Library & News

Thought Leadership by Spades

News & Commentary

Come back soon for project announcements!

“In this book, I tell the story of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR): what led me to spend 17 years in Niger, the moment of revelation, the challenges of working with rural communities, how a miracle emerged from a crisis, and the global spread of FMNR today.

At its core, this is a story of hope against all the odds. In a seemingly hopeless situation, this is a good-news story that will move hearts and hands to care for the planet. I believe this story will be a powerful tool in the global FMNR movement, and in providing a nature-based solution to climate change.”

-Tony Rinaudo

Click here to pre-order your copy today.

The State of the World’s Forests 2022, FAO

“The State of the World’s Forests” report is published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Every two years, it analyzes the interaction between forests and people.

Taking into account the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, the 2022 edition explores three forest pathways for achieving green recovery and tackling environmental crises, including climate change and biodiversity loss.

The report identified the need for three interrelated pathways for achieving desired results: stopping deforestation and maintaining forests; restoring degraded lands and expanding agroforestry; and building sustainable value chains from forests. It is possible to generate sustainable economic and social benefits for countries and their rural communities if these pathways are pursued in a balanced, simultaneous manner while meeting the demands for materials on a global scale and being environmentally conscious.

Access the report here.

Spades Partners with Initiative 20×20 to Restore Forests on Degraded Lands

The company joins forces with organizations across Latin America and the Caribbean for the natural restoration of forests

Minneapolis, Minnesota / March 14, 2022 – Spades announces its partnership with Initiative 20×20, a country-led effort seeking to change the dynamics of land degradation in Latin America and the Caribbean by beginning to protect and restore 50 million hectares of forests, farms, pasture, and other landscapes by 2030.

Over 18 countries and three regional programs are already committed to improving more than 52 million hectares of land (or about 124 million acres, about the size of Nicaragua and Paraguay combined). Besides Spades, more than 95 technical organizations and institutions support the initiative. USD $3.13 billion in private investment is also backing the initiative.

Spades’ first Caribbean project is in Belize. More than 80 unique ecosystems are under threat in this country. A loss of mangroves along its coast and around its islands threatens the world’s second-largest coral reef. Unemployment and poverty rates are high.

The project includes the replanting of coastal mangroves, critical to the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the second-largest reef in the world. The work harmonizes land-uses so that environmental competition grows into sustainable resilience where everyone wins.

“We must act quickly to curb climate change. Restoration is key. Our Sustainable Belize project aims to restore and protect coastal ecosystems and forests,” says Raymond Menard, CEO and Founder of Spades. “It promotes regenerative agriculture and fosters a sustainable economy in Belize.”

Walter Vergara, Senior Fellow and Director of Initiative 20×20, said, “We take note that Spades is a Specific Benefit Corporation that works on climate change initiatives through reforestation and agroforestry projects around the world, including in Latin America. Spades’ involvement in reforestation, protection, and social engagement fits extremely well with the aims of the Initiative.”

Spades is a Specific Benefit Corporation committed to developing profitable projects to reforest the world. Our vision is to sustain the world by integrating thriving human, environmental, and economic solutions. For more information, visit or Twitter @Spades_SBC.

World Resources Institute (WRI)‘s Global Restoration Initiative is the secretariat of Initiative 20×20. WRI works with governments and international partners to inspire, enable and implement restoration on degraded landscapes, returning them to economic and environmental productivity. For more information click here or visit Twitter @restoreforward.

Spades New Biotech is a Game-Changer in Climate Change

Ecofit™ discovers which trees will thrive in local conditions.

Minneapolis, MN / January 24, 2022 — Spades announces Ecofit™, a biotech fostering forest vitality and hardiness. Trees are nature’s solution for removing greenhouse gases and slowing global warming. Ecofit selects trees for resilience to improve investor returns, mitigate climate change, and save habitats.

Climate change makes it hard to choose flourishing trees for regreening projects. Depleted soils caused by prior land-uses also create challenges. Trees that once grew on a site may no longer do so. In addition, little is known about most tree species. Short-term planting trials or past observations lack reliability. Understandably, landscape planners may default to well-known non-native species, displacing local biodiversity.

