Wovoka Joins Phase 1 of Terraformation's Seed To Carbon Forest Accelerator Program

October 9, 2023

Wovoka is proud to announce that we were recently accepted into Phase 1 of the Seed To Carbon Forest Accelerator Program, run by US-based Terraformation. This program is a biodiversity-focused carbon-funded forest accelerator that aims to create community-based carbon projects, focusing on nature-based climate solutions to restore forests.

Wovoka is joined by four other groups from the Philippines, Indonesia, and New Zealand. Among the participants, Wovoka stands out as the only consortium composed of four distinct community groups working on a reforestation project.

“This cohort brings together a range of talented forestry organizations who believe that we can, and we must, solve climate change. In addition to creating employment and ecosystem services, forests represent our most proven and scalable solution. That is why they are our best hope,” says Yishan Wong, CEO of Terraformation. 

During Phase 1, Wovoka’s carbon team will get remote access to resources, mentorship, and training across various topics that will be valuable for Wovoka’s carbon project implementation.

This exciting opportunity comes with a significant amount of work but our carbon team is eager to meet program deliverables with the support of Terraformation.

“I am thrilled that we've been accepted into the accelerator program! I am really excited to know more about the carbon project development process as well as learn from more experienced restorationists all over the world,” says Celestine Dalida, Wovoka’s Senior Carbon Development Associate.

The accelerator program is designed so that the carbon projects can maximize long-term impact (40+ years) and community engagement. The opportunity to get hands-on training from forest experts furthers Wovoka’s mission of creating community-grown sustainable forests in Southeast Asia. 

Wovoka’s carbon project in Camarines Norte

Wovoka’s pioneer carbon project is in Camarines Norte, Philippines. We have partnered with four People’s Organizations (POs) from various municipalities to reforest more than 1000 hectares of land that is composed of a mix of terrestrial and blue carbon ecosystems.

These lands underwent deforestation and land use conversion in the past decades, leading to the loss of habitats for biodiverse flora and fauna in the region. Once restored, these sites are promising biodiverse nature reserves that have the capacity to lock away additional carbon emissions from the atmosphere and generate high-quality carbon credits.

Photo taken during a joint site visit between Wovoka and Terraformation in Camarines Norte in August 2023 before the start of Phase 1 of the accelerator program. 

Furthermore, Wovoka’s projects are also designed to promote sustainable land use practices among its PO partners' communities and empower them to take an active role in preventing illegal logging and harvesting of trees.

Wovoka co-founder Lee Pearson also emphasized the community-driven approach followed by the company’s carbon projects. 

“At Wovoka, we are different by design. Our expert scientific team is 100% based in the Philippines, where our projects are currently located. We exclusively develop projects with our communities at the lowest overhead cost, such that the majority of the credit revenue funds the people of the community and the experts in the country who make it happen.”

Through nature-based projects, Wovoka’s goal is to help Camarines Norte restore their forests which can provide food security, livelihood opportunities, and ecosystem services to the people of the region.

Wovoka gears up for feasibility study

One of the main deliverables for Phase 1 is a complete feasibility study that allows Wovoka to seek additional funding and carbon verification for the next stages of our carbon project.

Wovoka’s Carbon Development Associate Ginny Tiongson shares her expectations during Phase 1. “I am excited to do the feasibility study and learn from the process as we work closely with the POs. Our work with Terraformation will not only empower our partner communities but also contribute to our overarching goal of environmental conservation and sustainable development in the region.”

We are currently focusing our efforts on getting this accomplished over the next ten weeks. Wovoka is composed of team members who possess specialized expertise in Geographic Information Systems, financial modeling, and legal matters, all of which are critical components in ensuring the successful completion of the feasibility study.

The next steps for the carbon project and Wovoka

Wovoka is targeting to conduct a joint site assessment in Camarines Norte with Terraformation after Phase 1 to scope the possibility of getting the project to the next phase of the accelerator program.

However, nothing is stopping Wovoka from looking for more opportunities to benefit the community. “After Phase 1, we will work with our financing partners to find the best deal for our partner POs, ensuring they keep the majority of the credit revenue and have early community investment upfront in livelihoods. We do not want them to wait to see the benefits of protecting and enhancing their forest for a carbon project,” Pearson shared.

In the next months, Wovoka will be in constant communication with the PO leaders, concerned government agencies, scientists, and stakeholders to meet all required permits and legal documents before implementing the project on the ground.

Early this year, Wovoka already met with Camarines Norte Governor Ricarte Padilla to discuss the project. Governor Padilla was highly supportive of Wovoka’s efforts to drive restoration and protection efforts in Camarines Norte, especially in the neighboring areas of Bicol Natural Park affected by deforestation.

“I am thankful that Wovoka chose Camarines Norte as their pioneer reforestation project site. This will benefit our people, environment, and our planet as we join hands in our initiatives for sustainable development and to stop climate change. Rest assured that we will extend our support and resources in any way we can,” Governor Padilla said via interview.

Wovoka co-founder Lee Pearson, Camarines Norte Governor Ricarte Padilla, and co-founder Nick Huber (left to right) discussing Wovoka’s partnership with different POs in the province for a carbon project.

We are also in the process of recruiting members for an independent scientific board with diverse backgrounds in the fields of marine science, forestry, and sustainable development. They will play a crucial role in guiding the development of our carbon projects ensuring that our methods and operations are done with scientific and social integrity.

If you are interested and qualified to be part of this group or willing to nominate a potential candidate, fill out this application form.

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