The pandemic has affected our tree-planting projects, some more than others. As Covid-19 spread around the world earlier this year, we asked our partners to put safety measures in place and scale back planting where needed. We created new contracts and agreements to help them implement these changes. This has helped them stay afloat during the coronavirus crisis without having to put anyone’s health at risk. It has always been clear to us that our planters’ wellbeing comes first.
COVID-19 has also affected Ecosia’s ad revenue, our main source of income. We therefore held back on committing to new tree-planting partnerships. Thanks to our reserves, however, we've been able to pay all of our current tree-planting partners, just as we had planned. Our Tree Fund always matches (or slightly exceeds) our outstanding payments to our reforestation partners.
These two factors – less income for new partnerships and delayed planting due to social distancing measures – have led us to slow down our tree counter from 1 tree every 0.8 seconds to 1 tree per 1.3 seconds. This way we can ensure that our tree counter never exceeds the number of trees that are actually in the ground.
The good news is that this is a temporary measure. Our revenue is going up again, and we've been able to sign a number of new reforestation contracts this year. These contracts amount to 60 million additional trees, of which we expect 42 million to reach maturity (the tree counter only includes trees that survive for at least three years).
2020 has been a difficult year for tree-planting, but the situation is already improving. Next year looks promising — and our counter will reflect that.