the environment, in particular in restoration and conservation. We’re seeing great political momentum with large government commitments being made in the last couple of years, and we’re also seeing business model innovation continuing at full speed. The confluence of these factors was not there even two or three years ago in the same way that it is now.”

Traditional forest companies that focus more on land stewardship and cutting down trees as part of a chain of production are also noticing how the market has shifted. People want to put trees in the ground.

“They realize that business as usual is no longer working, and are taking steps to incorporate restoration into their supply chain,” Faruqi said.

A business circle that's actually a growth cycle for the Earth. 

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