Reforestry program, Timor-Leste


Timor Leste’s lush rain forests and hardwoods have long been a major resource for its communities. However, the island’s forest cover has decreased by an estimated 50-70%, – or by almost 30 percent between 1972 and 1999 alone. This leaves around 41 percent of Timor-Leste’s land forested, with the occasional small pocket of primary forest still intact.
And yet, depletion of the country’s forests is continuing. Precious hardwoods such as sandalwood or teak have been almost completely eliminated, while agricultural expansion is adding undue pressure on the remaining forest cover. Slash-and-burn farming, a practice where farmers prepare the field by burning incumbent vegetation, frequently results also in forest fires and forest degradation. 

30 percent

of forest loss between 1972 and 1999.

42 percent

of the population lives below the extreme poverty line.

The project

This Gold Standard certified project aims to reduce poverty and reduce the global environmental damage through reforestation and the creation of natural carbon storages.
The program is the first of its kind in Timor Leste. Small holder subsistence farmers receive an annual incentive payment for planting, managing and maintaining forest trees on their land. This is funded by the sale of certified carbon credits in the global carbon market. If a farmer has to choose between planting a cash crop or planting trees that may take 20 years to provide a financial return, the choice is obvious. However, if we can make a cash crop from trees that sequester carbon, the equation is quite different.

Reforestation and carbon reduction 

Reforestation are one of the key short-term actions required to reduce carbon from the atmosphere.  The report goes on to say that forests can contribute up-to a 30% reduction in carbon emissions.

Programs such as the Timor-leste community forestry can deliver a reduction in poverty and reduce the global environmental damage by reforestation and the building of carbon sinks.

The project objectives are both local and global.  Globally deforestation is causing both poverty and environmental degradation and as the world is heading for more than 2 degrees warming before 2050 the situation is going to get much worse.  

Climate solution #26


In theory, 751 million acres of degraded land in the tropics could be restored to continuous, intact forest. Using current and estimated commitments from the Bonn Challenge and New York Declaration on Forests, our model assumes that restoration could occur on 435 million acres. Through natural regrowth, committed land could sequester 1.4 tons of carbon dioxide per acre annually, for a total of 61.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050. Only carbon stored in soil organic matter and aboveground biomass is accounted for; below-ground biomass is not included.


This project is verified by the Gold Standard. You can view it on the Gold Standard registry here.

UN’s Sustainable Development Goals recognized by this project

As an Sprout member your money goes towards supporting projects that are in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Here are the goals recognized by the Timor-Leste project:

Read more about the Sustainable Development Goals