[ARCHIVED] Measuring trees in the Columbian Amazon, The Savimbo Project

Hi Drea,
Carbon credit and forestry management is not at all my field of expertise but I am pretty sure we can all learn from such a project built to leverage the crypto industry leveraging the tech and of course improve environmental management practices.
As we chatted, it would be nice if Environment DAO and the Savimbo project could interact and collaborate. I still don’t know if Environment DAO could gain some traction within the BIT community (I’ll be more active since I have secured a post-doctoral project starting in November) but if EnvironmentDAO emerges, I suggest that one of the “small grant” project (45k$) from round 1 could be dedicated to the Savimbo project. We would design a scientific project around your project instead of a call for proposal. To analyze your large datasets for instance and help at bringing knowledge in forestry/mangrove management or community management in conservation programs. Plus, one of the Postdoc who will be recruited to monitor projects would be recruited for her/his forestry/mangrove management skills and conservation background in this field. That would bring even more scientific support/knowledge in biodiversity conservation to your project.
What kind of data do you typically collect, are they standardized and sufficient for some ecological analyses?

I hope the community will see that the crypto industry needs more project like yours. They are already environmental concerns about the crypto industry (and the global climate change is not the sole issue). Let’s tackle these issues with environmental sciences and actions on the field. Do we have the choice actually…
Cheers :slight_smile:


@ralph, this was a lovely analysis and I would be happy to collaborate. I agree the most obvious overlap is funding a specialized postdoc to conduct independent scientific work on our project data. Currently, we’re in the planning phase and our main scientific ask is a researcher who can assist in design of two plots for A/B testing with >5 species each.

I’ll couple this with our weekly update because it dovetails nicely with a conversation I had with a Stanford ecologist who has been working in successful and failed reforestation projects for many years. And the on-the-ground feedback from Columbia. The hard reality is there are far more carbon-offset platforms launched from the cloud than succeed on the ground.

  • Large scale projects that miss underlying drivers of deforestation fail. Here is an New York Times article on why farmers cut old-growth in the Congo written two days ago.
  • Most tree-planting efforts are poorly designed and focus on the number of trees planted, rather than the actual carbon sequestered, or survivability of the trees.
  • Ecologically, reforestation must be coupled with conservation or it’s just more PR glitz.

I am convinced that our biggest value-add, and the main focus of our launch, is to create positive unit economics with small farmers using technology that can be scaled. Profit is what made Tesla a success over all the other electric car companies. This terse missive from one of Austin’s most reputable incubators, SputnikATX on Blitzfailing sums up what happens when scale precedes unit-economics.

  • Currently we’re launching our pilot in the Columbian Amazon and gathering community feedback on past projects in the region. They aren’t too pleased with the on-the-ground efficacy of the last few replanting projects, lots of registrations, no money or on-the-ground replanting.
  • Our main goal in the next three months is to make sustainable monthly payments from legitimate offset buyers to the small launch cohort of farmers who have signed up to our platform based on verifiable activity. If we do this, we’ve done more than those who planted millions of dying trees in Ethiopia, India, Dubai, China, and more.

We’ll keep you updated as always.


Hi Drea,
Thank you for all of these information, it’s a pleasure to read you. I encourage the community to read the link you post, they are very interesting.

Drea: Currently, we’re in the planning phase and our main scientific ask is a researcher who can assist in design of two plots for A/B testing with >5 species each.

*** So if I understand, you will compare the growth/survival or other parameters (specific richness of insect/mammals species colonizing the plots) between two plots. You’ll find more relevant info about sampling design in forestry ecology in the scientific literature but here are some thoughts. It’s not my field of expertise but I’d think about a slightly different design than plotA Vs plotB but it depends of the total surface. I’d divide the whole surface in smaller squares to distribute randomly at least 4 plot A sub-units and 4 plot B sub-units within the whole surface. So you can do some statistical analyses in the end to assess if there are significant differences between both conditions in the measured biological endpoints. Ideally, if you work on a very large surface, you design 20+ sub-units of relevant size so it’s more robust and can investigate the effect of some monitored environmental variables on biological endpoints and differences between species composition A and B.
Another idea would be to distribute randomly species composition A and B to the farmers with the idea that you’ll work with dozens of farmers within a couple of years. Even if they are distributed on a large geographic scale, you could monitor some environmental and social variables specific to each farm to investigate biological parameters between A and B and relationships with other factors. The main difficult would be to standardize the planting protocol between farmers. In the mid-term, it could lead to an interesting Ph’D project to collect and to analyse these data.
It’s interesting because your work as it’s well thought from the beginning will produce scientific data and feedbacks to even better manage the next projects.

