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It was a pleasant surprise, but not one I expected.

Hardware and software are the main types of climate tech. The end goal of Vibrant Planet is not the same as that of many others.

A $17 million seed round has been announced for a startup that isn't just trading carbon credits or providing carbon accounting software. It is trying to find a way to save and restore the world's damaged forests.

I have grown cynical that the free market and forest preservation can coexist in a positive way. Forests are either exploited or forgotten.

There is an opportunity to help the world manage a trillion dollar asset.

According to a 1997 paper, forests provide $4.7 trillion worth of economic benefits around the world. 15% of global GDP is equal to the dollar figure for inflation.

In theory, carbon credits aren’t a bad idea. In fact, they’re probably one of the least bad ideas we’ve tried when it comes to using free markets to foster forest preservation. It’s just that in practice, they leave a lot to be desired.

Forests are brought into the economic fold with the help of carbon credits. I doubt they are well-intentioned. There is a plan to work with the carbon markets, but it is beginning with fire-adapted forests.

There are many of those. There are forest fires in California and the American West. After that, there is a chance that Vibrant Planet could head to Australia, where the eucalyptus forests burned catastrophically in the 2019-2020 fire season. It could take its product to Brazil, which has a tradition of using fire.

It is a good idea to begin with fire-adapted forests. It allows the company to test its product close to home. It gives it a chance to address climate change quickly.