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. The project consortium is led by Hanken, under the leadership of Maria Ehrnström-Fuentes. The University of Helsinki is responsible for part of the project under the leadership of Markus Kröger, professor of Global Development Studies. TreesForDev will highlight local communities' role in tree planting schemes and honor their knowledge. At a global level, TreesForDev will examine how tree planting initiatives have proliferated across the world, specifically looking at the political drivers of these projects and where funding comes from. TreesForDev will also examine how Finland and other European countries have contributed to the development of tree planting schemes.
"Tree planting initiatives are marketed as 'one size fits all', yet the same ecological restoration methods do not work everywhere, but depend on the ecology, the different cultures and the local community concerned. For instance, trees have sometimes been planted in places that were previously used by locals for grazing and cultivating crops, and there are cases where locals have had to give up their land for tree planting projects. [Simultaneously] various cooperation projects with the local communities have thankfully created more opportunities for the locals to grow their own food and make a living, as the trees have helped restore the ecological balance. The project aims to be able to give various actors guidance on where and how to plant trees, so that the manner in which trees are planted is both ecologically and ethically correct. We also wish to investigate how to let the momentum come from within the villages, so that we can achieve those global sustainability goals from the grassroots up." - Maria Ehrnström-Fuentes, associate professor of management and organization at Hanken.