Terraformation launches new alliance to tackle global seed shortage and scale reforestation
Terraformation, the world’s first global forest carbon accelerator, has announced the launch of the Seed to Forest Alliance, with American Forests, Ecosystem Restoration Camps and One Tree Planted as founding members, as well as 1t.org US as an advisory partner.
Launching at Climate Week NYC 2022, the Alliance supports biodiverse, native reforestation by providing a network to connect forestry teams with financial and technical support; members, who will include corporates, NGOs, and philanthropists, will contribute to research and thought leadership to accelerate reforestation, and share results, best practices and expertise to help the reforestation movement overcome the largest bottlenecks to scale.
The Alliance will initially focus on inadequate seed supply as a barrier to reforestation at scale. New research published by Terraformation sheds light on the significant scale of upgrades required in the world’s existing seed banking infrastructure to meet global restoration goals.
In recent years, global companies have committed to planting over 3.6 billion trees in their sustainability plans. At COP26, $7.2 billion of private investment was committed to protect and restore forests. However, these targets are not achievable without investment and innovation in global seed banking infrastructure.
Yishan Wong, founder and CEO of Terraformation, said: “Lasting climate solutions only come from collective action across diverse stakeholders. We’re incredibly excited to be working with organizations with the expertise, influence and determination to have a real impact on reforestation around the world. Native ecosystem restoration — with the right plants in the right places — is the most effective and immediately scalable carbon capture solution. Together, we can restore the future of our planet by conserving one of our most valuable resources at the heart of restoration: the seeds.”
Kevin O’Hara, Lead of 1t.org US at American Forests, added: “Time and time again we hear the real and immediate challenges in finding the seeds necessary to reach our ambitious national reforestation goals. 1t.org US is proud to support the work the Seed to Forest Alliance will do to help lift up public, private and NGO efforts to ramp up seed supply here in the US and around the world.”
New research reveals urgency for global seed bank network
Against this backdrop, Terraformation has published The Global Seed Bank Index, the first global review of seed banking infrastructure. The report analyzed the number of seed banks needed to meet the “global restoration potential,” defined as the area of land in the world available for ecological restoration.
The research found that a global decentralized seed bank network would drastically improve restoration outcomes, preserve threatened species, and benefit local communities.
Key findings include:
Currently, 410 seed banks store native species for ecosystem restoration across 96 countries, but more are needed in almost all countries. Establishing larger regional seed banks could help meet the need for seeds more efficiently.
More than half of the world’s countries have no known seed banks.
While the United States, Australia, Brazil and China have the most seed banks, they also need the most new seed banks to meet their restoration potential within 10 years.
The restoration movement will also need to train hundreds of thousands of new seed collectors to preserve and restore threatened biodiversity.
The tropics and biodiversity hotspots are the highest priority locations for additional seed banking capacity given their high impact on biodiversity and climate regulation.
Following the study, Terraformation is calling on:
Businesses to invest in seed banks in their sustainability plans: seed banks are a tangible restoration solution that directly support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Governments to support seed banks as a natural resource management strategy: government support at any level can help create a well-connected and scalable decentralized network with locally adapted, resilient seeds.
Local restoration organizations to prioritize seed banking: people already doing restoration on the ground can add seed banking to their restoration toolkits and scale their work with higher efficiency.
Terraformation and its Alliance members are committed to scaling solutions to the largest bottlenecks to native forest restoration. Four of the largest bottlenecks are inadequate seed supplies, a lack of on-the-ground technical expertise, data accessibility, and insufficient financing. The Alliance will first focus on seed supply, connecting forestry groups with the funding, technology and training to establish local seed supplies and enable biodiverse reforestation at scale.
The Alliance is underpinned by three guiding principles:
Biodiversity and ecological resilience: the Alliance will only support native, biodiverse forest restoration in accordance with the IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions. It does not support monocultures or destructive forestry practices.
Community: the Alliance believes communities are at the heart of resilient and just land restoration. It supports forest restoration projects in alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially with regard to gender equality, decent work, human health and well-being, and elimination of poverty.
Measurable impact and transparency: the Alliance prioritizes impact, and as such will set quantifiable goals and transparently report progress.