The tree that grows, Mexico – MAX Burgers

January 1, 2023

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 reforestation.

This is the first Plan Vivo project that laid the foundation for the Plan Vivo standard, and indeed the first project in the voluntary carbon market. MAX Burgers began purchasing credits from this project in 2019, and by 2021 MAX had purchased 15% of all credits issued by the project.


Forests in the Chiapas and Oaxaca regions of southern Mexico suffered from deforestation for decades. This is due to an increased need for access to timber, grazing animals and charcoal production. The goal of this project is to to prevent further deforestation and to reforest already deforested areas. It includes training small farmers so that agriculture and forestry become sustainable in the long term.


By working with local communities and smallholder farmers who have underutilized land, there is an opportunity to recover deforested and degraded land without negatively impacting food security. Today, more than 1,459 families participate in the project over an area of over 10,000 hectares.


In March 2011, Scolel’Te was recognized by the Initiativa Mexico Awards and  was chosen as a finalist, out of hundreds. In 2013, AMBIO also received the Mexican National Forest Merit Award.

Communities: +20
Families: + 30

The work with sustainable forestry 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 farming 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, mushroom production and the creation of nurseries. Today there are 9 of these women’s groups in existence throughout the project landscape.

Training of new staff in the project.

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