March 25, 2019 3 min read

There is something new, innovative, and incredibly exciting happening in the world of forest protection. 

It's called the Future of Forests of Impact Roadmap, by XPRIZE, and it outlines 10 clear breakthroughs essential to creating a more sustainable future in which humanity and forests thrive together. This is NOT just another climate change report! 

We're talking conservation 2.0, and some of these ideas have us leaping out of our branches saying YES!

Ready for this? Here they are:

1. Super-Wood – A sustainably-produced alternative for wood that shifts the reliance on virgin wood from natural forests and plantations to another material that is sustainably produced and possesses the same strengths and qualities of natural wood. This could be made from plastic.

2. Global Transparency – A system that will provide traceability and transparency of forest-related activities, such as illegal logging, leading to better accountability. The system could be open-sourced, decentralized, and available to anyone.

3. Super-Farming – Alternative, and highly-efficient farming methods, that take land-use pressure off forests by providing substantially larger crop yields, with lower energy expenditure and fewer waste byproducts. This can include things like vertical forests, robotic agriculture, and technology to measure and reduce waste.

4. X-Meat – Alternative, highly-efficient methods for meat production, that eliminate most of the waste and pollution provided by cattle ranching while minimizing energy and feed expenditures. This includes lab-grown faux meat, reducing deforestation for cattle, and reducing the overall number of animals that require land use.

5. Forest Regeneration – Cost-effective methods that could be widely utilized to restore existing forests and establish new ones. This includes the use of technology, such as drones, to plant seeds and consequently take care of those growing forests over time. 

6. Value of Forests – Techniques, methods and platforms that help assess the ecological value (ecosystem service) of forests at high resolution. 

7. Stopping Wildfires – Highly-efficient wildfire prevention, management, and mitigation techniques that would prevent the worst effects of human-caused wildfires - taking into account the ecological truth that some wildfire activity is natural. This approach includes things like terrestrial or aerial vehicles, and better systems for early detection. 

8. Invasive Species – A decentralized system that detects and aids in the elimination of harmful and invasive species. This can include things like AI, sensors, and crowdsourcing to synthesize on-the-ground data and provide quick solutions to prevent spreading.

9. Super-Charcoal – Scalable and highly-efficient methods and technologies for converting wood into charcoal. This can include converting bio-waste into a new form of more sustainable and natural charcoal for energy use.

10. Carbon Sequestration – Strengthening the role of forests in carbon sequestration and storage, thereby slowing down climate change and mitigating its effects. This means, somehow, increasing the amount of Co2 that trees can store. 

Launched by XPRIZE, in partnership with Kimberly-Clark Corporation, these forest breakthroughs are a real game-changer and challenger of conventional thinking. 

So what happens next with these ideas? 

Glad you asked. Now that the essential solutions have been identified, the REAL fun begins! 

XPRIZE designs and operates global competitions to incentivize the development of technological breakthroughs that accelerate humanity toward a better future. Part of its prize design efforts include Impact Roadmaps – detailed reports that analyze complex and overlapping social, technological, economic, environmental, and policy issues, to identify the most effective solutions within a given domain. 

XPRIZE Impact Roadmaps are created through extensive secondary research, expert interviews, collaborative workshops with leading organizations and partners, along with crowdsourced feedback and activities through online communities. One Tree Planted is part of the community focused on the Amazon Rainforest as part of the contest design process.

The breakthroughs above are part of the Future of Forests Impact Roadmap that will determine the contest and prize to incentivize global innovation teams to actually create these solutions. And judging by prizes from past contests, it's sure to be spectacular.

We are excited to be part of this exciting initiative, and can't wait to see how these breakthroughs unfold - and we're pretty sure we're not the only ones!


X-prize has released the six winning prize ideas. Here they are!

We plant trees on 4 continents around the world. Want to choose where yours are planted?

by Diana Chaplin

Canopy Director & Eco-Storyteller