Global native forest restoration is the lowest cost, lowest risk, and most politically feasible carbon drawdown solution available. And it’s shovel-ready. We scale natural carbon capture by solving the biggest bottlenecks to forest restoration, accelerating global progress toward this climate solution.
We partner with communities across the globe to accelerate and scale their restoration work using durable, rapid-scale solutions.
In 2017, faced with mounting evidence that global climate change was rapidly accelerating, Terraformation’s founder Yishan Wong began evaluating large-scale climate solutions. His goal was to find a plan that was practical, affordable, and offered the best possible chance to not just mitigate, but comprehensively solve, climate change.
Through his research, Yishan found that native forest restoration outperforms any other known method of carbon capture by nearly an order of magnitude, and that restoration of up to 3 billion acres of degraded or desertified land should be theoretically possible. Successfully accomplishing mass forest restoration at that scale would draw down enough carbon to meaningfully stabilize the climate, potentially closing the gap on a full-scale solution to climate change.
But he also found three bottlenecks to large-scale forest restoration: land availability, fresh water, and seeds. He established Terraformation to create and share solutions to those challenges.
In 2019, Yishan founded Terraformation’s first pilot restoration site—Pacific Flight—in the northern region of Hawaiʻi Island. Two centuries of unsustainable logging had destroyed the area’s native tropical sandalwood forest, and subsequent cattle grazing had denuded and desertified the land. The arid environment, high winds, and degraded soils meant that if a team could restore a forest there, they could do it anywhere.
In the summer of 2019, Yishan’s team completed construction of the world’s largest fully off-grid, 100% solar-powered desalination system to supply sustainable freshwater to Pacific Flight. The system produces 34,000 gallons of water per day, enough to support several thousand trees. Soon after, Yishan partnered with Jill Wagner, the Director of the Hawaiʻi Island Seed Bank, and a lifelong horticulturist (and now also Terraformation’s Head of Forestry), to reintroduce native plants at Pacific Flight.
Within six months, their team had successfully grown and planted several thousand trees, including a number of rare and endangered species, working at a rate approximately 5x faster than a typical restoration project. Irrigated by the desalinated freshwater, the young native trees were finally able to re-establish themselves in a region that had grown inhospitable over the past two centuries.
The rapid restoration at Pacific Flight, supported by solar desalination technology, is a replicable solution to water and land scarcity bottlenecks. Making freshwater available in areas previously deemed too arid for restoration unlocks billions of acres of new restoration opportunities around the world. Terraformation has gone on to create scalable solutions to additional challenges, like modular, off-grid seed banks that could process and store millions of seeds per year.
These technologies are just the beginning. The growing Terraformation team continues to tackle challenges to forest restoration with durable solutions that perform in project sites around the world. As the cost of solar power continues to plummet, investment in worldwide forest restoration programs, aided by Terraformation’s open-source infrastructure, is not only affordable, but will now pay for itself many times over by converting relatively low-value land into thriving and productive ecosystems.
Today, Terraformation is expanding partnerships with restorationists around the globe who share our vision for place-based, community-driven, native ecosystem restoration.