Taimiteko – Seedling Action is a Finnish carbon offsetting initiative by 4H Finland that an organisation or individual can partake in to tackle climate change. With Taimiteko one can plant only a few seedlings or even plant enough to offset carbon dioxide emissions for the entire year. At the same time you help to employ young people.

Taimiteko – Seedling Action is the result of 4H’s pilot project, which aims to plant 10,000 hectares of new forest in Finland by 2030, the equivalent of about 20 million trees. Taimiteko also functions as an employment activity as it provides summer jobs in planting seedlings, especially for young people under the age of 18, who are still outside the labour market.

Taimiteko’s purpose  

Sustainable development and measures for promoting it are already commonplace in 4H activities, and many young people work daily in 4H to control climate change. Hundreds of thousands of tree seedlings are already planted every year through 4H’s youth activities. Usually, the seedlings are planted in reforestation areas as part of normal forestry.

However, the aim of Taimiteko – Seedling Action is to employ young Finns and increase the carbon sinks of Finnish forests by planting seedlings in areas that have not been in active forestry, agriculture or peet production for years or even decades. According to the The Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK), there are still about 100,000 hectares of such land in Finland that would be suitable for afforestation.

The patron of the Taimiteko project is the president of the Republic of Finland, Sauli Niinistö.

How you can participate  

Any organisation or individual can participate in the Taimiteko initiative. This site provides a counter that allows you to count the number of seedlings to be planted based on the amount of carbon emissions you wish to offset. 

If you would like an estimate of the carbon dioxide emissions of your organisation or association, you can also download an open carbon calculator to your computer from the University of Helsinki’s Hiilifiksu (Carbon smart) Association website. 

In the beginning phase of Taimiteko, only business partnerships were established. However, now also individuals can participate by donating tree seedlings via the online store on this site. 

This is how an organisation / community can get involved in planting seedlings 

  • The organisation has a calculation either of its CO2 emissions which it wishes to offset, or the amount to be invested in the project.  
  • The counter calculates how much the desired compensation will cost and how many seedlings are to be planted in the forest. 
  • The organisation / community contacts 4H and pays for the seedlings at 2,5 € / seedling.
  • 4H and local operators work jointly to look for suitable land.  
  • 4H recruits and trains young people for the planting work.  
  • Young people do the planting work and receive financial compensation for it. 

This is how the money you invest is used 

The amount paid covers all the costs needed for afforestation of the land (i.e. seedlings, preparing the planting area), the salary and training of the young persons as well as any necessary 4H operational costs. 

The price of one seedling is 2.5 euros and it includes: the education and salary of the youth planting the seedlings as well as the purchase price and tillage of the land.

Information regarding carbon compensation through the planting of seedlings 

Carbon offsetting refers to activities that aim to reduce CO2 emissions elsewhere, e.g. by creating carbon sinks. The basic idea is that the organisation or community has already tried to reduce its emissions as much as possible through its own activities, and the remaining emissions are credited with carbon compensation. Often, these kind of sites offer highly efficient sustainable solutions at reasonable cost. 

 

A carbon sink created in forests is a good target for carbon compensation because it is long-lasting and active. Afforestation also creates new habitats and ecosystem services. The carbon compensation ratio of the lands involved in Taimiteko is illustrated by the graph above, which shows how the carbon sequestration of forest land is distributed between stands and soil. 

At Taimiteko, we have collaborated with the Natural Resources Institute Finland. They have calculated carbon sequestration calculations for afforestation lands, with the help of which we have built our front page carbon counter. Afforestation of these lands has not succeeded naturally, so the only way to get new forest to form is through tillage and planting. We have carefully selected certain soil types, tree species, and areas within which the calculations are the same. 

One seedling 

In the counters, we use the average carbon sequestration figures from the Natural Resources Institute Finland over a 55-year cycle. In the calculations, we use forest spruce (Picea abies) as the tree species and mineral soil as the soil species.

The carbon sequestration of the tree and soil for one spruce seedling in a 55-year cycle from Northern Ostrobothnia to Southern Finland on mineral land is approximated as 64 kg C (eq.). In addition to spruce, Taimiteko can also plant pine in peat bogs. 

One hectare

One hectare is the spacial measurement unit which is often used to represent forest areas. One hectare is equivalent to 10,000 square metres, or 100 m x 100 m. 

The planting density of spruce per hectare is approximately 1900–2000 pieces, ie; one hectare sequesters about 127,000 C kg ha-1 of mineral land over 55 years. The carbon sequestration of peatland is higher, about 274,000 C kg ha-1. To convert kilos of carbon dioxide to kilos of carbon (kg CO2 / kg C), divide the amount of carbon dioxide by 44/12 ≈ 3.67. 

The planting density of pine per hectare is approximately 2,000 pieces. For example, 43 pine seedlings in the afforestation of a peat area, compensates for 10,000 kg of carbon dioxide in 43 years. This amount corresponds to the average annual carbon footprint of one person. 

What is 4H, the organization behind Taimiteko?

4H Finland is a leading youth organization that supports children’s and young people’s life skills and provides activities for them. The youth work of 4H Finland is based on our international values: Head, Hands, Heart, and Health. There are about 200 4H associations around Finland who organise local activities for our almost 50 000 members, and are supported by the national office, The Finnish 4H Federation.

4H is a non-profit, politically, and religiously independent organization. 4H gives children and young people an opportunity to find their own strengths as well as focuses on fostering entrepreneurship and preparing young people for working life. 4H in Finland arranges leisure activities for children and young people between ages 6 and 28. Six-year-olds easily find new interests in the 4H club, where children learn new skills together. We give 13-year-olds and older the opportunity to get their first work experience and support their first steps as entrepreneurs.

We aim to teach children and young people about the importance of forests, sustainable development, and the role of forests in climate change. We also educate them about the work-life possibilities in forestry.

 

Contact us!

If you have anything to ask, please contact us in the Finnish 4H Federation’s Taimiteko team.

Tarja Anttonen
Partnership Manager
t. +358 44 783 0305

Mari Pöyhtäri
Head of Communications
t. +358 44 783 0307