SilviaTerra wants to bring the benefits of carbon offsets to every landowner everywhere – TechCrunch

Zac angel and Max Nova, co-founder of carbon offset company Silivatera, has worked to pave the way for revenue-generating carbon offsets over the past decade.

As forestry credit has become a big, bang business based on multi-billion dollar commitments from some of the world’s largest companies to disband their businesses, the two founders have dedicated ten years of their lives. The kind of technologies that have been created are only going on to become more valuable.

This is why his company, which is already a profitable business, has raised $ 4.4 million in outside funding. Union Square Ventures And Variant One Ventures, With the driving force between Salesforce founder and 1 trillion trees initiative, Mark benioff .

“The key to addressing the climate crisis is changing the balance in so-called carbon cycle. Currently, every year we are adding * 5 gigatons of carbon to the atmosphere *. Since atmospheric carbon acts as a greenhouse gas, it increases the energy that is put back into space rather than the radiation that causes the Earth to heat up. ” Partner Albert Wenger writes in a blog post to Union Square Ventures. “There are many ways this decline occurs and we’ll be writing about different ways in the coming weeks (such as capturing direct air and growing kelp in the oceans). One way we understand well today And can execute it immediately. The world’s forests today absorb little more than a gigatonne of CO2 per year and turn it into biomass. We need to stop cutting and burning existing forests (including large-scale forests Fire prevention) and we have to start planting more trees. If we do this, the total capacity of the forests is about 4 to 5 gigatons per year (together). Some guesses More than 9 gigatons)

For the two founders, the new fund is the latest step in a long journey that began in the northern wilderness Alabama, Where Pariisa grew up.

After attending Mississippi State for Forestry, Parsa went to graduate school Yale, Where he met Max Nova, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, a computer science student who teamed up with Parisa to become SiliviaTerra to establish the company.

The co-founders of Silviatera are Max Nova and Zac Parissa. Image courtesy: Silivatra

Both individuals developed a method of combining satellite imagery with field measurements to determine the size and species of trees in every acre of forest.

While the first step was to create a map of every forest in America, the ultimate goal for both men was to find a way to put the carbon market on an equal footing with the lumber industry. Instead of cutting trees for cash, potential landowners can figure out how much it will cost to maintain their forestland. According to the company’s notes, forest management was first driven by the economics of timber harvesting, with $ 10 billion spent in the US each year.

The founders of Silviatera thought that the carbon market could be as large, but difficult for Moset landlords to reach. It can cost as much as $ 200,000 to put together carbon offset projects, which are small offset projects for landlords like Parsa’s own family and the value of the 40 acres they own in the Alabama forests.

There should be a better way for small landowners to benefit from the carbon markets, Parisa and Nova thought.

To create this carbon economy, every tree in the US needed to have a single source of record, and while Siliviatera had the technology to make that map, they had compute power, machine learning capabilities, and resources to make the map Was lacking.

She is there Microsoft’s AI for Earth program arrived.

Working with AI for Earth, TierraSilva created its first product, Basemap, to process terabytes of tesatelites to determine the size and species of trees in each acre of US forestland. The company also worked with the US Forestry Service to access its data, which was used to create this holistic view of forest assets in the US

With Basmap data in hand, the company has created what they call the Natural Capital Exchange. This program utilizes Sylviatera’s unique access to information about local forests, and those forests are currently used to supply projects that actually represent the land the forest represents, It was not for the money to come.

Currently, many forestry projects are being passed to offset buyers, which will never be legalized on forest land before – in any real way as an offset to carbon dioxide emissions making the project redundant and useless To give.

“IT there is a bloodbath, ”said Nova of the scale of the problem with fraudulent offsets in the industry. “We are not withdrawing existing forest carbon projects and are trying to connect the demand side with the already existing projects. Use technology to unlock a new supply of One Carbon Offset. “

The first natural capital exchange project was actually launched and funded by Microsoft back in 2019. In it, 20 western Pennsylvania landowners generated forest carbon credits through the program, which indicated that the company could work for owners with 40 acres of land, or, as the company said, 60,000.

Landowners involved in SilivaTerra’s pilot carbon offset program paid by Microsoft. Image courtesy: Sylvitera

“We are just trying to get every landlord within the annual economic planning cycle,” Nova said. “There is a whole field of wood economics … and we are helping to answer the question of the price of wood, given the price of carbon, does it make any sense to reduce your planned wood harvesting?”

Finally, the two founders believe that they have found a way to pay the total land value through the creation of data around the potential carbon offset value of these forests.

It is more than just carbon markets. The equipment that Silviatera has created can also be used for wildfire mitigation. “We’re in the right place with the right data and the right tools at the right time,” Nova said. “It’s about connecting that data to the decisions and the economics of all this.”

The launch of the SylviaTera Exchange provided a source of carbon to big buyers. In some ways Venp is a venture corollary to work being done by startups such as another Union Square Ventures investment, which focuses on offsetting the carbon footprint of everyday consumers. It is also a competitor to companies such as Pachama, which are largely trying to provide similar forest offsets, or 3d inc. or South pole.

There is even more of an opportunity for these offset companies under a Biden administration, the founders said, given Discussions are underway to establish a carbon bank. Established through the current Commodity Credit Corp. run by the Department of Agriculture, Carbon Bank will pay farmers and landowners across the US for forestry and agricultural carbon offset projects.

“Everyone knows that these systems have more value than just the product we cut it in,” Parissa said. “As long as we don’t keep those advantages on the same rung until we cut the things that they send to the market … as the value of these things will increase … absolutely affect these decisions. Is going to do and it’s a cash crop … it’s a money pump from coastal America to Central America from which these things can be made.