The Business of Restoring The World’s Forests

July 24, 2023

At Wovoka, our mission is to empower large-scale landowners in Southeast Asia to rejuvenate nature by originating high-quality nature-based carbon credit projects. In order to push our goals forward, we partner with mission-aligned organizations in the voluntary carbon market that can support our stakeholders.

Wovoka Carbon Projects in Southeast Asia

Wovoka is currently engaged in discussions with nine People's Organizations (PO) responsible for managing mangrove and terrestrial forests in Camarines Norte, Philippines. These forests cover an extensive range of 200 to 1,800 hectares, featuring diverse tree species within their open canopies. The local communities rely on these forests for their livelihoods, utilizing and selling agroforestry products. Unfortunately, like many other forests in the Philippines, these valuable ecosystems are under the threat of deforestation caused by illegal logging and timber harvesting for charcoal production.

Here is how Wovoka can help. Wovoka specializes in identifying prospective sites for scaling up nature protection and restoration projects and working with community-based land managers to agree on a project plan. Our dedicated team of carbon development experts is capable to model the potential carbon sequestration capacity of these areas over certain timeframes. We then partner with others who can provide technical and financial support to get the best deal for both the local land managers and the planet. 

Learnings From The Field with Terraformation

Recently, Wovoka convened with Terraformation’s Vice-President of Growth & Capital Markets Yee Lee to gain insights from his experience working on the business of restoring the world’s forests. Terraformation is a company with nature restoration at its core. They have recently launched an accelerator program that provides technical and financial support for project developers.

Wovoka interviews Yee Lee, VP for Growth and Capital Markets at Terraformation

From Tech To Climate Change

For 25 years, Yee Lee built an extensive track record in engineering and product management in giant tech companies like Paypal, Google, and Facebook. Now, Yee Lee is Vice-President of Growth & Capital Markets at Terraformation, which offers early-stage financing to biodiverse carbon projects. The company’s mission is to reverse climate change by restoring native forests.

When asked how a successful tech entrepreneur such as himself gets involved in the field of climate change, Yee draws inspiration from envisioning a world for his children. 

“By 2019, I had founded multiple startups and worked at major technology companies for over 20 years in Silicon Valley. My eldest child turned 12 that year and we started conversing about what they might do when they grew up. I had known about climate change ever since I was a kid but had always assumed that governments would take care of this problem.

But the more I talked with my kids, the more I thought about what their world was likely to be like — how the weather was changing, how the water supply was likely to shift, and how food production was going to be different by the time they got to be my age.

I decided by the end of 2019 to get out of the technology space and dedicate the rest of my career to working on climate change.”

Sequestering carbon by reforestation

“Our planet’s ecosystems have the capability of sequestering hundreds of gigatons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere if we help restore natural ecosystems. Terraformation is dedicated to restoring the world’s forests to stabilize our climate, revive ecosystems, and build thriving communities.

Yee Lee further emphasizes how Terraformation works to build the capacity of forestry teams around the world in overcoming other major bottlenecks to restoration at scale.

“We prioritize biodiversity, climate equity, and the local community that stewards the projects. Many of these projects generate complementary sustainable revenue streams to support local economies.”

Addressing gaps in the forest restoration industry

In the next decade, the world will need thousands of new reforestation teams to capture carbon at scale and limit the impacts of climate change. However, nearly every forest restoration project is underfunded and needs training and equipment.

Terraformation’s Seed to Carbon Forest Accelerator, the world’s first biodiversity-focused, carbon-funded forest accelerator program, offers wrap-around support to emerging forestry teams. 

The accelerator program helps in providing forestry teams with the tools to launch restoration projects and succeed at scale. These include early-stage financing, training in resilient native ecosystem restoration, and tools to increase project transparency in critical early stages.

The perspective of the carbon buyers

Apart from climate change issues, Yee Lee also identifies quality control as one of the biggest challenges facing the carbon offtake market today.

“Carbon buyers are worried about buying carbon credits that later may turn out to not have been truly additional to carbon sequestration or were generated through exploitative labor or land practices.” 

Yee Lee also adds, “Terraformation works to address quality concerns by ensuring that our forestry projects align with popular carbon credits standards, restore biodiverse ecosystems, respect indigenous lands, and support UN SDGs for inclusive labor and local economic benefit.”

Climate action needs to be global

“The challenge of combating climate change is so vast that all types of entities can and must collaborate to make an impact. Terraformation works with corporations, non-profit NGOs, as well as governments to start carbon projects and native forest restoration projects all around the world.”

To date, Terraformation has started 19 projects worldwide on every continent except Antarctica and Australia.

Wovoka’s Key Takeaways

1. Reforestation project developers play a crucial role in restoring natural ecosystems and therefore achieving the Net Zero Goal by 2050. Programs that can provide financial support and capacity to emerging reforestation teams make way for the successful launching of restoration projects at scale.  

2. Transparency and quality control build credibility. Carbon buyers seek assurance that carbon credit projects adhere to economic, environmental, and legal standards governing the industry. 

3. The path to realizing SDGs centers on collaboration. All types of entities — corporations, NGOs, non-profit organizations, and governments must work together to solve climate change. 

Wovoka’s Commitment

Wovoka is dedicated to delivering high-quality carbon credits. Our model design adheres to reputable and well-informed carbon standards, ensuring the use of credible baselines and the production of a quantifiable and verifiable climate impact. This is how we contribute to the global effort of achieving Net Zero.

However, Wovoka's commitment extends beyond climate considerations. Our community-based climate action maximizes benefits for local communities through engagement, capacity-building, and collaboration. We also prioritize fair and transparent benefit-sharing with our stakeholders, which helps mitigate existing social imbalances and fosters economic resilience.

Get insights on nature-based solutions in Southeast Asia!
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Monthly email – No spam. Ever.