In early 2017 Land Life Company successfully raised 2.4 million euros in support of their plan to tackle deforestation. Since then, their COCOON reservoir system has been convincing the world that it can be done: planting millions of trees on arid land where nothing grows unaided. 


Made of paper pulp and biomaterial, COCOON is a biologically degradable water reservoir designed to help seedlings through their critical first year of life. Once the pot and tree are planted in the ground, you don’t have to do anything: the wrapping protects the tender shoot from the elements and the 25-litre reservoir drip feeds moisture to the roots for a year. Mycorrhizal fungi to the soil help to increase the area of roots. A year later, the roots have reached the groundwater, the cocoon has decomposed and the tree can continue growing unassisted. This way, the COCOON produces independant, strong trees which are not reliant on external irrigation and can survive harsh conditions.

The system is cheap, simple and successful: 80 to 95 percent of the planted trees survive. Without the COCOON, that percentage reaches no higher than 15 percent. Now active in more than 20 countries, founders Jurriaan Ruys and Eduard Zanen hope that the COCOON will ultimately help combat deforestation worldwide.


Deforestation in itself is not one of the 5 main topics of our WDCD Climate Action Challenge. Instead, it is a risk factor which threatens each part of our lives in a complex and alarming manner. When it comes to the planet’s water cycle, for example, deforestation exarcebates both flooding and water stress – as natural rainfall collection is hindered and soil depletion increases. All of this threatens biodiversity as well as food production and the livelihoods of many of the world’s most vulnerable populations. Not to mention the importance of forests for its absorption of CO2. Luckily, projects like COCOON remind us that simple solutions can have a potentially big impact.

Want to see more innovative examples of climate action projects? Visit our platform and check out the in-depth resource kits compiled by our research partners STBY. Or submit an idea of your own – entries

A version of this story, written by Willemijn de Jonge, first appeared in the WDCD publication: Good News for the Planet – 31 Brilliant Ideas for Climate Action (available for order). All images from Land Life Company.


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