Conference Presentation at RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2024

TreesForDev project principal investigator, Maria Ehrnström-Fuentes, will be presenting at the 2024 Royal Geographical Society Conference, which is happening from August 27–30 in London, England.

The co-authored paper is titled “Planting Green Futures: The Socio-ecological Dynamics of Global Afforestation Financing.” The abstract for the paper is below. 


Afforestation initiatives aiming at tackling pressing environmental challenge have gained widespread acceptance. Nevertheless, the financial mechanisms supporting these programs often remain obscure and oversimplified. Concepts like "green finance" and "ecological service payments" (ESP) tend to homogenize diverse financing arrangements for afforestation projects while overlooking their multifaceted socioecological impacts. Our paper aims to map various financial pathways in global afforestation programmes and their potential to pave the way for a socio-ecologically just future where local communities involved can attain equality in recognition, participation, and distribution.

Our conceptual framing is based on Robert Fletcher's (2020) 'diverse ecologies' approach, which provides an analytical language for the comparative analysis of various green governmentalities operating across different social and ecological contexts. This allows us to provide a thematic review of afforestation efforts in both the Global South and North, with a particular focus on the diverse financing mechanisms underpinning these projects, their mobility, and their socio-ecological consequences. Also, we conceptualise financing mechanisms as instruments reflecting the rationalities of diverse forms of environmental governance, rather than mere monetary resource flows. Besides, we challenge the monolithic perception of "green finance" or ESP and instead envision a heterogeneous landscape comprising various funding mechanisms, such as shareholder investments, banks, crowdsourcing, NGO campaigns, state subsidies, and attempt to outline their interplay, competition, or integration. Through a comparative analysis of these afforestation financing methods, we also respond to Fletcher's call to explore a funding mechanism that champions democratic, egalitarian, and non-hierarchical approaches to afforestation, wherein local communities enjoy truly participatory roles.


Fletcher, R. (2020). Diverse ecologies: Mapping complexity in environmental governance. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, 3(2), 481-502.