Deforestation and tree age
The partnerships' landscape working group launches a deforestation and tree age monitoring initiative to source deforestation free and support the rejuvenation of coconut farming
The Sustainable Coconut Partnership has developed, with the help of The Tree Map the first map of its kind to showcase the distribution, age, and associated deforestation of dense coconut trees across eight countries, including the three largest producers of coconut oil (Indonesia, Philippines, and India).
The project was supported by companies Unilever, Ferrero.
The map depicted 5 million hectares, accounting for more than half of the FAO's estimated dense coconut trees area.
More than 90% of these trees were identified as being older than 30 years, and minimal deforestation related to coconut cultivation was discovered (0.3% of the mapped area).
An initiative in progress: On going refinement and new features for this new coconut tree layer:
While acknowledging that this map may not achieve absolute precision yet, it signifies a step in the right direction. Nonetheless, it is possible that this deforestation figure underestimates the actual extent. The map has an 80% accuracy rate consistent with the resolution of 20x20m used enabling it to map entire countries with limited investments. Due to radar commission errors, it also means that in certain areas, it marks non-existent coconut trees that are easy to filter out in landscape analysis which is one of the next steps of this initiative.
Going forward, the Working Group will be collaborating closely with the developers to provide both improvement and ground truth data and help validate the map layer to ensure on-going refinements of the machine learning model towards clear deforestation free claims.
As the necessity to source sustainable coconut products increases globally, the Sustainable Coconut Partnership thus equips its members with mapping capability that can be used way beyond deforestation with use cases for farm rejuvenation, traceability and transparency, low carbon farming and better plant health.
“Our findings indicate that dense coconut plantations have led to minimal deforestation. This is primarily attributed to the advanced age of these plantations"
David L.A. Gaveau, PhD
CEO & Founder - The Tree Map
“Unilever is proud to be at the forefront for the creation of a global Coconut Tree Map, showcasing the sustainable practices of coconut cultivation. By mapping coconut trees over eight major producing countries, we're dispelling misconceptions and promoting data-driven sustainability efforts. Our focus on addressing aging coconut tree populations will support strategic replanting, helping to ensure the resilience of this supply chain. Join us in advancing sustainability and environmental stewardship, together we can cultivate a brighter future for coconut-producing communities and beyond.”
Mathieu Goulmy - Responsible Sourcing Manager, Coconuts, Unilever
A Dynamic Coconut Layer
Members use these new capabilities to assess deforestation free sourcing areas, conduct increased due diligences in supply chains and to collectively invest in farm rejuvenation and replanting
The layer will progressively include information for increased traceability and carbon related information.
An assessment of key priority areas for collective engagement is underway to establish industry-wide best practices and impact programs free of past, present and future deforestation.
This helps our members source sustainably.
Join the Sustainable Coconut Partnership
If you are part of the coconut supply chain, civil society, associations, financial institutions, trade bodies, service providers, academia, research organizations and governments, join us to work collaboratively towards sustainable coconut!