TREEO solves three interrelated problems:
(1) Gross undersupply of high-quality CDR on the market.
(2) At present it is prohibitively expensive for smallholder farmers to enter the carbon market, as a result they lack the incentives to unlock their carbon potential by reforesting degraded land.
(3) CDR buyers lack trust in nature-based CDR projects over concerns of insufficient monitoring and lack of transparency.
TREEO is unique because we bring together technology, carbon methodology, best practice agroforestry, and long-standing experience in forest landscape restoration.
Our technology focuses on the carbon equity of smallholder farmers explicitly. In the TREEO ecosystem, they become valuable asset holders. This is a group that most actors in the CDR ecosystem neglect, thereby missing out on the carbon potential of 500 million smallholder farmers worldwide. With TREEO, CDR becomes the profitable and reasonable activity to perform on degraded lands.
Additionality is firmly rooted within TREEO. Currently, farmers lack incentives to use degraded areas in sustainable ways. Reforestation activities are not profitable per se. The only way to make these activities profitable in the long run and establish a sustainable business model for these areas, is through carbon finance: providing high-quality CDR from reforestation in exchange for pre-financing the activities.
In addition, the TREEO app has a land survey function, which allows users to register their land areas.This way, we can determine specific conditions like soil type, terrain, land ownership status, and prior land use. Therefore, TREEO can assess whether the land is eligible for a carbon financed reforestation project and verify the additionality of tree planting.
The CDRs we currently offer are valid for 10 years. Every grower that uses TREEO will be required to grow trees for 10 years and use our app as a monitoring tool at least once per year. Once the data has been verified, they receive the payout for the carbon removals they supplied. At the end of the 10-year period, the grower can choose to either keep growing trees and receive additional yearly carbon financing, or harvest and replant them.
We intend to utilise the timber construction and biochar pools as long-term carbon storage. This locks up the carbon for at least 50 years, and it provides deforestation-free and sustainable timber for the construction industry. Lots of the tree species we work with are capable of regermination (e.g. Sengon); the trees regrow on their own after the harvest without needing to plant more seedlings.
Natural risks that affect project sites, e.g. fires or floods, are mitigated with a risk buffer that retains 20% of the total revenue to cover over-planting operations and insurance contracts.
Fraudulent or improper use of TREEO technology e.g. measuring the same tree multiple times, using smaller reference cards (reference cards are used to measure the tree diameter at breast height with a smartphone camera) or using a fake GPS location app will be automatically detected by TREEO algorithms. TREEO combines multiple data sources, previous measurements, historical performance of tree growth, data and satellite imagery from nearby areas to identify mistakes or fraud. TREEO employs local field coordinators to visit and check areas that were flagged by algorithms. This could happen due to fraud or over/underperformance of tree growth in specific areas. The findings from field coordinators will be used to improve the algorithms.
TREEO will publish verified data in an open project registry that will allow the scientific community to independently review project quality. We are planning to utilise blockchain technology for the project registry. Whether we will build our own TREEO registry or partner with an existing carbon registry is yet undecided.
TREEO caters to a two-sided market. We connect companies with net-zero targets (CDR buyers) with tree planting partners and farmers (CDR suppliers).
Companies pay a fixed price per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). This is currently priced at €30, however, this will likely increase in the future. At present, we plan to establish a pricing corridor i.e. a minimum price and a maximum price. This flexibility will ensure price differences due to planting context. No other actor is charged—farmers and tree planting partners use TREEO for free.
The payout structure is as follows:
TREEO finalises a contract with the CDR buyer for a certain amount of CDR. Buyers pay 50% of the total amount up front (€15 for 1 tCO2e), which TREEO distributes to the farmers and TPPs. This pre-financing is necessary to help cover the farmers’ upfront costs and the tree planting partners. Both the farmers and the TPPs have the highest expenses in the first year of a CDR project: farmers have to prepare their land and TPPs must recruit and register farmers, organise farmer field schools, provide all infrastructure and equipment, and grow and deliver seedlings.
The grower simply holds up their TREEO reference card to the tree and takes a photo using their smartphone. Based on this data, the tree scanner is able to work out the DBH.
The tree scanner calculates a tree’s diameter (DBH) using computer vision and image analysis algorithms. Our measurement accuracy is 94%.
So far we have successfully scanned and measured 17,069 trees.
TREEO uses satellite data to cross-check data collected on the ground by farmers using the mobile app, we do not use it to measure carbon dioxide. The satellite data provides independent verification that the tree cover corresponds with ground data.
We have tested different approaches using publicly available satellite data (Sentinel-2 dataset). QGIS and Google Earth Engine were used to detect the change of tree cover for selected areas. Our next step is to explore additional data sources, including paid satellite imagery and automate the process. We are also looking for partnerships that will speed up this process.
The app can be downloaded in the Google Play store or from: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.treeo.treeo
Yes. The TREEO app works on Android version 5.1 and above.
No. The TREEO app is designed for smallholder farmers in countries of the Global South. We talked to hundreds of farmers, not a single one had an iPhone.
Please let us know if you want to use TREEO on iPhone, or subscribe to our newsletter to know when TREEO will be available for iPhone.
Yes. The app works well without an internet connection, however you do need to be connected to the internet to send measurement data to TREEO.
Your data will be stored in the TREEO app until you connect to the internet. The app requires an internet connection to register, login and to upload data you collected in the field.
Our app calculates the timber value of trees, provides training materials and agroforestry tips, and helps you join other TREEO projects. The TREEO app works best with partnering tree planting partners.
There are workshops held near TREEO branches. Check the “What’s new” section in the app for more information.
Yes, the app will indicate your potential revenue from selling your timber based on current market prices.
In the app you can join a Whatsapp group in your area, ask for help, and get tips on tree maintenance etc.
You only need your phone’s camera and the TREEO card. This card is used as a reference for the size of the tree.
By measuring your trees with the TREEO card, the TREEO app can calculate the price of individual trees, entire stands, timber volumes, and CO2 removals.
Trees are measured via image processing through the TREEO App with the TREEO card. Their diameter is saved in a file associated with that specific plot of land. In addition to the tree's diameter, the file also contains the tree's GPS location, thus providing confirmation that the tree is on that plot.
No. You only need your phone number, you will be sent a new 4-digit code each time you want to log in.
Yes. The app contains information on tree planting and maintenance.
The courses will cover topics such as tree species, tree maintenance, correct planting techniques, medicinal use of leaves etc. They are currently being developed.
By sharing information about your land with us, we'll be able to provide recommendations on which trees to plant, how many to plant, and spacing etc.
Also, to join the project we need proof that you really own the land.
No. At present the app cannot be used to call TREEO.
The timber prices displayed in the app are an indication and cannot be guaranteed.
TREEO is designed primarily for use in Indonesia and Uganda. Every time you measure a tree you’re providing us with very important data that enables us to improve the algorithm.
Yes. The card provides the correct scale so that the algorithm can process the measurement and provide accurate data.
Contact either the Tree Planting Partner that you work with or write to firstname.lastname@example.org