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The Communities Reforesting TImor-Leste

In July 2023, Pelorus Foundation had the pleasure of meeting with Alex Sarmento from our Climate Investment Fund Partners Fundação Carbon Offset Timor (FCOTI). Together we discussed agroforestry in South-East Asia and how it relates to the livelihoods of local farming communities. 

Transforming Lives Through Reforestation and Empowering Farmers

Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia, Timor-Leste is a nation committed to enviromental conservation and sustainable development. At the forefront of this green movement stands the Fundação Carbon Offset Timor (FCOTI), an organization dedicated to reforestation efforts and empowering local farmers. Their pioneering work is not only mitigating carbon emissions but also transforming the lives of communities across the nation.

Their primary focus is on reforestation as a means to support farmers while rebalancing carbon. Through partnerships with local communities and businesses, FCOTI has embarked on ambitious tree-planting initiatives. These projects not only sequester carbon but also promote biodiversity, prevent soil erosion, and enhance overall ecosystem health.

One of the most remarkable aspects FCOTI is their commitment to empowering local farmers, Timor-Leste’s economy relies heavily on agriculture, and many farmers face challenges such as land degradation and climate variability. FCOTI steps in with sustainable agricultural practices, providing training and resources to farmers to improve yields, reduce environmental impact, and enhance their livelihoods.




FCOTI recognises that the success of their reforestation and farming initiatives depends on active community engagement. They work closely with local residents, involving them in planting and maintaining forests while training them in sustainable agricultural practices.

This approach not only ensures the success of environmental projects but also helps create a sense of ownership and responsibility among the communities. Timor-Leste is a biodiversity hotspot, home to unique and endangered species, FCOTI’s restoration efforts extend beyond carbon rebalancing; they aim to protect habitats and prevent deforestation, which is crucial for the survival of these unique flora and fauna. By restoring and conserving forests, FCOTI contributes significantly to biodiversity preservation.

Their soil carbon projects are empowering smallholder farmers in Timor-Leste to revitalise degraded ecosystems through reforestation and enhanced land management, having already planted more than 250,000 trees. Working with over 1000 individual farmers, this community led project focuses extensively on socio-development with 60% of funds from each Plan Vivo Certificate sold going directly to the community.



In a world grappling with the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, organisations like Fundação Carbon Offset Timor-Leste are beacons of hope. Their focus on reforestation and the empowerment of local farmers highlights the crucial role of community-driven initiatives in environmental sustainability.

FCOTI is transforming Timor Leste’s landscape, not only by mitigating carbon emissions but also by improving the lives of its farmers and preserving its rich biodiversity. By fostering community engagement, education and international collaborators, FCOTI is building a greener, more sustainable future for Timor-Leste and setting an inspiring example for nations worldwide.

As the world seeks innovative solutions to environmental challenges, Timor-Leste and organisations like FCOTI demonstrate that a sustainable future is within reach, rooted in the principles of reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and community empowerment.