Afforestation projects and financing mechanisms within the Aarhus Living Lab

June 2, 2023 | News

Plan and Map of Ajstrup Forest

The Aarhus municipality in Denmark invests about 600.000 € per year on afforestation projects on former agricultural land to provide much needed recreational areas for a growing population in the second largest city in Denmark. This serves to protect the drinking water resource and surface water quality, and to sequester carbon and improve biodiversity over time. The afforestation projects are funded using different business models in collaboration with private companies, NGOs, State Forest Agency, the water utility company and national funds, which the municipality aims to develop further.

Below, you will find three examples of how the Invest4Nature Living Lab Aarhus in Denmark organizes and finances afforestation projects and what funding mechanisms they are considering in the future.

  1. The Hasselager Wild Forest project

The Hasselager Wild Forest project involves establishing a new forest of 30.000 trees in suburban areas (equalling 15 ha). Instead of people imagining just pathways of trees, the Aarhus municipality frames this afforestation project as “forest landscapes”with streams, lakes, meadows, and open spaces within the forest, in addition to pathways of trees.

The project is implemented on municipal land through a collaboration between Aarhus Municipality and the Growing Trees Network (GTN). The GTN collects donations for afforestation projects from private companies. In this specific project, the private company is a furniture production company called Holmris B8.

The business model for funding the Hasselager Wildforest is called a ‘pay-per-tree model’, in which a private company (here Holmris B8) pays 2.45 Euros per tree to GTN, and the GTN transfers 1.94 Euros per tree for the afforestation project. The model has been running successfully for 3-4 years. The pay-per-tree model covers seedling, planting, fencing and maintenance for the first 3 years.

  1. The Spørring People´s Forest

The project entails planting about 24.000 new trees (equaling to 16 hectares) to create a new forest landscape where a water stream connects to surrounding natural areas. The landscape offers recreational areas such as a dog-walking forest, walking paths, cabins, and fruit orchards. The land for afforestation is owned by Aarhus municipality and is financed with funds from a national TV fundraising campaign called “Danmark planter træer” (Denmark plants trees) supported by the television broadcaster TV2 and the Danish Society for Nature Conservation. A national TV2 event, held in 2019, raised funds to plant over 1 million trees nationwide in order to fight the climate crisis. Aarhus Municipality in cooperation with the Growing Trees Network (GTN) allocated funds from the TV-telethon to establish the “Spørring Folkeskov” (Spørring People’s Forest).

  1. The Ajstrup School Forest project

The Ajstrup School Forest project area has been designed and established for and by school children, allowing them to engage and interact with nature (16–20 ha). Schoolchildren from Aarhus Municipality are invited every year to plant trees so that the forest area gradually expands up to a maximum of 20 hectares. Children learn about the processes involved in planting a forest (e.g., CO2 storage, biodiversity) and follow the growth during their school years. In 2022, the first year of the project, 250 school children from 0 to 2nd grades were invited to plant 3000 trees in the Ajstrup School Forest. The theme of the project is “Bushcraft”, where the forest is intended to grow wild with minimum human intervention, hence not requiring maintenance expenses. The project incurs only costs of fencing to prevent deer browsing damage, with fencing to be removed after 5–7 years.

Children are allowed to roam freely around the Ajstrup School Forest, break down seedlings and young trees, make caves, etc. In that way the children act as the natural ‘thinner’ of the seedlings. Moreover, by letting kids plant the trees, the seedlings are not planted in strict lines, as when you afforest mechanically – hence the forest starts to look very different from the very beginning. This project is done in collaboration between the Aarhus municipality and the NGO “Plant et Træ” (Plant a tree), collating and administering funds for tree planting across Denmark, with funds originating from private companies, foundations, municipalities and individuals.

Alternative financing models

The Municipality of Aarhus has reached a level of afforestation that it has run out of municipal land to continue afforestation. It is therefore necessary to include the acquisition of land in the business model to continue the cooperation with e.g., the NGOs GTN and “Plant a Tree”. As a result, the municipality now aims to move from a “pay-per-tree” model to a “landscape” model in which the acquisition of land is covered 25% by the municipality, 25% by the private companies, and 50% covered by the water supply company; the latter keen to secure that no pesticides and fertilizers are applied in vulnerable groundwater areas.

Author: Doan Nainggolan, Marianne Zandersen, Lone Nørgaard Telling and Julian Eduardo Lozano
Photo Credits: Aarhus Municipality

Categories


Nature-based Solutions Conference 2024: Growing Positive Change

📅18-20 June 2024📍Oxford, UK Over three days and nine sessions, we will bring together interdisciplinary researchers with practitioners and decision makers from the public and private sectors, as well as Indigenous voices from around the world, to discuss and co-create an action plan for nature-based solutions to support positive social-environmental change. We will examine the…

read more

The Nature of Cities Festival 2024

Pushing the boundaries of collaborative engagement, drawing urban thought leaders and changemakers together to build better cities. Following the virtual sessions on the 15th -25th of April, comes the in-person event in Berlin! A three week series of interconnected events. 📅3-7 June 2024📍Berlin TNOC Festival is knowledge-centered, knowledge-led, and action-driven. The 2024 theme of “Action” focuses…

read more

NATURANCE Finance Innovation Festival

Insurance and Investment Opportunities for Nature-based Solutions 📅23-24 May 2024📍Laxenburg, Austria The first NATURANCE Festival is set to take place on May 23-24, 2024, in Laxenburg, Austria. The festival aims to bring together various communities involved in climate risk assessment, policy analysis, financial innovation, and advocacy for nature-based solutions. Its objectives include: Please find attached more information on the event,…

read more

Accelerating urban nature-based solutions: A Latin America-European collaboration

