AN APP TO REPLENISH FORESTS
BY BRITT SPENCER
DAVID 'EZRA' JAY — CO-FOUNDER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GREENSTAND
David 'Ezra' Jay is working to combat deforestation one tree at a time—collectively, he's surpassed 1.2 million trees planted so far. He's also committed to trying to alleviate global poverty. The app Treetracker, an open-source, data-driven software platform developed by Jay and his team via Greenstand, the nonprofit he heads, attempts to accomplish both goals by verifying and monitoring farmers around the world who plant and care for trees, then facilitating payments to these growers from donations by partnering groups.
Planters submit geotagged photos of their trees periodically, the app calculates a value for the ecological impact based on the tree's location and rate of growth, then packages the data in a digital wallet the growers can access and trade. For poverty-stricken farmers in areas like sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the process provides income and a way to earn their livelihood by restocking forests rather than clearing them for crops. Today, the app is used by more than 4,700 growers worldwide and has the backing of the World Bank. —K.R.