Talking less about science but more broadly about your project, it might be interesting to summarize it on a conceptual framework so the BIT DAO community could identify what is the role, how you’ll achieve the objectives, what are the entity involved and interconnection between them. It’s also interesting to identify the coming main difficult and to think about solution in advance.

We keep in touch,


it good proposal well


Hey guys, short update for a long couple of weeks.


Would love to see this project on Giveth! I would donate!


@todreamalife great ideas. I’m all in for sustainability and environment. The only concern is that, it’s hard to track these off-chain activities by “a group of Indigenous farmers and Taitas in the Columbian Amazon”.

Who will be overseeing the on-ground operations and what metrics will be put in place to make sure the money is used efficiently and purposefully?

Keep up the great work!


I’m not expert in trees in the Columbian Amazon, but after reading the proposal, I see no reason this should have any down votes! I see a lot of skepticism in the comment section, but this is definitely one of those win-win scenarios for everyone! Great stuff!


Hey Griff I totally took you up on that. I liked your Giveth presentation and I’m delighted to collaborate. The project is here: The Savimbo Project | Giveth. Our 501(c)3 is registered now for the nonprofit arm.

(Just to be clear since several people have asked). We’re a B-Corp. Our 501(c)3 nonprofit helps smallfarmers get to a point where they can participate in the project (bank accounts, literacy, cell phones, land rights, all the stuff that keeps people in extreme poverty).

Our for-profit arm only transacts with farmers who have land rights, and are able to take micropayments. Then they can enroll their land for a fair-trade floor price and they get an additional 20% of sales when offsets are finally ready to transact. The for-profit arm handles offset sales. We enable offsets brokers to buy into projects early before they’re registered, but still do the miserably hard scientific work of getting projects registered with Verra, SustainCERT, and Gold Standard so enterprises can buy them and use them with governments. We are planning to enable secondary trades on our platform as well, so if you buy a carbon token, and contract with a farmer, you can resell that token once the project is nearer certification. Hope that’s clearer on the business model, offsets are never that simple and the fine-print kills projects a lot.


Hey Zillism, Hahaha I totes get it. Columbia is infamous for being delinquent about their savanting. My Taitas are fine upstanding citizens, but they also need trustless transactions to operate across the cultural and digital divide.

(Believe it or not, Americans don’t have an amazing rep in Latin America either. They mostly meet pretty extractive mining and oil operations. Peaceful trade is going to take some good behavior on both sides.)

We’re on the ground in Columbia, and when we do our token launch all this data will be publically available. Three technologies make us both trustless and scalable:

  • We just closed a deal with a major GPS provider. We’ll be validating every offset with realtime satellite geocoding that operates out of cell service with greater precision than your smartphone and is posted in aggregate to a public Google map.
  • We use machine-learning at the ground level. It’s a scaled method (scientists usually measure the diameter off all the trees at breast height, we do the same with ML from randomly assigned, geocoded photographs.
  • We do plain-ol industry-standard Verra methods for the rest of it. That means surveys, independent third parties, high-res satellites, and drone photogrammetry. The bean-counting is not fun, but it works. Hopefully with time we can validate our simpler methods and save the headaches.
  • We do track individual trees with blockchain if they’re old. We call these “mother trees” and it helps us make sure we don’t overcollect seedlings and there’s no selective logging going on.

Hope that’s helpful. Good questions.


The environment needs this poject to go live asap!


Nice work on the whitepaper Drea.


Love the project!

Just became your first donor on Giveth.

