The TreesForDev project is excited to a present a 10-podcast series that will be released once a month from February to November 2024 on several podcasting platforms in conjunction with the Global Extractivisms and Alternatives podcast.

In response to accelerating, concurrent socio-ecological crises, ecological restoration (ER) has come to the forefront as a strategy to repair damaged/degraded landscapes. International pledges, like the UN’s Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) have set specific targets to restore vast areas of degraded land across the world. ER encompasses a wide continuum of practices that seek to repair degraded land, natural ecosystems, urban landscapes, and farmlands. One of the foremost strategy of ER is to plant trees, often in the geographical contexts of the global South. ER involves many different forms of tree planting, with a mixed variety of species planted with an aim to improve wildlife habitat, local livelihoods, and climate change resilience. These tree planting initiatives are often supported by national political agendas seeking to address global and regional development priorities (e.g., UN’s SDGs) and by a variety of public-private partnerships and market-based funding (i.e., philanthropic donations & carbon markets) designed to scale up ER efforts in the global South. 

Initial research suggests that while some tree-planting projects show promising potential, some efforts may worsen climate change-induced vulnerabilities, social precarities, and ecological conditions. Thus, a more detailed global and local analysis is needed of the dynamics involved in ER. This podcast series will bring to light stories & experiences of those who are working on the front lines of practical tree planting and academic research related to tree planting and ER. 

The TreesForDev project is honored to collaborate with the Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT) podcast. Each of our episode will be released through their platforms, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We will post links to each episode on this page and announce them on our social media and in our newsletter (please use this link to subscribe to the newsletter). If you would like the episodes to show up directly in your podcast feed, please subscribe to the EXALT podcast on the podcatcher of your choice. 

We are extremely grateful to the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) at the University of Helsinki for their support of this podcast series. Without the support of the HELSUS societal impact grant we would be unable to bring this series to life. 



Welcome to the debut episode of the limited series TreesForDev project podcast. In this episode we are honored to be joined by the project principal investigators, Maria Ehrnstöm-Fuentes and Markus Kröger, from Hanken School of Economics and University of Helsinki respectively. In this conversation, they introduce us to who they are and what types of questions are being investigated in the TreesForDev project. This project examines the dynamics of ecological restoration involving tree planting schemes. Planting trees is a popular and “easy” way to try to restore ecosystems and mitigate climate change. Our project examines the socio-ecological/economic impacts of tree planting in the global South. The project is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs through the Develop2 funding instrument, which is managed in conjunction with the Research Council of Finland. The TreesForDev will run until the end of 2026 and includes research in Finland, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Brazil.


In this episode we are joined by Ossi Ollinaho and Máriam Abbas. Ossi is a project researcher from the TreesForDev project leading the work package that is looking at Mozambique. Máriam is a researcher from Observatório do Meio Rural (OMR), in Mozambique, who is coordinating the research line “Environment and Rural Areas”, which explores, among other topics, the impacts of climate change on agriculture, the causes of deforestation and mainstreaming biodiversity in the agricultural sector.

Ossi and Máriam give us insight into why Mozambique is one of the case study countries in the TreesForDev project. Agriculture accounts for approximately 25 percent of the GDP of the country. Thus, there is a large rural population, and the forest has a very important role in the rural populations’ livelihood prospects. They reflect on the economic system and the underlying extractivist logics that are often incompatible with improving local conditions.