The tree that grows, Mexico – Plan Vivo

November 14, 2019

Scolel'te means "the tree that grows" in the Mayan language tzeltal, and just as the name suggests, the project is based on a model that combines tree planting and cultivation to achieve long-term sustainable agriculture and replant forest.

By working with local communities and small farmers, who often have underutilized land, it provides an opportunity for a quick recovery of deforested and destroyed areas. Today, more than 1,200 smallholder farmers participate in the project over an area of ​​over 9,000 hectares. The forests of the Chiapas and Oaxaca regions of southern Mexico have been depleted as a result of deforestation. This is due to an increased need for access to timber, grazing animals and charcoal production.


The goal of the Scolel’Te carbon offsetting project is to prevent deforestation and to reforest already deforested areas. This includes training smallholder farmers so that agriculture and forestry are sustainable in the long term. The project is the first to be certified by Plan Vivo. Currently, 1,2872 smallholders and 9 community groups participate in the project. This in turn benefits about 2450 families.


In March 2011, Scolel’Te was recognized by the Initiative Mexico Awards. Scolel’te was selected as a finalist among hundreds of applicants. In 2013, AMBIO also received the Mexican National Forest Merit Award.

"Since 1997, Scolel'te has sequestered over 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide through tree planting."

The work on sustainable forestry also creates opportunities for capacity building and knowledge exchange in the areas where Scolel’te operates. This is done through workshops with themes such as sustainable cultivation methods and entrepreneurship. In recent years, women’s participation has also increased, which has led to the creation of women’s groups that work with seed collection, nurseries and fungus production. Today there are 9 such women groups.

Ida Åberg

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