I would really love to see this take off :rocket:


Wow thank you so much! All the non-profit donations go into building infrastructure for scale. Getting farmers their first bank accounts, literacy training, gathering seeds, and training materials so they can participate in the market and start earning.


ReFi ftw!
Cool to see BitDAO is having discussions on this :slight_smile:
PrimeDAO and Celo are also heavily into ReFi. Might have some collaboration opportunities in the future.


Just an update for those of you following the ReFi Savimbo Project.

  • We’ve closed a deal with Garmin. Now our farmer’s work can be validated trustlessly from the ground anywhere in the world outside of cell service.
  • Our pilot was a success with around 600 hectares of pristine rainforest enrolled with endangered species at the end of a deforestation corridor, and the first micropayments.
  • We’ve partnered with a 23-family organization, a 27-village organization, and the closest urban center in Putamayo. These groups are about 50% indigenous and all of them have been involved in conservation efforts on their own for many years.
  • We’ve partnered with a 3D-printed NASA construction tech that enables farmers to melt rocks into bricks instead of using local trees (to decrease leakage in our projects).
  • We’ve been invited to list on the new Abu Dhabi offsets exchange, register with Verra, and work with UN Habitat.
  • We have our first investors out of Austin (more on this when it’s announced). We’re building the Web2 layer now and will add the Web3 layer with future rounds.
  • We’ve formed a tentative partnership with silviculture and governance researchers who will measure our method against the Verra standard to see if we are capable of trustlessly reproducing their work.
  • Crypto donations for the nonprofit arm have begun to trickle in and we’re using them to teach local villagers how to cultivate seeds. (Donate crypto here.)

For clarity, our nonprofit helps farmers get to the point where they can transact internationally, the for-profit arm handles the official pipeline for transactions, validation, and sales. As always I invite anyone to share the Savimbo whitepaper which is public and explains the Web3 layer we want to build.

I’m still in hopes of partnering with BitDAO but we still need a sponsor to submit a proposal.


Hey guys, doing a pitch for UBC and McGill in Canada today so thought I’d include you!

4-min Savimbo pitch


Happy to announce that The Savimbo Project has received seed funding and we’re in SputnikATX’s summer cohort. For those of you who don’t know SputnikATX they are one of Austin’s top incubators and have a really great rep for making high-tech companies with good hard-science products successful. I particularly like their summary of why they rejected WeWork :slight_smile: But they are also known for terse critiques of Web3 which is why I’m so happy they saw market potential in Savimbo. Whitepaper here.


Another update:

  • The government of Colombia reached out and asked to sign up 1k farmers in Putamayo
  • We have 400 hectares under contract and have started replanting in some deforested plots. We plant >5 species of native trees, cultivated by farmers themselves. We estimate this is >3k tons of carbon sequestered a week.
  • We’ve heard from members of Nori, KlimaDAO, and Toucan. We’re open to direct partnerships but plan to transact offsets in our own ATS out of Switzerland so that our farmers can receive revenue from sale and resale of offsets as they go down the certification pipeline. Offsets are tracked back to the individual farmer. Offsets will be released from ATS when they are officially retired on Verra.
  • We’re interested in talking to anyone working in risk, quantitative analysis on ESG at any size investment, corporation. We’re industry and politically agnostic to this aim.
  • We’re still interested in partnering with BitDAO for the reasons listed above. But have formed a Delaware C for private US investors.
  • As a reminder, we’re focused on scaling directly with subsistence farmers, and sell directly to international clients who are serious about sequestration. No middlemen.
  • Our primary metric is certified carbon offsets sequestered. Our secondary metric is hectares of land enrolled by trusted growers.
  • We have a signup sheet for clients to have early access to the platform in three tiers, $20 friends, $1k clients, $5k VIP. Clients — Savimbo

Hey guys, just closing out this proposal. We loved working with BitDAO, but the Savimbo project has taken off and we’re focused on scaling now. If anyone wants to know what we’re up to, please do continue to be our friend Friends — Savimbo and we’ll send you sexy tree photos from our growers! Clients are more than welcome and if you ever want to make a Web3 project carbon neutral for real we’re growing! Clients — Savimbo