A tree’s measured ecological fit (ecofit) grows a greener future. Ecofit reveals the exact abiotic needs of a species and variety. This includes light, water, soil, nutrients, temperature, etc. Through Ecofit, foresters can screen and rank trees’ suitability for local conditions and site objectives.

Ecofit has laboratory-tested the tech across over 400 tree species in 30 ecosystems globally. Ecofit rates a given species’ fitness for local conditions using tree biopsies, soil tests, and climate data. Lab testing quickly reveals a vast amount of data that helps us speed up the process of restoring trees and ecosystems.

“Serious climate mitigation requires serious investment, which requires serious risk mitigation. Ecofit is the only testing method to predict tree success. The critical win is to have trees thrive, not just survive. Even if an apple tree grows only 10% more apples, it can be the difference between profit and loss. This applies to timber, carbon, habitats, fruits, nuts, and all the benefits we receive from trees,” says Raymond Menard, CEO and Founder of Spades.

Ecofit is available for any large-scale regreening project in the world. Future development is planned on other types of plants.

Forest Conservation Impact Investing: Balancing Competing Interests

Frank Williams, January 18, 2022

Harvard Business School Professor Josh Lerner’s recent article, “3 lessons for financing forest conservation” (see, describes how public and philanthropic resources, the primary source of funding to protect the planet’s biodiversity, are dramatically insufficient. Private investors are increasingly embracing various forms of impact investing, including forest conservation, as the earth has lost one-third of its forests.

Successful forest conservation investing must blend the need for investor financial returns with sustained biodiversity outcomes; all participants must reflect deeply to develop new models that enable environmental and economic objectives to coexist with reasonable trade-offs.

Spades exists to address the problems and opportunities that Professor Lerner has highlighted. The Spades business model invites impact investors to collaborate with local communities, smallholder farmers, environmental experts, and local and national governments to accelerate and sustain tree planting at scale while promoting shared prosperity for all stakeholders.

Spades has three shovel-ready forest conservation projects (in Uganda, Kenya, and Belize) involving 400,000+ ha, 100+ million trees, and 100+ million MT of sequestered carbon, with a global pipeline of dozens of such projects. Our solutions help trees flourish to improve investor returns, create climate resilience, save habitats, and help communities, while directly supporting 11 of the 17 SDGs.  Spades contributes to a sustainable future for the planet and for people.

Spades Builds Climate Resilience Enterprise with Social Impact

Innovative climate change company links investment, land, and capacity to massive regreening projects worldwide

Minneapolis, MN / January 4, 2022 — Spades announces significant expansion with three tree projects in development involving 1,000,000 acres, 100 million trees, and 100 million MT of sequestered carbon, with dozens of projects in its pipeline. Its biotechnology increases tree survival to improve climate resilience, investor returns, and local economic development. Worldwide projects provide returns via carbon offsets, timber, and agroforestry.

“Trees are critical because they are the best way to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Plus, forest density creates climate resilience locally. Unfortunately, science shows we need one hundred times as many trees grown every year to achieve the needed change,” says Raymond Menard, CEO and Founder of Spades.

Continue reading.

Some Good News from COP26

Frank Williams, December 14, 2021

The key document in my view (out of hundreds created in the lead up to COP26) is the RethinkX “Rethinking Climate Change” report – Climate Implications — RethinkX. This data analytics-based report has dramatic implications for future principle level choices of any organization. To get the gist of what this report says, this Just Have a Think video, covers the report’s major themes in 19 minutes.

RethinkX Themes:

  • Based on current trends, humanity can achieve a 95% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2035 from the massive disruptions taking place in Energy, Transportation and Food systems
  • Passive reforestation will contribute to 20% of greenhouse gas reductions and will be by far the largest part of the solution
  • Food advances occurring today will free up 2.7B ha of agricultural land (size of America, China and Australia combined)
$130 Trillion and Counting

Frank Williams, December 13, 2021

As of November 2021, capital asset managers stewarding $130 trillion (40% of global assets under management, see, have added Impact linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals to their general Risk and Return investment thesis, and this systemic shift will only accelerate. In addition, nations are working through revisions to their legal, accounting, and reporting regulatory frameworks to support low carbon economy transitions.  There will be, sooner than later, no place to hide.

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