Forests are indispensable to humankind for food, energy and medical drugs; there is no substitute for forests. Because of their economic value, forests are quickly disappearing without being replaced fast enough. Alternative sustainable methods for generating economic value from forests exists; however, they are unknown and under-appreciated. According to the UNEP, less than 10 percent of the world’s forests are certified for sustainable management. Nicolas Metro’s human development approach begins with reforestation, but has a considerably broader global vision. He brings together a community consisting of companies, local COs, youth, schools, researchers and the general public. Valuing trees becomes a tool for this community working towards a set of shared principles related to health, security, wellbeing, and balance.
Metro’s Forest & Life Global Charter not only sets out a vision for reaching our human potential, but also provides practical guidance and standards around proper tree planting techniques, the usage of organic methods and impact measurement among the community. Metro defines the community’s success by measuring its “impact” and not its “results.” Instead of using traditional indicators such as number of trees planted and number of community members participating in tree planting projects, Metro works hand-in-hand with members to identify indicators that uphold Forest & Life’s shared principles. For example, in order to address security a local community might focus on measuring improved access to water so women do not need to travel as far each day to get water. To collect and analyze these measurements, he is designing sophisticated reporting software, which he sees being applicable to the broader international development community. He tries to create a new generation of tree-friendly citizens by relinking individuals to forests and changing behaviors and attitudes towards trees. Since the beginning of the movement, Nicolas’ projects have replanted a total of 2.2 million trees across 10 countries in Sub Sahara Africa, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, and France.