📅15-17 May 2024📍Barcelona, Spain Cities face urgent global and local challenges to support biodiversity, social cohesion, wellbeing, livelihoods and resilience to climate change. We need nature-based solutions and restored ecosystems to address these priorities. Invaluable experience and good practice exist around the world in many different socio-cultural, ecological and governance contexts. There is now a…

read more

Widening the tent: getting business and enterprise involved in urban greening

Everyone knows that city councils and communities play an important role in urban greening. But what about business and enterprises? Much less is known about their involvement – what challenges and opportunities do they face? What changes would they like to see? These and many other questions are explored in this blog post which draws…

read more

UN Ocean Decade Side Event organized by NIVA

In collaboration with partners from NetworkNature, GoNaturePositive and C-FAARER, and as part of the Invest4Nature project, NIVA organized the off-site satellite event on Financing Nature-based Solutions (NBS) for a Sustainable Blue Economy. This hybrid event, held on 9 April, served as a platform to discuss ongoing projects such as Invest4Nature, C-FAARER, and GoNaturePositive. It was…

read more

NBE Survey Intermediary Results Shared at Nature Futures 2024

Nature Futures 2024 assembled leading entrepreneurs from various sectors including regenerative agriculture, forestry, tourism, green buildings, and the blue economy. They gathered to deliberate on the challenges and opportunities confronting nature-based enterprises in their respective fields, as well as the broader scaling of nature-based solutions. Oisin Klinkenbergh was the first to speak at Nature Futures,…

read more

Blog: Bridging benefits and economics with Invest4Nature

On July 1st, 2022, JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH – LIFE, the Institute for Climate, Energy and Society (JR) and 14 Partners and Living Labs from 8 different European countries started into the Horizon Europe Project “Invest4Nature – the economics of Nature-based Solutions”. The motivation for this project was that it was evident from other projects…

read more

How does exploitation work? Overcome the Valley of Death with innovation management activities.

European Commission funds innovative ideas, research, and solutions with the aim of boosting the EU’s competitiveness and growth. Besides that, the Horizon Europe programme shall help to tackle climate change and to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. As an expert in Exploitation, also called innovation management, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum works as an enabler and…

read more

Open survey: Nature-based enterprises

Are you an enterprise working with and for nature on nature-based solutions? Then we invite you to take part in Invest4Nature’s open survey ! We in Invest4Nature are seeking to understand the supply side of the nature-based solutions (NBS) market in Europe. This is key meeting the existing demand and achieving biodiversity net gain by…

read more

Invest4Nature Newsletter #2 is out!

We’ve published our second issue of the Invest4Nature Newsletter! Read more to catch up on the latest progress of our partners in enabling more investments in nature-based solutions!

read more

Rooted in Resilience: Tyrolean Protective Forests and Climate Solutions

Tyrol – Heart of the Alps. A landscape covered by rugged mountains and rolling valleys. Here, forests play a special role, a constant presence on the mountain sides, yet dynamic and ever changing like the seasons. The Alpine region of Tyrol has a long tradition in handling natural hazards. With only 12 % habitable area,…

read more

Blog: Driving Local solutions for Modena: “Rewriting the adaptation narrative” at CAIC 2023

Climate Alliance International Conference (CAIC) 2023 in Modena Invest4Nature was represented at this year’s Climate Alliance International Conference, which took place from October 18th to October 20th in Modena, Italy. Apart from Climate Alliance, the city network of Energy Cities was also present at the conference, with had more than 400 registered participants from over…

read more

Boosting greenery in Poznan with private investment

Situated in Poland, Poznan is one of the country’s oldest cities. It boasts a unique ecological landscape characterized by a configuration of ‘green wedges’ arising due to its landscape features, historical conditions, and system of river valleys. The city is surrounded by natural spaces along river valleys in both north-south and east-west directions. In areas…

read more

Afforestation projects and financing mechanisms within the Aarhus Living Lab

The Aarhus municipality in Denmark invests about 600.000 € per year on afforestation projects on former agricultural land to provide much needed recreational areas for a growing population in the second largest city in Denmark. This serves to protect the drinking water resource and surface water quality, and to sequester carbon and improve biodiversity over…

read more

Blog: Insights from the Cities Talk Nature Conference

Climate Alliance represented Invest4Nature at the “Cities Talk Nature Conference: Unlocking the Potential of Underutilized Urban Areas” organized by the Interlace project on Thursday, May 11th, and Friday, May 12th, 2023, in Chemnitz, Germany. The conference centered around the crucial role of creating and preserving urban nature in the face of climate and biodiversity crises.…

read more

Published! Invest4Nature’s first Newsletter

Invest4Nature’s first newsletter is here! Since our Kick-off meeting in Graz, Austria, our project has been off to a good start! What to expect in this first issue ? We’ve brought together the most important basics about Invest4Nature and asked our consortium partners to tell us more:

read more

How EU Taxonomy supports investments in Nature

Invest4Nature Expert Linda Romanovska (Melomys Advisory), is an appointed member of the EU Platform on Sustainable Finance (“The Platform”) – the technical high-level advisory body to the European Commission tasked with the development of EU Taxonomy of sustainable economic activities. Last month the Platform started work on the second 2-year mandate. In this article Linda…

read more