MERIT is a virtual currency (a token) that represents and protects the work nature does to sustain life by removing and storing carbon and hosting biodiversity. MERIT is issued to landowners based on the ecological value of their lands for as long as nature is preserved.
Single.Earth was founded to solve one of humankind’s most critical challenges: the destruction of natural ecosystems that support life. On a global scale, human activities have directly modified 77% of land surface and 87% of oceans, resulting in 30% of global land area degradation, directly affecting three billion people1. In fact, land-use change and (over)exploitation of natural resources have been the primary drivers of ecosystem collapse over the past 50 years. Forests are a key component of natural ecosystems which host a high level of biodiversity and perform vital ecological functions, including carbon sequestration.
However, they are disappearing at an extraordinary rate, primarily driven by commodity production, forestry, and shifting agriculture2, depending on the region. Between 2011 and 2022, the world lost 411 million ha of forest, which is equivalent to 10% of the existing global tree cover3. In 2020 alone, the world lost a near-record of 25.8 million ha of forests, almost double of that in 2021. Despite the urgency, nature conservation is facing an enormous financing gap, estimated to reach at least USD 600 billion per year by 2030.